History's Women: Misc. Articles: Mrs. Frances Cleveland, Mistress of the White House at Twenty-TwoMrs. Frances Cleveland
Mistress of the White House at Twenty-Two
1864 – 1947 A.D.

Frances Folsom was born in Buffalo, N.Y. Her father, Oscar Folsom, died when she was eleven years of age. The mother, with her daughter, removed to Medina, where they resided for a few years. Upon their return to Buffalo, Frances entered the Central High School, where she prepared for college, and so thorough was the word done that she was enabled to enter the sophomore class at Wells College.

At the end of time of her graduation from college in 1885, she received a superb floral tribute from the White House conservatories. Grover Cleveland, then president, was the guardian-at-law of Miss Folsom, but he found himself lover as well as guardian.

After graduation she went abroad in the autumn with her mother.

No public announcement of her engagement to President Cleveland had been made, but the interested public felt that there was an understanding. When she landed in New York the following spring, she was met by the president’s sister, Miss Cleveland, and his private secretary. The wedding occurred June 2, 1886, in the blue room of the White House.

Thus for nearly three years of President Cleveland’s first term of office she occupied the position of “First Lady of the Land,” with rare grace. For one so young it was an arduous position, but it has been well said, “at no time did she forget the dignity of her position, nor did she ever presume upon it.”

When Mr. Cleveland returned to the White House for his second term in 1893, Mrs. Cleveland was welcomed with most cordial affection. To her many charms was added the dignity of motherhood. Her children are Ruth, born in 1891, in New York; Ester, born at the White House in 1893; Marion, born at their summer home, Gray Gables, in 1895, and Richard Folsom, born at Princeton, N.J., in 1897.

Princeton is the present home of the ex-president and his family. Mrs. Cleveland is known for her interest in charitable work, but is most admired for her devotion to her children.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.