Frances Folsom Cleveland


Frances Folsom Cleveland


At a White House dinner given during one of the Cleveland terms of office, a young European attaché was served a salad that included a worm. He was on the point of raising a protest when he caught Mrs. Cleveland’s eye, fixed on him in a challenging stare. The attaché then proceeded to devour the salad, worm and all. Mrs. Cleveland smiled approvingly. “You will go far, young man,” she told him. Fifteen years later that same attaché returned as a full ambassador.

Biographical Note: 

Frances Folsom Cleveland was the wife of Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Frances Folsom Cleveland (1864-1947) became a symbol of romance to the American people when she was married to President Grover Cleveland at the White House. The young Mrs. Cleveland, only 21, was described as a tall, graceful girl with pretty blue eyes, heavy dark brows and eyelashes, and wavy chestnut hair. She was the daughter of Cleveland’s close friend and law partner in Buffalo, New York. Cleveland had given the infant Frances her first baby carriage. He had watched her grow up and was administrator of her estate after her father’s death. He remained her counselor and friend. A few months after his inauguration and her graduation from Wells College they became engaged.

Mrs. Cleveland won great popularity by her charm and generous hospitality. She was tireless at greeting the public at the White House receptions, when thousands of people streamed through the mansion.

The second of the Clevelands’ two daughters was the first child to be born to a president during his term of office.

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