The story of America's youngest First Lady was well told in Frank: The Story of Frances Folsom Cleveland by Annette B. Dunlap. When you read it, you will have to decide for yourself if you think she really loved her much older husband.
Here are 9 facts about Frank:
- Frances Folsom lost her father at the age of 10 and Cleveland was the administrator of her father’s estate. Cleveland and Folsom had been law partners and close friends. Cleveland even gave Frances her first baby carriage.
- Frances was well-educated at private schools and was fluent in several languages. She graduated from Wells College. She later became a board member and held the position for 50 years.
- At twenty-one she was married in a White House wedding to forty-eight year old Cleveland.
- Cleveland worked a lot and fished and hunted and often left his young bride by her lonesome. Through both terms of office she insisted they have a carriage ride together each afternoon although she had to pry him away from his desk to do so.
- The first term in office she was a young bride. The second term of office she was a mature woman and mother.
- Ever have a Baby Ruth bar? It’s named after the Cleveland’s first child. They had five children together. Sadly, Ruth died as a child from diphtheria.
- Frances was very active in the New York Kindergarten Association and brought the first kindergarten to the White House. Cleveland missed his chance to use this to his advantage politically. Frances also helped begin the organization that is now known as the Parent Teacher Association.
- After the second term in the White House, the Cleveland family moved to Princeton, NJ. Frank loved entertaining “the boys,” especially those whose home was far from the school.
- Grover Cleveland passed away in 1908. Frank married again to Thomas Preston, Jr, a man closer to her own age. This marriage was full of mutual companionship. What a joy since she did not have that the first time around. Thomas even liked to knit and crochet with her! He also was intellectual like she was. He was an archaeology professor at Princeton.
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