Saturday, October 24, 2009

republican first ladies from 1800 to and facts...(part 4)

as we near the end of our journey on fashion and facts of the early history of republican women first ladies...

we continue with the year 1921...unfortunately, i have no pictures as there was no model present for the fashion show...but...i can share with you a little of the history...

As First Lady to President Warren Harding in 1921, Florence “Flossie” Mabel Kling Harding hosted elegant garden parties and mixed readily with guests.

Mrs. Harding embarked with her husband on his nationwide "Voyage of Understanding" in the summer of 1923. Unfortunately, the Hardings didn't have a full term in the White House. Flossie was at the President's side when he died of a stroke or a heart attack in San Francisco in August of 1923. Following the death of President Harding, Flossie became ill and within a year also succumbed.

After President Harding's death in 1923, Calvin Coolidge succeeded to the Presidency. As wife of the Vice President, Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge went from her housewife's routine into Washington society and quickly became the most popular woman in the capital, as First Lady. Grace Anna planned the new administration's social life as her husband wanted it: dignified.

Here she is in a Tangerine Cream Silk dress, in a simple pattern drafted from a pattern book on 20's style. It is as light as a cloud and soft as creamy butter. The scarf at Grace Anna's hip accents the asymmetrical design. Her long pearls are knotted in a way to draw attention to her long straight body. Grace’s wardrobe matched her demeanor...graceful.

The social highlight of the Coolidge years was the party for Charles Lindbergh following his transatlantic flight in 1927. Perhaps Grace wore such a dignified garment as this Tangerine Cream Silk.

For her "fine personal influence exerted as First Lady of the Land," Grace Coolidge received a gold medal from the National Institute of Social Science.

The Coolidges were in the White House from 1923-1929. Although Calvin Coolidge did not choose to seek a second term, Grace Coolidge was not forgotten. In 1931 she was voted one of America's twelve greatest living women.
Lou Henry Hoover, wife of President Herbert Hoover, was a freshman at Stanford University (in fact, the only female geology major), when she met Herbert Hoover, then a senior. Soon after their wedding, they sailed for China, and Hoover's new job. Lou was possessed with a natural ear for languages and became quite proficient in Chinese. In the White House, the Hoovers at times conversed in Chinese to foil eavesdroppers.
It was in China that Lou acquired this ceremonial robe. Underneath, Lou is dressed in a one piece Silk fabric. This outfit is Americanized for the late 1920s. It has only four seams - two are on the shoulders and two more down the sides, making a simple tube structure. The neckline is hand turned. Notice the bat-like wings with the design of peacock feathers. Peacocks and other exotic items were being used at this time as a reaction to the end of the Great War, the return of prosperity and the broader interest in the world.

The Lou Henry and Herbert Hoover House in the Palo Alto foothills is now the official residence of the President of Stanford University. It is located near the campus's Hoover Tower, home of the Hoover Institution, and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Lou was decorated by King Albert I of Belgium for her work with refugees. One of the brick dorms known as "The Classics" at San Jose State University is named "Hoover Hall" in her honor. The first Girl Scout house is in Palo Alto, California, and is called Lou Henry Hoover Girl Scout House. As late as 2005, buildings and schools are being named after this historically famous First Lady.

Of course, there have been subsequent Republican First Ladies, but our historical review ends here. Hope you have enjoyed our journey...
script by: Bobbi Parson Batchelder
vintage fashion by: Corinne Pleger (Trained at the Fashion Institute of Design in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Corinne has been making costumes for the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Curious Collectors of Baker Street, various Victorian events and museums, as well as Union uniforms for Civil War re-enactments. She teaches at, and has been Dean of, the Costume College at the Costumer's Guild West, and her costumes have won many awards, including Best in Show at the Los Angeles County Fair)


  1. Great series, Elena! There's no better way to get a history lesson than through fashion! ♥

  2. thanks denise...i couldn't agree more...i'm sure my history grade would have been a lot better... =)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin