Frances Cleveland

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Buffalo, New York
Birth Sign
Buffalo, New York

When Frances Clara Folsom married US president Grover Cleveland in 1886, she became the 27th First Lady of the United States. She married when she was barely 21 years old, making her the youngest first lady in American history. At the time, the president was 49 years old, making him her father’s age. The president’s wedding to Frances was held in the White House’s Blue Room, making it the first presidential wedding to take place there. Frances found herself in the face of considerable media attention after becoming First Lady. She was popular with the general population because she was young, gorgeous, and personable. She took up housekeeping from her sister-in-law Rose Cleveland, who had previously looked after her bachelor brother’s home. When Grover Cleveland and Frances left the White House at the end of Grover’s first term, Frances ordered the servants to take good care of the building since they would be back in four years. When her husband won the presidential election again in 1893, her prophesy came true, and the family returned to the White House. She was the first and only First Lady to serve two non-consecutive terms in the White House.

Childhood and Adolescence

Frances Folsom was born in New York, the daughter of lawyer Oscar Folsom and Emma Harmon. She was the couple’s only child who lived past childhood.
Grover Cleveland, who would later become her husband, was a close friend of her father’s who adored her as a child.

Her father died when she was 11 years old in 1875. He did not leave a testament, so the court placed Grover Cleveland, a friend and acquaintance, as the administrator of his estate, putting him in contact with the widow Folsom and Frances.

She attended both Central and Medina High Schools. She went on to Wells College in New York after that.

She went on a long trip of Europe with her mother and kept in touch with Grover Cleveland, the president at the time.

Career of Frances Cleveland

In 1885, she went to the White House with her mother and got a marriage proposal in the mail. The couple kept their engagement a secret until just a few days before the wedding.

Grover Cleveland and Frances were married in the White House’s Blue Room on June 2, 1886, marking the first presidential wedding in the building.

She became the First Lady of the United States at the age of 21, making her the youngest woman in history to do so. Her youth, beauty, and charms drew a lot of attention from the press and the general public.

Despite her youth, she seamlessly transitioned into the role of First Lady, taking up housekeeping tasks from her sister-in-law, Rose Cleveland, who had previously handled the obligations.

She found herself in high demand as marketers approached her for product endorsements, and numerous corporations utilized her image in commercials without her permission. The name ‘Frances’ became extremely popular, and many baby girls were named after her.

After the president’s electoral loss in 1888, the Clevelands were forced to leave the White House. She advised the crew to properly preserve the building when she left, since they would be back in four years.

In 1892, Grover Cleveland was elected president for the second time, and in 1893, he began his second non-consecutive term. The Clevelands returned to the White House with a newborn, the first of several children they would have during his presidency.

The president was diagnosed with oral cancer in 1893, and a secret operation was planned. The First Lady skillfully deflected the journalists, allowing the surgery to remain a top secret.

The family left the White House when the president’s second term ended in 1897 and relocated to Princeton, New Jersey.

Major Projects of Frances Cleveland

Frances Cleveland was known for being the first and only female First Lady to serve in the White House. She was stunning, personable, and clever in handling all of the attention that comes with being the president’s wife. She was a rock for her husband and a lovely hostess who was adored by the public and the press.

Personal History and Legacy

Grover Cleveland was her husband from 1886 until his death in 1908. They had five children together.

She married Thomas Preston, an archeology professor at Wells College, in 1913, making her the first presidential widow to remarry.

She died at the age of 83 in 1947. In Princeton, she was buried next to her first husband, Grover Cleveland.

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated net worth of Frances Cleveland is unknown.


President Cleveland’s proposal was initially thought to be for Frances’ mother.

The press referred to her as ‘Frankie,’ a nickname she despised.

Her second spouse was married to her for a longer period of time than her first husband, President Cleveland.