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Women's History Month: Famous First Ladies

The wife of the President of the United States is called the First Lady. Beginning with Martha Washington, First Ladies have been an important part of American history. Women's History Month is a good time to celebrate some of their achievements. Take a look at a few.

Abigail Adams (1744–1818)

Abigail Adams was the wife of the second President of the United States, John Adams. In 1825, her son John Quincy Adams became the sixth President. She was one of only two First Ladies who were mothers of Presidents. Barbara Bush, the mother of George W. Bush, is the other.

Adams wrote many letters to her husband when they were apart. She wanted women to be treated fairly. In a letter written when he was working on laws for the new nation, she asked her husband to “remember the ladies.”

Dolley Madison (1768–1849)

Dolley Madison was married to James Madison, the fourth President. She is one of the most popular First Ladies in history, because of her kindness to everyone. Madison is also known for rescuing a painting of George Washington before British soldiers set fire to the White House during the War of 1812. The White House is the building where the President's family lives. The painting was returned to the White House after it was rebuilt and still hangs there today.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962)

Eleanor Roosevelt lived in the White House longer than any other First Lady—12 years. Her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was elected to office four times. He was the 32nd President. Eleanor Roosevelt worked for many important causes. She was especially interested in the rights of African Americans, workers, and the poor.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (1947– )

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the wife of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President. While she was First Lady, she continued her work for the rights of women and children. Hillary Rodham Clinton is also a lawyer and an author. In 2000, she made history as the only First Lady to become a United States senator.

Laura Bush (1946– )

Laura Bush is the wife of George W. Bush, the 43rd President. She was a schoolteacher and a librarian before becoming First Lady. In 2001, she started the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. She spends much of her time trying to help people understand the importance of reading.