An original C-SPAN feature series telling the stories of America’s 45 First Ladies through conversations with top experts, video tours of historic sites, and questions from C-SPAN’s audience.


Ellen Arthur

Chester Arthur
Mary Arthur McElroy on assuming the social duties of White House hostess: “When I went into it I was absolutely unfamiliar with the customs and formalities.”

Born - August 30, 1837 in Culpeper Court House, Virginia

Parents - William Lewis Herndon & Frances Elizabeth Hansbrough Herndon

Married - October 25, 1859 to Chester Arthur

Children - William Lewis Herndon (1860 – 1863),
Chester Alan (1864 – 1937),
Ellen Herndon (1871 – 1915)

Died - January 12, 1880 in New York, New York

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Ellen Arthur died before her husband took office. Chester Arthur’s sister, Mary Arthur McElroy, served as hostess during his administration.


Born – July 5, 1841 in Greenwich, New York

Died – January 8, 1917 in Albany, New York

Did You Know IconDid You Know...
  • President Arthur donated a stained glass window in honor of his late wife, Ellen, to St. John’s Episcopal Church.
  • President Arthur's sister, Mary Arthur McElroy, served as hostess at the White House during his presidency.

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