A 2013 - 2014 original C-SPAN feature series telling the stories of America's First Ladies - from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama -
through conversations with top experts, video tours of historic sites, and questions from C-SPAN's audience.

America's First Ladies — from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama
Ellen Arthur
First Lady: 1881 - 1885
Click the list to watch videos
  • Lucretia Garfield & Mary Arthur McElroy Program
  • Mary Arthur McElroy's role as White House Hostess
  • President Arthur and St. John's Church
  • President Arthur Redecorating the White House


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

Click here to see full bio of Ellen Arthur

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

Mary Arthur McElroy

Born - July 5, 1841 in Greenwich, New York

Died - January 8, 1917 in Albany, New York

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