Harriet Lane, the Most Admired First Lady, Not Featured in Coin Series
“It may be called ‘First Spouse’ Gold Coin Program,” but that does not excuse the omission of Harriet Lane,” states Milton Stern, the author of “Harriet Lane, America’s First Lady.”
[ClickPress, Sun Apr 01 2007] “It may be called ‘First Spouse’ Gold Coin Program,” but that does not excuse the omission of Harriet Lane,” states Milton Stern, the author of “Harriet Lane, America’s First Lady.” Stern continues, “Lane, niece of Bachelor President James Buchanan, was the most admired and influential woman of her time and was the first to be given the title, ‘First Lady.’”
Beginning in 2007, the First Spouse Gold Coin Program (www.usmint.gov) is honoring America’s first spouses by issuing one-half ounce $10 gold coins, featuring their images, in the order that they served as first spouse. When a President served without a first spouse, such as Thomas Jefferson, a gold coin will be issued bearing an image emblematic of Liberty as depicted on a circulating coin of that era.
When asked about other White House hostesses who will not be featured, Stern replied, “Jefferson’s biographer can fight that battle; I am Lane’s advocate.”
Milton Stern’s “Harriet Lane America’s First Lady” is the only extensive biography of this remarkable woman.
From her debut in London society to her scandalous inaugural gown to her days as the grand dame of Washington society, Harriet Lane earned the admiration of women all over the world. Although no monument has been dedicated in her memory, her legacy and generosity live on in Baltimore and Washington, through the Harriet Lane Outpatient Clinics, The Pediatric and Teaching Hospital at Johns Hopkins University, St. Albans School for Boys in Washington, DC, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and countless other beneficiaries of her great generosity.
The George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens Library Staff said, “‘Harriet Lane, America’s First Lady’ is a unique addition to the reference material available to employees and scholars… Lily Macalester’s friendship with Harriet Lane [is] of interest to them, as [is] Harriet Lane’s consideration of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association in her will.”
"Harriet Lane was a century ahead of her time," said Stern. "She used her intelligence, political skills, charm and beauty to push legislation through Congress when she was only twenty-seven years old."
Harriet Lane was James Buchanan’s official hostess in Lancaster, London and Washington. Anyone who met her was instantly enamored. Queen Victoria bestowed upon her the title "Honorary Ambassadress." The Washington press corps proclaimed her "Our Democratic Queen," and the Chippewa named her the “Great Mother of the Indians." U.S. Naval and Coast Guard ships were named after her and still are. Songs were written about her, and women dressed like her. She was the most admired woman in the country and established a style of entertaining never before seen in the White House. She was the first of her kind to be an advocate for social causes – hospital and prison reform and the plight of the American Indians, just to name two. And only she could get away with beating the Prince of Wales at bowling, which she taught him in the first place!
Her world was guided by tragedy and death, yet she lived every day to the fullest. She conducted herself with grace and dignity and dedicated her life to the perpetuation of the memories of those dearest to her heart and the social welfare of all Americans, especially children. She was also named one of the most memorable women in American History.
Milton Stern, resides in Washington, DC, where he works as a writer, historian and lecturer. He is currently completing a screenplay based on his third book, “On Tuesdays, They Played Mah Jongg,” © 2006, ISBN 1-8918-5568-9.
Harriet Lane, America's First Lady,
© 2005 ISBN 1411626087