Presidential First Lady. She was the wife of US President Grover Cleveland and the 23th and 25th First Lady from 1886 to 1889 and again from 1893 to 1897. She became the First Lady at age 21 and remains the youngest First Lady in history. Born Frances Clara Folsom, her father was a lawyer. Of two children, she was the only one to survive infancy. She originally had the first name Frank (named for an uncle), but later decided to adopt the feminine variant Frances. Her father was a longtime close friend of Grover Cleveland. When she was 11 years old, her father died in a carriage accident without having written a will, the court appointed Cleveland administrator of his estate. She attended Central High School in Buffalo, New York and Medina High School in Medina, NY and went on to attend Wells College in Aurora, New York. While she was in college, Grover Cleveland's feelings for her took a romantic turn and he proposed to her by letter in August 1885, soon after her graduation. However, they did not announce their engagement until just five days before the wedding. On June 2, 1886 they were married at the White House, the only President to have been married in the Executive Mansion. Their age difference of 27 years is the second largest of any Presidential marriage (behind that of President John Tyler, whose second wife, Julia Gardiner Tyler, was thirty years his junior when they married in New York City, New York in 1844). She took over the duties of being White House hostess, and her charm won her popularity. She held two receptions a week-one on Saturday afternoons, when women with jobs were free to come. Grover Cleveland's sister Rose Cleveland had been her bachelor brother's hostess in the first 15 months of his first term of office. After Grover Cleveland was defeated in the 1888 presidential election, they moved to New York City, returning to the White House following his election as US President in 1892. Cleveland declined to run again in 1896 and after leaving the White House in March 1897, they moved to their estate, Westland Mansion, in Princeton, New Jersey. After her husband's death in 1908, she remained in Princeton. On February 10, 1913 she married Thomas J. Preston, Jr., a professor of archaeology at her alma mater, Wells College and became the first presidential widow to remarry. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, she led the Needlework Guild of America in its clothing drive for the poor. She died at the age of 83.
Bio by: William Bjornstad