One of the dresses worn by Lucy to a White House reception.
Lucy's wedding dress.

Lucy Hayes is probably as well known as her husband because of her nickname –    Lemonade Lucy.  The Hayes refused to have drinking, smoking or cursing in their White House.  That was true, but what is interesting is that a lot of their fortune was from a distillery and it was President Hayes (not his wife) who set the drinking ban (although she agreed).

Her clothes were modest – she wore no jewelry – which caused a lot of discussion because for the first time a lot of cameras were on the first lady as newsreporters followed her around. Before this time, publicity was minimal. But people discovered they liked Lucy. She was “religious,” attending the Methodist Church in town.  (But a smaller one, not the pretentious one Julia Grant had attended.) She helped with the children’s choir and attended Bible studies. On Sunday evenings she went back to church.  People discovered she was kind and caring and treated all White House servants regardless of race or position equally. She hosted events with elegance and charm.

She did have a problem with forgiveness and said herself, “love your enemies is not prominent in my character.”

Another reception gown.

After visiting, Spiegel Grove and learning more about Lucy and her daughter Fanny, I chose them (a.k.a. Melinda and Ruth) as “guests” at our White House Christmas Tea at Central (along with Margaret who was Sarah Polk). Not only did Melinda and Ruth dress in character, but they visited Spiegel Grove in Fremont to learn even more about the Hayes – and enjoyed it as much as we did.

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