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The title "First Lady" seems to have originated in the United States, where one of the earliest references was applied to Martha Washington. In an 1843 newspaper article that appeared in the Boston Courier, the author, "Mrs. Sigourney," discussing how Mrs. Washington had not changed even after her husband George became president, wrote that "The first lady of the nation still preserved the habits of early life. Indulging in no indolence, she left the pillow at dawn, and after breakfast, retired to her chamber for an hour for the study of the scriptures and devotion" ("Martha Washington," Boston Courier, 12 June 1843, p. 4). Some sources say that in 1849, United States President Zachary Taylor called Dolley Madison "First Lady" at her state funeral while reciting a eulogy written by himself. But it should be noted that no copy of that eulogy has been found,so the story may be more myth than fact, even if it is widely quoted. In the early days of the United States, there was no generally accepted title for the wife of the President. Many early first ladies expressed their own preference for how they were addressed, including the use of such titles as "Lady," "Mrs. President," "Mrs. Presidentress" (in the case of Julia Tyler). Harriet Lane, niece of bachelor President James Buchanan was the first woman to be called First Lady while actually serving in that position. The phrase appeared in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Monthly in 1860, when he wrote, "The Lady of the White House, and by courtesy, the First Lady of the Land." Once Harriet Lane was called First Lady, the term was applied retrospectively to her predecessors. The title first gained nationwide recognition in 1877, when Mary C. Ames wrote an article in the New York City newspaper The Independent describing the inauguration of President Rutherford B. Hayes. She used the term to describe his wife, Lucy Webb Hayes.
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