“If I get into the White House, I will neither keep house nor make butter.”
First Ladies of the US Sarah Polk Full Image

Sarah Polk

Sarah Childress Polk
Years of service: 1845-1849
Born: 1803

First Ladies of the US Sarah Polk Full Image

Sarah Childress grew up on a wealthy Tennessee plantation and was given an advanced education. She was solely devoted to James Polk’s political career, and she served as her husband’s loyal secretary, advisor, and trusted supporter. A fashionable dresser, she was also a pious Presbyterian who banned dancing and hard liquor at the White House. James died in 1849, only three months after retiring from Washington, leaving Sarah to live another 42 years on their estate at Polk Place in Tennessee. Perhaps her best political ingenuity was during the Civil War as she maneuvered the preservation of her home as the neutral territory between the Confederacy and the Union.


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Leaders in Literacy

4/30/2024 through 4/30/2025

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First Ladies as Teachers, Educators, and Librarians.

The right to an education is a foundational principle of America’s history, and many First Ladies have taken up this cause. We celebrate National First Ladies Day by kicking off this featured exhibit, presented by Huntington Bank.