Two people who will not be watching the Academy Awards tomorrow night: the President and First Lady of the United States. Instead the President and Mrs. Obama will be hosting the annual dinner at the White House for the state executives who come to Washington for the National Governors Conference.
February 22 held great significance for George Washington. He was born on that day and his granddaughter Eleanor Parke Custis, known as Nelly, chose February 22 to wed Washington's nephew in 1799. Nelly was the granddaughter of Martha Washington and was informally adopted by Martha and George Washington following the death of Nelly's father, who was Martha Washington's son by her first marriage to Daniel Custis. Nelly's wedding would have been a significant event by the mere fact that her grandparents were the most famous couple in the land at that time and Nelly was also a well known figure because she lived with the Washingtons and acted as hostess at various parties and receptions during Washington's presidency. Nelly chose her wedding day to break a Colonial tradition and wear a white lace veil. The Colonial custom at the time dictated that brides did not wear makeup or a veil because it was thought to create an illusion. Nelly decided to fashion a veil after her husband-to-be like the effect created when he saw her standing behind a lace curtain.
The Washingtons gave the newlyweds a wedding gift of 2,000 acres adjacent to their home, Mount Vernon, where Nelly grew up. On those 2,000 acres Nelly and her husband built Woodlawn Plantation which is now a national landmark and open to visitors.
The 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll is scheduled for April 1 and the lottery to obtain free tickets opens Thursday, February 21, at 10:00 a.m. ET. and closes on February 25 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
This year marks the 135th anniversary of the Easter Egg Roll, which was initiated by First Lady Lucy Hayes. The day-long event will feature live music, sports, cooking stations and the egg rolling. Participants can also count on seeing well known sports figures and entertainers as well as participation by the First Family. The Egg Roll is open to children 13 years and younger and their parents. Over 35,000 guests attended last year's event.
The current Facebook cover for My Year with the First Ladies is the White House Situation Room, located in the West Wing. It is operational 24 hours/7 days a week and has secure video teleconferencing capability, with a direct link to communication channels at the State Department, Department of Defense, and the CIA. Get more details about the Situation Room from this video produced by the White House.
The Smithsonian now has an iPad app that acts as a guide through the National Potrait Gallery's American PresidentiaL collection. It is an opportunity to learn more about the personalities of each president from George Washington to Barack Obama plus details about their accomplishments and family life.
The public service network C-SPAN is launching a two-year series on America's First Ladies. C-SPAN will preview the series tomorrow on President's Day at 9 p.m. ET. Each First Lady will be featured in a 90-minute segment on Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET beginning with
Martha Washington on February 25, 2013. Season One will end in June 2013 with Ida McKinley's story.
Season Two will resume in September 2013 featuring
Eleanor Roosevelt and conclude in February 2014 with Michelle Obama. Check out the trailer about the series featuring First Lady Michelle Obama.
On February 16, 1786 the future fifth President of the United States, James Monroe, married Elizabeth Kortright, a mere girl of 17. Fast forward to 1816 when the Monroes took up residence in
the President's House, which was beginning to be called the White House after it was painted white following the reconstruction of the building burned by the British in the War of 1812. To complete the reconstruction the Monroes ordered furniture from Paris and Elizabeth's selection of each piece was made with the view of how appropriate the furniture would be for future presidential families. Among the furniture pieces Mrs. Monroe selected still on view in the White House include Empire gilt chairs in the Blue Room,
a bronze "Hannibal" clock still keeping perfect time, and
a mantel for the Green Room.
Photo of President Obama in Blue Room by White House official photographer Pete Souza
Valentine's Day is all about romance, hearts and flowers and marriage proposals. Many U.S. Presidents have not been afraid to show their romantic side for all to see including two who proposed to their sweethearts on Valentine's Day: Dwight D. Eisenhower and Theodore Roosevelt.
Some might characterize them of even being impetuous in their love. Lyndon Johnson proposed to Lady Bird the day after he met her. Richard Nixon proposed to his wife, Pat, the night he met her. Her reaction: "I thought he was nuts or something." President George Bush and Barbara Bush claimed it was love at first sight when they met. Barbara said George Bush was the first boy she kissed. President Harry Truman proclaimed that he had only one sweetheart since he was six years old. She eventually became his wife. President John Tyler said of his wife, Letitia: Whether I float or sink in the stream of fortune, you may be assured of this, I shall never cease to love you." President Woodrow Wilson, when pursuing his second wife, Edith Galt, sent her an orchid every day and wrote long passionate love letters which he had hand delivered from the White House.
On February 12 we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Frequently overshadowed by that fact is that another occupant of the White House was born on February 12: First Lady Louisa Adams,
wife of the sixth President, John Q. Adams, who was born on February 12, 1775 in London, England. She was the only First Lady to be born outside the United States and her mother-in-law, First Lady Abigail Adams, held it against her all her life and exclaimed when she heard about Louisa's pending marriage to her son: I hope for the love I bear my country that the Siren is at least half-blooded."
First Lady Michelle Obama was nominated for a Grammy award this year in the Best Spoken Word Album category for the her book The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, but the winner was Janis Ian for her rendition of Society's Child: My Autobiography. Ms. Ian's win was considered an upset in a category that included other prominent nominees such as former President Bill Clinton, talk show hosts Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow in addition to Mrs. Obama. The First Lady tweeted this to Ian: "Congrats to @therealjanisian! Such an honor even to be nominated for the Grammys--looking forward to watching tonight!" mo