Harriet Lane, born May 9, 1830, served as First Lady during the administration of her uncle, President James Buchanan (1857-1861). While you may not think her influence has relevance 185 years after her birth, think again. Harriet Lane’s gift of 30 pieces of art formed the core of the collection for the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, and that gift spurred others to bequeath their private collections. Thousands of children benefited from treatment received at the Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children in Baltimore. Prior to 1912, children’s hospitals did not exist and Harriet Lane turned the tragedy in her own life, with the death of her young sons from rheumatic fever, into a healing force for others with the establishment of the clinic that bears her name. Today the clinic is part of John Hopkins Children Hospital, where doctors discovered the sulfa drugs that prevent cardiac side effects of the rheumatic fever that killed both of Harriet’s sons. Harriet Lane clinics operate throughout the world and the Harriet Lane Handbook is still widely used today by medical professionals. Three U.S. Coast Guard cutters have borne her name and the third is still on active duty. In the nation’s capital Harriet Lane’s bequest resulted in the building of St. Albans School and a scholarship endowment for the National Cathedral Choir at St. Albans. Finally, her wish to honor the memory of President Buchanan, who made a home for her and her brother following the death of her parents, was realized when Congress committed matching funds for the Buchanan memorial which now stands inside Meridian Park, one of the most beautiful parks in Washington, DC.