History | Weird

8 Weird Facts About America's First Ladies That You'll Work Into Your Next Conversation

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The role of the First Lady of the United States often involves being a calming presence in the White House, perhaps running a charity and being present for the occasional speech.

But in the nearly 250 years of independence, we have certainly had some First Ladies who bucked the trend and are remembered for their, ahem, colorful behavior.

1. Don't cross Martha Washington

At age 18, before she married George Washington, Martha fell in love with a man 20 years her senior named Daniel Parke Custis. By all accounts they were a healthy, happy couple. But Martha's father-in-law made it known that he did not approve of her and he made every attempt to sabotage their relationship until the two were finally married.

When Daniel died seven years later, Martha visited his mansion and sold off her father-in-law's possessions. She left only one thing; his wineglasses he'd hand-blown himself. As glass was very expensive at the time, this was a particularly priceless collection.

In an act of glorious vengeance, Martha took her father-in-law's glasses and proceeded to smash them until they were all destroyed.

2. Mary Todd Lincoln dealt with her addiction by selling manure

Aside from her other quirks, Mary Todd Lincoln was also a notorious shopaholic. When her husband was running for reelection, Mary realized that his loss could mean her massive shopping debts could become known.

Panicking, she realized she needed to find unconventional means to pay off her bills. So she did what every self-respecting shopaholic would do. She secretly sold excess White House manure and fired some of the House's staff behind her husband's back.

3. Dolley Madison was a party animal

Every history book will tell you that Dolley Madison threw some epic parties. She was known for her "Wednesday Night Squeezes", parties which she organized every week, where she invited everyone from famous politicians to average Joes. She was also known for her provocative dressing and for serving ice cream during the legendary nights.

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