A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Can you buy an entire chess set in a pawn shop?” (5/23)
“I passed my physical exam! But I only got a C in Hepatitis” (5/23)
“I like to play chess with old men in the park…although it’s hard to find 32 of them” (5/23)
“Some people say I have a bad attitude. I say screw them!” (5/23)
“Don’t worry about what I’m doing. Worry about why you’re worried about what I’m doing” (5/23)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from September 22, 2016
First Lady (president’s wife)

The “first lady” of the United States is married to a male president, a first lady of a state is married to the governor and a first lady of a city is married to the mayor. A distinguished woman in a certain field can be a first lady, such as a “first lady of the theatre” or “first lady of ballet.”

Martha Washington (1731-1802), the wife of first United State President George Washington (1731-1799), was called the “first lady of the nation” in 1838. However, the presidential “first lady” term became popular since the 1870s and 1880s.

“FLOTUS” stands for “First Lady Of The United States.” “Worst lady” (worst + first lady) is infrequently used.


Merriam-Webster Dictionary
first lady
noun, often capitalized F&L
1:  the wife or hostess of the chief executive of a country or jurisdiction
2:  the leading woman of an art or profession
First Known Use of first lady 1834

(Oxford English Dictionary)
first lady, n.
1. The most important or prominent woman; (with of) the leading woman in a particular activity or profession.
1677 tr. A.-N. Amelot de La Houssaie Hist. Govt. Venice ii. 127 If a Duke be married at the time of his Election, at his own peril, no Revenue is allowed for his Wife, she is only treated as the first Lady [Fr. la première Gentil-donne de l’Etat], but not as Princess.
2. The wife of the chief executive of a nation or state; spec. the wife of the President of the United States.
1870 Detroit (Michigan) Free Press 12 June 6 In the matter of social etiquette the ladies of Washington have never been able to agree… We know who is first lady, and we know who is second lady—the wives of the President and Vice President have unquestionably these distinctions.
1872 E. E. Briggs in Cincinnati Daily Enquirer 16 Feb. 2/5 The President and the ‘first lady’ could not visit, because if they began to pay social calls they must treat all the sovereign people alike… Besides, there is but one ‘first lady’, and if she did precisely like other women her identity would be lost. But..this is a Republic, and we don’t want a ‘first lady’.

7 August 1838, The Caledonian (St. Johnsbury, VT), “Mrs. Martha Washington” by Mrs. Sigourney, pg. 1, col. 3:
The first lady of the nation still preserved the habits of early life.

Chronicling America
31 May 1843, The North-Carolina Standard (Raleigh, NC), “Mrs. Martha Washington” by Mrs. Sigourney, pg. 2, col. 1:
The first lady of the nation still preserved the habits of early life.

3 June 1886, New York (NY) Times, pg. 1, col. 1:
THE NATION’S FIRST LADY
MARRIAGE OF THE PRESIDENT AND MISS FOLSOM.

Mental Floss
October 12, 2011 - 4:46am
Why Do We Call the President’s Wife “First Lady”?
Stacy Conradt
(...)
When she (Dolley Madison—ed.) died in 1849, President Zachary Taylor spoke at her funeral, declaring her the nation’s beloved First Lady… at least, legend tells us that’s what happened. There’s no documentation from his eulogy, so we don’t know for sure.
(...)
Despite these scattered references over the years, the term didn’t really take off until a journalist named Mary C. Ames used it in 1877. Ames was covering Rutherford B. Hayes’ inauguration for the New York Independent and referred to Lucy Hayes as the new First Lady. For whatever reason - possibly Ames’ popularity as a journalist - the phrase finally stuck, and we’ve been using it ever since. Well, that or FLOTUS, depending on your affinity for acronyms.

Today I Found Out
THE FIRST “FIRST LADY”
February 20, 2013 Eddie Deezen
(...)
In a June 12, 1843 article in the Boston Courier titled “Martha Washington”, the author, a Mrs. Sigourney, wrote:

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 study of scriptures and devotion.

This was the first known reference to “First Lady” in print referring to a wife of a U.S. President.

Next up, some sources claim that in 1849 President Zachary Taylor called Dolley Madison “First Lady” at her state funeral in his eulogy.  However, no actual written copy of the eulogy exists.

Boston (MA) Globe
First lady’: An archaic term for a dynamic role
By Mark Peters SEPTEMBER 15, 2016
(...)
Just when “first lady” was first applied to the US president’s wife is unclear. Many give credit to Zachary Taylor, who supposedly referred to his deceased wife as “first lady” in her eulogy, but this legend lacks evidence. The Oxford English Dictionary’s first US-centric example is from an 1870 Detroit Free Press article, during the first term of Ulysses S. Grant: “We know who is first lady, and we know who is second lady — the wives of the President and Vice President have unquestionably these distinctions.” Yet the first definitive reference to an American first lady is an unusual case: Harriet Lane was the niece of President James Buchanan, a bachelor, and periodicals called Lane “first lady” during Buchanan’s presidency of 1857 to 1861.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Thursday, September 22, 2016 • Permalink