Harriet Lane served as White House hostess for her uncle, President James Buchanan, the only bachelor ever elected President. Ms. Lane was an accomplished hostess who was her uncle’s hostess throughout his career. Before the White House she traveled with him to England when he was appointed Minister to Great Britain. She was even successfully presented to Queen Victoria. The National First Ladies’ Library biography called her “young, beautiful, and extremely popular.” One of her biggest mistakes as First Lady was actually aboard the USS Harriet Lane, where she hosted a party that her uncle later berated her for since the boat was government property. Harriet Lane made many contributions including (these and many more can be found by following the link above):
- The Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children (now part of John Hopkins)
- Funded the start of St. Albans, which was to train choristers.
- Helping the Native Americans
- Donating her art collection to the Smithsonian in what would begin the National Gallery of Art
So now that you know the First Ladies who have naval equipment named after them - who else do you think should be so honored?