Although many criticized Lucy Hayes for not doing more for the women’s suffrage movement, she developed a legendary reputation for kindness and dedication to her family. During the Civil War, she received a telegram informing her that her husband was wounded near Washington, D.C. The specific location was unknown, but she left Ohio to search for him anyway. She took charge of his care after a five day search, and returned him and several of his comrades to Ohio to recuperate. “Years later in the White House, a Civil War veteran came to be photographed and, so that he would have the appropriate insignia on his uniform, First Lady Lucy Hayes sewed it on for him.”
Facts and quotations from First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Betty Boyd Caroli. C-SPAN is exploring the influence of First Ladies in its new series.
Image: Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes, published 1877. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.