Harriet Lane


Picture of President James Buchanan

Summary of Harriet Buchanan Lane - First Lady of America
Our summary and fast facts about Harriet Lane provides an interesting and easy way to learn about the life of the First Lady and niece of President James Buchanan. The beautiful and fashionable Harriet Lane became a popular First Lady. Well known for her patronage of music and the arts she was feted by the media of the time. Harriet Lane had accompanied her uncle to Europe where she had mixed with important people in the court of Queen Victoria. Her experiences abroad helped her to organize greatly admired social events and parties at the White House.

Facts about Harriet Lane - First Lady, "The Democratic Queen"
Harriet Lane undertook the role of First Lady as the niece of bachelor James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States who served in office from March 4, 1857 to March 4, 1861.  What was the life of Harriet Lane like? The Facts about Harriet Lane covers important information, dates and interesting facts about her birth, her early life, her family, her personality with a biography and the accomplishments of Harriet Lane as the First Lady of the United States of America.

Facts about Harriet Lane: Fact Sheet of Harriet Lane
Facts and Info: This fast fact sheet provides important information about Harriet Lane, First Lady of the United States of America.

Harriet Lane Fact Sheet - The First Lady of President James Buchanan
Relationship to President James Buchanan: Niece
Date Harriet Lane entered White House as First Lady: March 4, 1861
Term of Presidency: 1857-1861
When and where was Harriet Lane born?  

Picture of Harriet Lane

Picture of Harriet Lane

 She was born on May 18, 1830 in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
What was the name of her father and mother?
 The name of her parents: Elliot Tole Lane & Jane Buchanan Lane
What was her relationship to President James Buchanan?
 She was his niece and assumed the role of First Lady because her uncle never married. The president was also her legal guardian
When did she marry?
 Harriet Lane married Henry Elliot Johnston on January 11, 1866
What are the names of her children?
 The names of her children were James Buchanan (1868 – 1881), Henry Elliot Jr. (1869 – 1882)
When and where did Harriet Lane die?
 Harriet Lane died on July 3, 1903 in Narragansett, Rhode Island and was buried in the Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore.
Harriet Lane Fact Sheet - The First Lady of President James Buchanan

Facts about Harriet Lane: Fast Overview of Events in the White House
Facts and Info: Harriet Lane assumed the position of First Lady to her
bachelor uncle, President James Buchanan. She witnessed the important events of his ineffective presidency that included John Brown seizing the town of Harpers Ferry and the breaking of the Union as Southern States begin Secession and the creation of the Confederate States.

Personality and Character: Harriet Lane Quotes
Facts and Info: An insight into the personal views, character and personality of this First Lady may be obtained from the following Harriet Lane quotes. On the subject of organising state dinners it was noted that::

"...it was a matter of some delicacy to achieve the right order of precedence without seating mortal enemies next to each other...She managed her part with great cleverness and tact."

Facts about Harriet Lane: Her Nickname or Pet Name - "The Democratic Queen"
Facts and Info: Harriet Lane was known by the nickname of "The Democratic Queen" because her uncle, President James Buchanan, was a Democrat.

Facts about Harriet Lane: First Events
Facts and Info: Harriet Lane was the 1st First Lady who assumed the position as niece to the President.

Facts about the Causes and Accomplishments of Harriet Lane
Facts and Info: First Ladies are not elected so have no official role. Their accomplishments are therefore based on their own particular wishes that ranged from political interests, humanitarian and charitable causes or duties relating to their family or social responsibilities. The causes and accomplishments of Harriet Lane were demonstrated in her support and the protection of Native American Indians living on reservations. She was also a sponsor of the arts.

Facts about Harriet Lane: The Life of Harriet Lane
Facts and Info: President
James Buchanan was never married, his fiancée Anne Caroline Coleman had broken off their engagement and died a week later. The bachelor James Buchanan therefore asked his niece, Harriet Lane, to assume the role of hostess at the White House. Harriet Lane was the youngest child of Elliott Tole Lane, who was a merchant and Jane Buchanan Lane, the sister of James Buchanan. Harriet lost both her parents when she was eleven years old and James Buchanan became guardian to Harriet and her sister, Mary Elizabeth. James ensured that the girls had the best of everything and Harriet received an excellent education at boarding schools in Charleston and then at the Academy of the Visitation Convent in Washington, D.C.  When her Uncle was appointed minister to Great Britain in 1853, Harriet Lane accompanied him to London. She mixed with the highest society in the royal court and Queen Victoria bestowed on her the rank of ambassador's wife. She was extremely popular and feted for her beauty and vivaciousness. She returned to the US in 1855 as a sophisticated, fashionable young woman, experienced in conversing with important people. James Buchanan was elected President of the United States and Harriet Lane assumed the position of First Lady on March 4, 1857. She became extremely popular her good looks, intelligence and grace earned her popularity in the press. Women copied her style of dress and her hairstyle. A popular song of the day called "Listen to the Mockingbird" was written in her honor, she was the 'Sweet Hallie' who was mentioned in the song. At the end of her uncle's presidency Harriet Lane returned to Pennsylvania where she married banker Henry Elliott Johnston on January 11, 1866. Their two children sadly died. Harriet Lane herself died a very wealthy woman. In her will she bequeathed her art collection to the country which is now part of the Fine Arts and Portrait Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution. Harriet Lane also left a considerable amount of money to create a medical facility for children, which became known as the Harriet Lane Outpatient Clinics, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Harriet Lane died of cancer on July 3, 1903 in Narragansett, Rhode Island and was buried in the Greenmount Cemetery in the Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore.


Presidential Seal


Video of James Buchanan
The Facts about Harriet Lane provides a fast overview of the key facts and events in the biography about her life and accomplishments as the First Lady of James Buchanan. The following video enables you to sit back and listen to the history of the personal and political life of James Buchanan, the man she supported. A useful biography and educational resource for kids, children and schools learning about the life and family of Harriet Lane.




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The life, quotes and short biography of Harriet Lane

Facts, short biography and life of Harriet Lane and James Buchanan for schools, homework, kids and children

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