How Presidents Met Their First Ladies: 10 True Love Stories to Make You Say ‘Awww’

When Gracie Met Calvin

One day in 1903, Grace Anna Goodhue was watering flowers outside the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she taught. At some point, she looked up and saw a man through the open window of a boardinghouse across the street. He was shaving, his face covered with lather, and dressed in his long johns. He was also wearing a hat. Grace burst out laughing, and the man turned to look at her. That was the first meeting of Grace and Calvin Coolidge. They were married two years later.

When Harry Met Bessie

In 1890, when they were both small children, Harry Truman met Bess Wallace at the Baptist Church in Independence, Missouri. They were both attending Sunday school. He was six; she was five. Truman later wrote of their first meeting: “We made a number of new acquaintances, and I became interested in one in particular. She had golden curls and has, to this day, the most beautiful blue eyes. We went to Sunday school, public school from the fifth grade through high school, graduated in the same class, and marched down life’s road together. For me she still has the blue eyes and golden hair of yesteryear.” Bess and Harry were married in 1919.

When Lyndie Met Lady Bird

Lyndon Baines Johnson met Claudia “Lady Bird” Taylor in 1934, a few weeks after she’d graduated from the University of Texas. Johnson was a 26-year-old aide to Texas congressman Richard Kleberg, and was in Austin, Texas, on business. They went on a single breakfast date, at the end of which Johnson proposed marriage. She said she’d think about it. He returned to Washington, and sent her letters and telegrams every day until he returned to Austin 10 weeks later, when she accepted. “Sometimes,” she later wrote about her husband, “Lyndon simply takes your breath away.”

When Richie Met Pattie

Thelma “Pat” Ryan graduated from the University of Southern California in 1937 at the age of 25. She got a job as a high school teacher in Whittier, a small town not far from Los Angeles, and became a member of the amateur theatrical group the Whittier Community Players. In 1938 Richard Nixon, a 26-year-old lawyer who had just opened a firm in nearby La Habra, joined the theater group, thinking that acquiring acting skills would help him in the courtroom. In their first performance, Nixon was cast opposite Ryan. He asked her out, and asked her to marry him on their first date. They were married three years later.

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