The entrance to the exhibition, Every Eye is Upon Me at the National Portrait Gallery where Martha Washington welcomes visitors/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Unidentified photographer, Eliza McCardle Johnson (1810-1876), 1865-1876.
The Johnsons met in Greenville, Tennessee, when they were teens and married when he was 18 and she was 16, the youngest first lady to get married. Andrew Johnson never attended school, and Mrs. Johnson taught her husband how to read/Courtesy of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Greeneville, Tennessee
The turned portion of the capelet shows the name of the seamstress, a South Carolinian who was the daughter of a slave and a white man who was her mother's owner/Loaned from the National First Ladies' Library, Canton, Ohio
Edward Steichen, Lou Hoover (1874-1944), 1928. Her wistful expression evokes that of her husband's administration. The label copy notes her wealthy background blinded her to the plight of lower-class and working women who did not have Mrs. Hoover's time to volunteer and churn out good works for the sake of society which her successor, Eleanor Roosevelt, promoted, earning nods from the public for her efforts. Mrs. Hoover's were the times that tried women's souls.
Robert Vickrey, Pat Nixon (1912-1993), 1960. This is my favorite of the whole show. The portrait was made for the Feb. 29, 1960 issue of Time magazine when her husband, the future President Richard M. Nixon, was running against John Kennedy in the 1960 campaign. (To me, It suggests the works of Edward Hopper and Chris Van Allsburg.)
Nancy Reagan's (left) and Michelle Obama's apparel at the First Ladies' exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Jacqueline Kennedy's suit was so plain and unimpressive. unlike she was, that I received a big surprise upon examining my pictures at home where I discovered I had not even photographed it which is visible at far right/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States is made possible through the support of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Morgan Stanley and the generosity of many other donors.
When: Closing May 23, 2021. The National Portrait Gallery is open daily from 11:30 a.m - 7 p.m. but is closed now due to covid, however, you may see most of the exhibit virtually at the website.
Where: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F streets, N. W., Washington, D.C. 20001
For more information: 202-633-8300 or visit the website
Closest Metro station: Gallery Place-Chinatown or walk 10 minutes from Metro Center