Let’s say you were on the Washington, D.C. social scene in the early 1860s. You did not want to cross Mary Todd Lincoln. That girl could hold a grudge!
Mrs. Lincoln wasn’t what you’d call a frugal First Lady. She spent up a storm in the midst of the Civil War, which her critics found to be in questionable taste.
Among her many sworn enemies was Julia Dent Grant, wife of Ulysses S. (and later a First Lady herself).
In their day, the hottest trend in hostessing was to throw a party on the Potomac. You’d rent a paddle boat, hire a band, and cruise up and down the river entertaining your guests.
Mrs. Lincoln announced to all of Washington that she was planning the party of the year — then invited everyone in town except poor old Mrs. Grant.
Our 22nd First Lady wasn’t going down without a fight. She went out and rented a bigger paddle boat, upon which she rode right past Mrs. Lincoln’s party all by herself.
Special thanks to Mama Manners (an incurable history buff) for providing that juicy President’s Day anecdote.
It’s very Real Housewives, don’t you think? 🙂