Caroline Scott Harrison

U.S. First Lady

Born: 1 October 1832
Died: 25 October 1892 (tuberculosis)
Birthplace: Oxford, Ohio
Best known as:

The wife of U.S. President Benjamin Harrison

Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison was the wife of U.S. President Benjamin Harrison and served as the First Lady from 1889 to 1893. A preacher's daughter, Caroline Scott graduated from Ohio's Oxford Female Institute in 1853 with a degree in music. She married Benjamin Harrison that same year (20 October), and they settled in Indianapolis, Indiana. While her husband was in the Civil War, practiced law and dabbled in politics, she raised their two children, gardened, painted a little and volunteered at church. Harrison was surprisingly elected to the presidency in 1888 and served only one term -- his is sandwiched between the two terms of Grover Cleveland -- but in that time Caroline made a name for herself as an amiable and ambitious First Lady. She oversaw renovation, started the White House china collection and used her position to advance progressive causes, especially for women. Caroline Harrison is said to have pressured John Hopkins University to admit women to their medical school, and she was the first President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was also sick with tuberculosis. She took a turn for the worst in 1892, just as her husband was gearing up for a re-election campaign. Caroline died 25 October, just before Harrison lost the election to Grover Cleveland.

Extra credit:

Caroline and Benjamin Harrison had two children, Russell Benjamin (1854-1936) and Mary Scott (1858-1930)... When the Harrisons were in the White House, they shared it with six other family members: their daughter Mary ("Mamie"); Mary's husband, J. Robert McKee; their children, Benjamin Harrison McKee and Mary McKee; Caroline Harrison's father, John W. Scott; and Caroline's niece, Mary Lord Dimmick... The Harrisons were the first First Family to live in the White House with electricity. The story is they were afraid to use it.

Copyright © 1998-2014 by Who2?, LLC. All rights reserved.

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.