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Flowers left for Helen Taft
Helen Louise Herron "Nellie" Taft: Madam, you will be remembered as the wife of William Howard Taft and First Lady of the United States from 1909 to 1913. With your parents, you attended the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebration of President and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes at the White House in 1877. You had two sons and a daughter. Robert Alphonso Taft (18891953) was a political leader, Helen Taft (18911987) was an educator, and Charles Phelps Taft II (18971983) was a civic leaderYou are the first wife of a president to ride alongside your husband down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day (heretofore the outgoing president had accompanied the incoming president). Two months after entering the White House,you suffered a stroke, impairing your speech. You never fully recovered. With the help of your sisters, however, you entertained moderately. You received guests three afternoons a week in the Red Room. The social highlight of the Taft administration was the silver wedding anniversary gala (June 19, 1911) for some 8,000 guests. In your most lasting contribution as First Lady, you arranged for the planting of the 3,000 Japanese cherry trees that grace the Washington Tidal Basin; with the wife of the Japanese ambassador, you personally planted the first two saplings in ceremonies on March 27, 1912. In 1912, you attended the Democratic National Convention, taking a front-row seat in order to deter speakers' criticism of your husband. You were a Wet, so White House guests were entertained with alcohol during your time as First Lady. The former president opposed prohibition during his presidency and much of his time as Chief Justice, but was himself a teetotaler and during his last years wrote letters in support of Prohibition's objectives. With your husband appointment to the Supreme Court by President Warren G. Harding, you became the only woman to be both First Lady and wife of a chief justice Although you remained a loyal Republican, particularly supportive of Herbert and Lou Hoover, you also attended several events to meet Eleanor Roosevelt, including a tribute. After son Charlie Taft took a job with the Roosevelt Administration, You were alleged to have told a reporter in Mexico that you supported FDR in his bid for a second term, in 1936. Your other son, Robert Taft, then a Republican U.S. Senator, quickly issued a statement denying that you had done so. When your son ran for the Republican nomination in 1940, you attended the Philadelphia convention and loyally supported him. However, you also signed a public letter with other women, including FDR's mother, Sara Roosevelt, calling on Republican Senators - including yourr son - to permit Roosevelt's war-preparedness legislation to come to the Senate floor for a vote. happy birthday!
 Added: Jun. 2, 2013

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