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First Spouses of the United States: Selected Images

Finding Additional Images

The Library of Congress provides several search systems for finding digitized images as well as descriptive information about images and image collections. The most useful search systems are described below along with special instructions for locating relevant images of first spouses. Be sure to read all information about rights and restrictions related to reuse of the images.

Online Searching

Many first spouses' portraits can be both searched and viewed in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC). In many cases, a description can be found, even if the material has not been digitized. 

Additional Search Tips

On the Portrait Gallery pages of this guide, a suggested search has been provided for each president's spouse, which attempts to limit the search to portraits for which there are no known restrictions for usage. You may find additional results by adjusting the search terms that you use.

In many cases, these images have been indexed with a controlled name for each first lady, placing last name before first name, and sometimes including additional parts of the name and life dates, such as, "Wilson, Edith Bolling Galt,--1872-1961." However, sometimes these subject headings are omitted, or typos happen, so searching "Wilson, Edith" may return more results than "Wilson, Edith Bolling Galt,--1872-1961." For first ladies, yet different results may turn up when searching "Mrs." and the presidential spouse's name, such as "Mrs. Woodrow Wilson." 

Adding or removing the term "portrait" may also yield additional results, including, potentially, commentary materials, such as political cartoons and posters. 

Our collections are strongest in portraits of presidents (and their spouses) from George Washington through Harry Truman. Presidential libraries can be helpful resources for first spouses, starting with President Hoover's wife, Lou Henry Hoover.

Looking at Items in the Reading Room

On site in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room, you can find many additional first spouse portraits and images relating to their lives in the Presidential File and in other collections. Hundreds of first spouses' images have not yet been digitized and must be accessed in person. 

Further Information