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Title Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Taylor (Bliss) Dandridge
Collection First Lady Dolls
Catalog Number 2015.017.014
Description Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Taylor (Bliss) Dandridge (1824-1909)
Daughter of Zachary Taylor - White House Hostess from 1848-1850

During Taylor's Presidency, his wife, Margaret "Peggy" Mackall Smith Taylor, remained consistently in the background. For almost her first full year as First Lady, Peggy focused her attention on the maintenance of the executive household. One element of her role as First Lady that Peggy Taylor refused to engage herself in was presiding over any public functions as hostess. That was a task she gladly passed to her popular and young daughter, known to the general public and the press by the nickname "Miss Betty."
At the Inaugural Ball, following the Russian Minister's wife in red silk and diamonds, "Miss Betty" appeared in a simple white dress with a white flower in her hair and her naturalness became her trademark. She presided over all public functions in the White House as the official hostess of the Taylor Administration.
Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Taylor married her father's aide, Colonel William Wallace Bliss on December 5, 1846.
By the fall of 1849, there is a suggestion that the health of Betty's mother had briefly deteriorated since she then relinquished all the domestic management to her. To observers, Betty seemed to now "appreciate the importance of her social elevation." The change was visibly apparent at the March 4, 1850 White House reception when Betty Bliss led the conversations with men, balancing humor with sensibility and her poise was highly praised in the next day's newspapers.
Betty Bliss was with her mother, husband, sister and brother-in-law at the bedside of the President when, after a sudden gastric illness of five days, died on July 9, 1850.
Six years after her first husband's death on August 4, 1852 (just ten days before her mother's death), Betty Bliss married Philip Pendleton Dandridge on February 11, 1858.
Until her death at age 85, "Miss Betty" sought to maintain the public's fading memory of her father. She died on July 25, 1909 in Winchester, Virginia.
Event Bicentennial First Lady Doll Exhibit - Community Project
Creator Park, Phyllis J.
Costume Costume and given by Evelyn Criswell Showalter
Given Given in honor of Mary Elizabeth Criswell
Source Uintah County Library