Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Title Julia Gardiner Tyler
Collection First Lady Dolls
Catalog Number 2015.017.012
Description Julia Gardiner Tyler (1820-1889)
Second wife of John Tyler - First Lady from 1841-1845

Julia was about five feet, three inches tall with brown hair and gray eyes. She was 24 years old when she married, then President John Tyler IV, on June 26, 1844. He became the first president to marry while in office.
Julia Gardiner Tyler was the second youngest presidential wife to serve as First Lady and the one with the shortest tenure, lasting only eight months. Julia Tyler viewed her status as the spouse of the President to be larger than that of hostess of social events within the mansion, which had been the traditional identity of that role.
This young First Lady changed public presidential ceremony when she directed that the President be removed from more direct access to the public when he received guests. There was a practical reason for Julia to change the format in which a presidential couple received their guests, related directly to the safety and security of the President himself. Previously, the President would simply stand in the middle of the Blue Room to welcome guests and often found himself besieged or even engulfed by guests. During open-house public receptions, this presented both a tiring, somewhat undignified but also dangerous scenario.
Julia's new configuration had the President standing against the wall, in the deeper side of the oval room. It kept people from coming up behind him and also allowed for the single line of guests to stream in and out efficiently.
Along these lines, Julia Tyler has been anecdotally credited with directing the Marine Band to always play a specific march whenever she and the president entered a public event, later to be famously known as "Hail to the Chief." It is difficult to find documented evidence of this and the innovation is sometimes credited to her immediate successor, Sarah Polk.
Julia Gardiner Tyler was 69 years old when she died on July 10, 1889. She is buried in Hollwood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.
Event Bicentennial First Lady Doll Exhibit - Community Project
Creator Park, Phyllis Juhlin
Costume Costume by Wilma B. Webb and Thelma W. Wright
Given Given by the Current Topics Club
Source Uintah County Library