|Title||Harriet Rebecca Lane Johnston|
|Collection||First Lady Dolls|
Harriet Lane Johnston (1830-1903)
Niece of James Buchanan - White House Hostess from 1857-1861
Harriet's mother died when she was nine and her father when she was eleven years old. She had been placed in boarding schools where she was educated in classic literature as well as current international events.
In 1841, James Buchanan became the legal guardian of Harriet Lane, but always referred to her as his "adopted daughter."
James Buchanan stands unique in the history of American Presidents. He was the only bachelor to be elected and to serve a full term as Chief Executive.
It is unclear if Harriet Lane appeared on the outdoor, public stand where her uncle took the oath of office as president on March 4, 1857, but it is highly likely. In a pen drawing carried by a British illustrated magazine, she was depicted with Buchanan as he was welcomed upon first entering the White House as President. She was a prominent figure at the Inaugural Ball that evening, promenading the hall on the arm of the new President. Harriet was 27 years old at this time.
With the start of the Administration's first full social season, from November of 1857 to April 1858, Harriet Lane was charged by her uncle with the formal responsibilities of arranging all social events in the White House, as well as overseeing the interior refurnishing of state rooms.
In 1860 there were three notable visits by representatives of foreign governments. Harriet Lane became the first American woman to be officially presented to a delegation of Japanese representatives who traveled to the U.S. to ratify a new Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation.
At 35 years old, on January 11, 1866, at Wheatland, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Harriet Lane married Henry Elliott Johnston.
After living in the White House, Harriet continued to live a public life, involving herself in civic activities in her new home city of Baltimore. When John Hopkins University opened there in 1876, she took an interest in its mission of new research, beyond mere education. She would commit substantial funds to the institution, and eventually create a trust fund to underwrite graduate level and independent research study fellowships in the liberal arts and sciences.
In 1893, after the John Hopkins School of Medicine opened, Harriet Lane successfully established the 'Harriet Lane Home', making it the first pediatric medical center in the U.S.
Harriet Lane Johnston continued serving in civic areas and encouraging the development of art museums in the United States. She also continued to strive for ways to protect and honor her uncle's legacy.
Harriet Lane Johnston died on July 3, 1903.
|Event||Bicentennial First Lady Doll Exhibit - Community Project|
|Creator||Park, Phyllis Juhlin|
|Costume||Costume by Ann Weist King|
|Given||Given by Ann Weist King|
|Source||Uintah County Library|