Mary Arthur McElroy
|Mary Arthur McElroy|
|First Lady of the United States|
September 19, 1881 – March 4, 1885
|Preceded by||Lucretia Garfield|
|Succeeded by||Rose Cleveland|
July 5, 1841
Greenwich, New York
|Died||January 8, 1917
Albany, New York
Mary Arthur McElroy (July 5, 1841 – January 8, 1917) was the sister of the 21st President of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, and served as a hostess for his administration (1881–1885). She assumed the role because Arthur's wife, Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur, had died only a year and a half earlier.
Mary Arthur was born in Greenwich, New York to William and Malvina S. Arthur. She was the last of nine children. She attended the Emma Willard School Seminary in Troy, New York and later married insurance salesman John McElroy (in 1851)(dubious). They lived in Albany, New York and had four children.
In November 1880, McElroy's brother Chester Arthur was elected vice president. In July 1881, President James Garfield was fatally wounded and died on September 19, 1881. Arthur succeeded him, and asked McElroy to care for his young daughter Ellen and act as "Mistress of the White House." Because she had her own family in Albany, McElroy lived in Washington, D.C. only during the busy winter social season. Although Arthur never officially granted her the protocol of a formal position, she proved to be a popular and competent hostess. The procedures she and her brother developed for the social functions were used by future First Ladies for decades.
McElroy presided over a number of events and honored former First Ladies Julia Tyler and Harriet Lane, James Buchanan's niece and social hostess, by asking them to help her receive guests at the White House. McElroy's oldest daughter May and Arthur's daughter Nell often assisted. Her final reception took place on February 28, 1885, one week before the end of the Arthur administration: 3,000 people attended (including Adolphus Greely) and 48 daughters of officials and of the social elite assisted her.
She was a member of the Albany Association Opposed to Women's Suffrage.
She died at the age of 75 in Albany, New York and was buried at Albany Rural Cemetery.
Lucretia Rudolph Garfield
|First Lady of the United States