Angelica Singleton Van Buren

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Angelica Van Buren
Henry Inman - Angelica Singleton Van Buren (Mrs. Abraham Van Buren) - Google Art Project.jpg
Van Buren's White House Portrait (1840)
First Lady of the United States
In role
November 27, 1838 – March 4, 1841
PresidentMartin Van Buren
Preceded bySarah Jackson (Acting)
Succeeded byAnna Harrison
Jane Harrison (Acting)
Personal details
Sarah Angelica Singleton

(1818-02-13)February 13, 1818
Wedgefield, South Carolina, U.S.
DiedDecember 29, 1877(1877-12-29) (aged 59)
New York City, U.S.
Abraham Van Buren
(m. 1838; died 1873)
Alma materMadame Grelaud's French School

Sarah Angelica Van Buren (née Singleton; February 13, 1818 – December 29, 1877), was the daughter-in-law of the eighth United States President Martin Van Buren. She was married to the President's son, Abraham Van Buren. She assumed the post of First Lady because the president's wife, Hannah Van Buren, had died 17 years earlier and he remained unwed throughout the rest of his life. Although she was never married to a president, she is the youngest woman ever to act as the White House hostess.[1]

Early life[edit]

Sarah Angelica Singleton was born in Wedgefield, South Carolina, on February 13, 1818.[2] She was the fourth of six children born to Richard Singleton and his wife, Rebecca Travis Coles.[3]

Angelica was educated at the Columbia Female Academy in South Carolina and Madame Grelaud's French School in Philadelphia for 5 years.[3] She was a popular student at Madame Grelaud's and the school gave her the opportunity to meet a more diverse group of people.[3]


In 1838, Angelica visited Washington, DC, with her sister.[3] Former First Lady Dolley Madison, a cousin of Sarah's mother Rebecca Travis Coles, decided to play matchmaker and introduced the Singleton girls to President Martin Van Buren's bachelor sons.[4] Eight months later, Angelica Singleton married Abraham Van Buren on November 27, 1838, on his 31st birthday in Wedgefield.[3] The marriage strengthened President Van Buren's ties to the Old South.[1]

Following the wedding, Van Buren assumed the duties of hostess at the White House with great success.[4]

In the spring of 1839, the couple took an extended trip through England (where her aunt, Sally Coles Stevenson, and uncle, Andrew Stevenson, was U.S. Minister the U.K.) and other European countries.[3][5] The trip was a massive success and when Van Buren returned to Washington, she hoped to bring some European style to the White House.[5] Angelica and other honored female guests began standing on a dais in the Blue Room to greet guests at the beginning of White House functions.[6] Although the French Ambassador enjoyed the reception, Americans did not.[3] The dais was soon removed.[5]

In March 1840, Angelica gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter named Rebecca. Rebecca died a few months later.[4] After leaving the White House, the couple had four sons; the survivors were:[3]

  • Singleton Van Buren (1841–1885)
  • Martin Van Buren II (1844–1885)
  • Travis Coles Van Buren (1848–1889)

Post-Van Buren presidency[edit]

After Martin Van Buren was defeated for re-election in 1840, Angelica and her husband lived at the Van Buren home of Lindenwald, in Kinderhook (town), New York, wintering at her family home, Melrose House, in South Carolina. From 1848 until her death, she lived in New York City.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sibley, Katherine A. S. (2016-03-02). A Companion to First Ladies. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118732243.
  2. ^ Anthony, Carl (September 27, 2014). "First Ladies Never Married to Presidents: Angelica Van Buren". Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hendricks, Nancy (2015-10-13). America's First Ladies: A Historical Encyclopedia and Primary Document Collection of the Remarkable Women of the White House: A Historical Encyclopedia and Primary Document Collection of the Remarkable Women of the White House. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781610698832.
  4. ^ a b c Wead, Doug (2004-01-06). All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780743446334.
  5. ^ a b c Swain, Susan; C-SPAN (2015-04-14). First Ladies: Presidential Historians on the Lives of 45 Iconic American Women. PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781610395670.
  6. ^ Watson, Robert P. (2012-02-01). Life in the White House: A Social History of the First Family and the President's House. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780791485071.

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sarah Jackson
De facto
First Lady of the United States

Succeeded by
Anna Harrison (de jure)
Jane Harrison (de facto)