Esther Cleveland

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Esther Cleveland
Esther Cleveland (LOC).jpg
Esther Cleveland (c. 1920)
Born(1893-09-09)September 9, 1893
DiedJune 25, 1980(1980-06-25) (aged 86)
Captain William Sidney Bence Bosanquet
(m. 1918; his death 1966)
ChildrenPhilippa Foot
Marion Bosanquet
Parent(s)Grover Cleveland
Frances Cleveland
RelativesRuth Cleveland (sister)
Marion Cleveland (sister)
Richard F. Cleveland (brother)
Rose Cleveland (paternal aunt)
Frederick Albert Bosanquet (father-in-law)

Esther Cleveland (September 9, 1893 – June 25, 1980) was the second child of Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States, and his wife Frances Folsom Cleveland.


She was born on September 9, 1893 in the White House. She remains the only child of a President to have been born there. Into her maturity, the US press still referred to her as "The White House baby: in a photograph of her in her early 20s, from a now unknown newspaper archive source.

In April, 1896, she contracted measles when it spread through the White House, leading to a quarantine.[1] Five years later, she contracted diphtheria.[2]

She made her debut in 1912[3] and was rumored to be engaged to Randolph D. West shortly after (which was denied by her relatives).[4] On March 14, 1918, at Westminster Abbey, she married Captain William Sidney Bence Bosanquet (May 9, 1883 – March 5, 1966) of the Coldstream Guards of the British Army.[5] He had liaised with the US over steel production and was the son of Sir Frederick Albert Bosanquet, the Common Serjeant of London. After WWII he was the manager of Skinningrove Iron Works in East Cleveland, England.[6] Following his death, she returned to the USA. They lived in Kirkleatham Old Hall, now Kirkleatham Museum, on the outskirts of Redcar. They bought the whole building in 1930 after half of it was initially occupied by soldiers. She sold the house to the local Council in 1970.[7]

As Mrs Bosanquet, she was known locally in the 1940s and 1950s for her philanthropy.[8] Esther bridged the divergent views of her mother's opposition to suffrage, stemming from Frances Cleveland's belief that women were not ready to vote, through to supporting her daughter who went to Somerville College, Oxford. She was the mother of British philosopher Philippa Foot, who was a fellow at Oxford before holding several professorships in the States.[9] Philippa Foot clearly had a sense of liberation from early governess education to high academic success. She said that she learned nothing from home tuition in Kirkleatham. It was "the sort of milieu where there was a lot of hunting, shooting, and fishing, and where girls simply did not go to college."[10] Nevertheless, she had the subsequent financial support from Esther and William Bosanquet to go to school in Ascot and later to Oxford.

Esther Cleveland Bosanquet died in Tamworth, New Hampshire in 1980 at age 86.


  1. ^ Staff report (April 8, 1896). MEASLES IN THE WHITE HOUSE.; Esther Cleveland, the President's Daughter, Attacked by the Disease. The New York Times
  2. ^ Staff report (May 21, 1901). ESTHER CLEVELAND ILL.; Daughter of ex-President Attacked with Diphtheria -- Three Other Cases at Princeton. The New York Times
  3. ^ Staff report (1912?). MISS CLEVELAND'S DEBUT.; Daughter of Late President, Born in White House, to Enter Society at 19. The New York Times
  4. ^ Staff report (October 27, 1912). ESTHER CLEVELAND ENGAGED; Report That 'White House Baby' Will Marry Randolph D. West. The New York Times
  5. ^ Staff report (March 15, 1918). ESTHER CLEVELAND WEDS CAPT. BOSANQUET; Late President's Daughter Marries Coldstream Guards Officer in Westminster Abbey. The New York Times
  6. ^ Staff report (March 8, 1966). W.S. Bosanquet, Husband Of 'the White House Baby.' The New York Times
  7. ^ Redcar and Cleveland, Borough Council (2011). "Kirkleatham Conservation Area Appraisal" (PDF). Retrieved 22 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Martin, Stephen (October 2020). "Alfred Skirrow Robinson: the life of a Roaring Twenties surgeon". Retrieved 2021-02-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Hacker-Wright, John (2019), "Philippa Foot", in Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2019 ed.), Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, retrieved 2021-02-22
  10. ^ Verhoeve, Alex (Spring 2003). "The Grammar of Goodness. An Interview with Philippa Foot". The Harvard Review of Philosophy. 11, 1: 33 – via {{cite journal}}: External link in |via= (help)