First Ladies: Rose Cleveland, Sister of Grover Cleveland

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Rose Cleveland served as First Lady for her brother, Grover Cleveland in the first two years of his Presidency. She served until her brother married Frances Folsom.

Rose Cleveland

Rose Elizabeth Cleveland was born on June 14, 1846 in Fayetteville, New York. She was known in her family as Libby. She was the youngest of nine children born to Rev. Richard Falley and Ann Neal Cleveland. When she was seven years old her father died.

As she grew older, she gained her education and became a teacher. She was often found reading.

In the 1880s, she returned home to care for their ailing mother until she died in 1882.

In 1885, her brother became President. Rose became First Lady and lived in the White House with her bachelor brother.

It is said that, “Rose Cleveland did not completely fit into Washington high society. It was said, “Rose Cleveland was a bluestocking, more interested in pursuing scholarly endeavors than in entertaining cabinet wives and foreign dignitaries. Rose was an intellectual, and she preferred to lecture rather than entertain, but she made sure to perform her duties as First Lady as a favor to her brother.”

Upon Grover Cleveland’s marriage to Frances Folsom, Rose resigned her duties at the White House. She became the principal of the Collegiate Institute of Lafayette, Indiana, a writer and lecturer, and the editor of the Chicago-based magazine Literary Life.

Rose became a companion to Evangeline Simpson. The two eventually moved to Italy.

She died at her home in Italy on November 22, 1918 from the Spanish fever. She is buried in the English Cemetery.

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