Sarah Childress Polk


Sarah Childress Polk was the wife of James Polk, 11th President of the United States. She was First Lady from 1845 to 1849. She came from a wealthy family and was among the rare women in the 19th century who had the opportunity to receive higher education. As a devout Presbyterian, Sarah Polk was opposed to dancing and other forms of entertainment in the White House that may have been considered frivolous, though wine was served at the family’s dinners.

Portrait of Sarah Polk.
Portrait of Sarah Polk (Source: http://www.atoztheusa.com)

Despite such policies, the First Lady was popular with people due to her excellent social skills. Her accomplishments include helping her husband with his work and creating an environment that became famous for its entertainment. As such, she and her residence remained respected and popular after her husband’s death, and she received leaders of both parties during the Civil War.