The First Lady of the United States is the official hostess of the White House, with ultimate responsibility for overseeing protocol at all White House functions. (In alternate history timelines where the seat of the Presidency is not the White House, we can assume that the First Lady performs the same function wherever the President does sit.) In recent years, it has also become customary for the First Lady to advocate on behalf of social initiatives, usually of a politically non-controversial nature. The position of First Lady is unpaid, and tradition prohibits a First Lady from being gainfully employed while she holds the post, for fear of an employer or contractor attempting to use her salary to influence the President.
Throughout American history, when the President has been married, his wife has held the position of First Lady in an official capacity. In those instances when the President has been either a bachelor or a widower for their entire term, a close female relative or friend of the President has functioned as an "acting" First Lady. John Tyler, Grover Cleveland, and Woodrow Wilson were widowed during their presidency, and remarried. Consequently, there have been forty-two "official" First Ladies, and eleven acting ones, even though there have been forty-five Presidents.
|31||Lou Hoover||1929-1933||Herbert Hoover|
|32||Betty Steele||1933-1953||Joe Steele|
|33||Vacancy||1953||John Nance Garner|
Upon his death, President Joe Steele was succeeded by his Vice President, John Nance Garner, a widower. After Garner was impeached and removed from office, GBI Director seized "emergency" executive power. He was a bachelor.
Only three FLOTUS were identified by name in the series:
Other First Ladies
In addition to the above, Harry Turtledove has written several stories in which the First Lady plays a prominent role or, at a minimum, in which the incumbent First Lady is referenced.
Barbara Bush is obliquely referenced in the satire "Bedfellows" as someone whom the main characters are on their way to meet. As the story is a satire, taking the plot literally is not the best approach to the material.