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.

Joe Steele


First Lady Tenure President
31 Lou Hoover Louhenryhoover.jpg 1929-1933 Herbert Hoover
32 Betty Steele Nophoto.jpg 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.

Southern Victory

Only three FLOTUS were identified by name in the series:

In addition Charles W. La Follette and Thomas Dewey are both described as being married, but their spouses are not named.

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.

Eleanor Roosevelt is the incumbent in "Cayos in the Stream" and The War That Came Early series. She makes a brief cameo in the former, and is referenced in the latter.

Bess Truman is the incumbent in The Man With the Iron Heart and The Hot War series. She's only briefly referenced in both, and is killed in an atomic attack in 1952 in The Hot War: Fallout.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis fairly briefly appears in "A Massachusetts Yankee in King Arthur's Court".

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.

Nina Warren is the presumed incumbent from 1960 to 1965 in the Colonization series. She isn't named, but does appear at the funeral of her husband, President Earl Warren, in Aftershocks.

A longer-lived Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy becomes First Lady in "Election Day", after her husband John F. Kennedy Jr. is elected President in 2016.

Karen Pence is obliquely referenced as incumbent First Lady in 2031 in "The Breaking of Nations".

In the story "Vilcabamba", which is set in the 22nd century, Jessica Moffatt is the last First Lady of the United States.

Historical First Ladies in Non-First Lady Roles

In Joe Steele, Eleanor Roosevelt becomes First Lady of the State of New York as in OTL, but is murdered along with her husband in July, 1932.

In "Election Day", Donald Trump is defeated in the 2016, and so his wife Melania Trump does not become First Lady.