Portrait of Angelica Singleton Van Buren (1842). Henry Inman (American, 1801–1846). Oil on canvas. White House.
Our 8th president, Martin Van Buren, had been a widower for nearly 20 years and hence had no first lady, yet someone needed to fill the position. He called upon his daughter-in-law Angelica Singleton Van Buren (1818-1877). Beguiling and loved, she was a young, beautiful, gentle woman who was confident, poised and religious. Raised on a southern plantation as the daughter of wealthy South Carolinians, she had a genteel southern spirit and benefited from an excellent education.