Polk, Sarah

Polk, Sarah

▪ American first lady
née  Sarah Childress 
born September 4, 1803, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, U.S.
died August 14, 1891, Nashville, Tennessee

      American first lady (1845–49), the wife of James K. Polk (Polk, James K.), 11th president of the United States. Compared to most other first ladies of the 19th century, she was deeply involved in her husband's career and, through him, exerted considerable influence on public affairs and politics.

      Sarah Childress, daughter of Joel Childress, a prominent businessman and planter, and Elizabeth Whitsitt Childress, profited from an excellent education for a woman of her time. Tutored at home, she attended public schools in Nashville, Tennessee, and later enrolled at the outstanding (and expensive) Moravian Female Academy in Salem, North Carolina. After her father died in 1819, she and her two siblings were raised by their mother.

      When Sarah married James K. Polk on January 1, 1824, he had already embarked on a political career in the Tennessee state legislature. She quickly came to share her husband's political ambitions, becoming (in the judgment of one historian) his “most valuable political ally.” During James's tenure in the House of Representatives (1825–39), which included four years as speaker (1835–39), Sarah usually accompanied him to Washington, D.C., where she was a popular hostess and noted conversationalist. Although she could not travel with him on his campaigns, because it would have been considered inappropriate, she sent him documents and kept him apprised of the local political scene. The couple had no children.

 Upon becoming first lady, Sarah was widely rumoured to be a useful asset to her husband and a strong influence on his thinking. Her husband's biographer, Charles Sellers, called her “indispensable” as a “secretary, political counselor, nurse and emotional resource.” Dignified and gracious, even to political foes, she opened the White House for receptions twice a week, but, in keeping with her religious views, she adamantly forbade dancing and music on Sundays. She took little interest in redecorating the White House, though she did oversee the installation of gas lighting.

      The Polks planned for a long retirement in their newly built home, Polk Place, in Nashville, after James's term ended in March 1849. But James died on June 15, leaving Sarah widowed at 45. There were rumours of a romantic involvement with President James Buchanan (Buchanan, James), a bachelor, in the late 1850s, but she never remarried. She spent the rest of her life at Polk Place.

Betty Boyd Caroli

Additional Reading
Short biographies of Sarah Polk include Jayne Crumpler DeFiore, “Sarah (Childress) Polk,” in Lewis L. Gould (ed.), American First Ladies (1996), pp. 131–144; and Betty Boyd Caroli, First Ladies, expanded ed. (1995), pp. 58–67. Anson Nelson and Fanny Nelson, Memorials of Sarah Childress Polk (1892, reissued 1994), includes interviews with Sarah Polk and others, as well as some newspaper coverage. Charles Grier Sellers, James K. Polk, 2 vol., (1957–66, reprinted 1987), discusses her political interests.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Нужно сочинение?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sarah Childress Polk — Sarah Polk First Lady of the United States In office March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849 Preceded by Julia Tyler …   Wikipedia

  • Sarah Childress Polk — Sarah Polk Sarah Childress Polk (* 4. September 1803 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; † 14. August 1891 in Nashville) war die Frau des 11. US Präsidenten James K. Polk und die First Lady der Vereinigten Sta …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sarah Polk — Sarah Polk, née le 4 septembre 1803 et morte le 14 août 1891 est l épouse du président des États Unis James Polk. Elle occupa le poste de Première dame des États Unis entre 1845 et 1849 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sarah Polk — Sarah Childress Polk (* 4. September 1803 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; † 14. August 1891 in Nashville) war die Frau des 11. US Präsidenten James K. Polk und die First Lady der Vereinigten Staaten vom 4. März 1845 bis zu …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Polk, James K. — ▪ president of United States Introduction in full  James Knox Polk  born November 2, 1795, Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, U.S. died June 15, 1849, Nashville, Tennessee  11th president of the United States (1845–49). Under his leadership the… …   Universalium

  • Sarah Helmick State Recreation Site — Picnic area …   Wikipedia

  • Polk — may refer to: People *Albert Fawcett Polk (1869–1955), American lawyer and United States representative from Delaware *Aysia Polk (born 1990), American actress *Charles Polk, Jr. (1788–1857), American farmer and politician *DaShon Polk (born… …   Wikipedia

  • Polk — ist: ein Militärstützpunkt der US Armee in Louisiana, siehe Fort Polk Polk ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Albert F. Polk (1869–1955), US amerikanischer Politiker Charles Polk (1788–1857), US amerikanischer Politiker James G. Polk… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Polk Home — is the only surviving residence of the eleventh President of the United States, James K. Polk. Located in Columbia, Tennessee, the Federal style house was built by the president s father, Samuel Polk in 1816. President Polk lived there with his… …   Wikipedia

  • Polk County (Oregon) — Polk County Courthouse in Dallas Verwaltung US Bundesstaat: Oregon …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”