★★★★★ First Spouse $10 Gold Coins ★★★★★

2009 - First Lady Anna Harrison, 1841

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First Lady Anna Harrison $10 coin obverse

Anna Harrison

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First Lady Anna Harrison $10 coin reverse

Although born in relative prosperity in New Jersey, Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison lived most of her life as a pioneer in the Ohio and Indiana frontier territories, following her husband, William Henry Harrison, during his long military and political career. William was frequently away for long stretches of time, and she cared for their business ventures and their ten children alone. Relations with the local Native Americans were tense, and the threat of attack was ever-present. Even with these dangers, she was an able hostess who cooked and served meals for soldiers, dignitaries and American Indian leaders alike. Councils with local Native Americans were frequently held in her home, and their encampments set up on her front lawn.

Harrison was well-educated for a woman of her era, having attended the best schools for girls in the northeast. In fact, she was the first presidential spouse with a documented formal education and had a lifelong love of learning. An avid reader, she especially enjoyed any political journals and newspapers she could find on the frontier.

Before she could arrive in Washington to join her husband at the White House, President Harrison died on April 4, 1841. It was just one month after he became gravely ill after his one-hour and forty-minute inaugural address delivered in the blustery March wind.

Children and education were central to Anna Harrison's life. On the frontier, she educated her children herself. She and her husband started the Jefferson Academy (named for Thomas Jefferson) in Vincennes, Indiana, in 1801, for students eight to 17 years of age. The school charged $15 a year in tuition, but Native Americans were allowed to attend free of charge. Upon moving to North Bend, Ohio, the Harrisons started a school there as well. The reverse of the Anna Harrison First Spouse $10 Gold Coin depicts Mrs. Harrison sharing her passion for teaching with her students.

2009 - First Lady Letitia Tyler, 1841–1842

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First Lady Letitia Tyler $10 coin obverse

Letitia Tyler

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First Lady Letitia Tyler $10 coin reverse

A genteel Southern lady, Letitia Christian Tyler was content to stay in the background tending to her children and household. She supervised the Tyler family's 1,200 acre plantation, Greenway, in Charles City County, Virginia, for many years.

Although Letitia Tyler was never able to assume the normal social duties of a First Lady because of her poor health, behind the scenes, she directed the entertaining and household management of the White House. She made only one public appearance while First Lady, at the wedding of their daughter, Elizabeth. She informally received important visitors, including authors Charles Dickens and Washington Irving, and enjoyed discussing current events with them. She died in September 1842, eight months after her daughter's wedding.

Letitia Tyler's success in running their plantation gave husband John Tyler the freedom to pursue his political career. The reverse of the coin depicts Mrs. Tyler and her two oldest children behind their Cedar Grove Plantation, with the plantation building and fields visible in the distance. The Tylers were married here in 1813.

2009 - First Lady Julia Tyler, 1844–1845

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First Lady Julia Tyler $10 coin obverse

Julia Tyler

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First Lady Julia Tyler $10 coin reverse

The young and vivacious Julia Gardiner Tyler took Washington by storm with her wedding to widower President John Tyler on June 26, 1844. Although she was First Lady for only eight months, she quickly made her mark. James Sanderson's song "Hail to the Chief" had previously been played in various settings to honor American Presidents, but Julia Tyler was the first presidential spouse to request that it be played specifically to announce the President's arrival on official occasions. It's a tradition that continues to this day.

Julia Tyler worked hard to support her husband's political agenda, especially for the annexation of Texas. Julia used her considerable charm to persuade Members of Congress, a Supreme Court justice and cabinet members to support the cause. After Congress voted in favor of annexation and the President signed the resolution, he handed the gold pen he used to Julia in honor of her efforts. She proudly attached the pen to her necklace and wore it on formal occasions afterwards.

Julia Tyler introduced the polka at a White House social event, making it a national craze. The reverse depicts President and Mrs. Tyler together at a White House Ball.

2009 - First Lady Sarah Polk, 1845–1849

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First Lady Sarah Polk $10 coin obverse

Sarah Polk

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First Lady Sarah Polk $10 coin reverse

Sarah Childress Polk received an education traditionally available only to the most privileged young women of her time. When she was 14, Sarah and her sister undertook a month-long, 500-mile journey on horseback from Tennessee to North Carolina to attend the Moravian Female Academy, one of the best girls' schools in the country. Her studies went well beyond the traditional education young girls received to include Greek and Roman literature and world history. These academic pursuits provided her with a worldview that enhanced her political discussions.

Sarah devoted her married life to husband James K. Polk's political career, organizing his campaigns, writing speeches, handling his correspondence and developing a network of valuable political friendships. She read major newspapers and magazines, and marked articles she felt most important, leaving them on a chair outside the President's office for him to read.

As First Lady, Sarah Polk instituted many changes in the White House. She and her husband opened the White House twice a week to all visitors for evening receptions and personally greeted those who attended. In the summer, the Marine Corps Band played once a week on the lawn for visitors. She also oversaw the refurbishment of the White House, including the installation of gas lighting.

Mrs. Polk served as President Polk's private secretary in the White House, the only First Lady to have acted in that capacity. The reverse depicts her working in the White House in support of her husband's career.

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