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Lucy Hayes

The front of the Lucy Hayes coin shows this First Lady’s portrait.

Lucy Ware Webb was born on August 28, 1831, in Chillocothe, Ohio.  While she was attending Wesleyan Female College in Cincinnati, she met Rutherford B. "Rud" Hayes.

Lucy and Rud married in 1852 and lived in Cincinnati until the Civil War.  The future President grew to share his wife's strong position against slavery.

In 1877, President Hayes and the first lady celebrated their silver (25th) wedding anniversary at the White House.  White flowers decorated the East Room, where the couple repeated their marriage vows beneath a large floral wedding ball.

As anniversary gifts to one another, they exchanged portrait cameos (small carvings often worn as jewelry).  Many of the guests had attended the couple's original wedding in Cincinnati.

Mrs. Hayes was part of a movement against drinking alcohol (called "temperance"), and alcohol was banned at the White House during her husband’s administration.  For that reason, some gave her the nickname "Lemonade Lucy" after the Hayeses left the White House.

Design on Reverse

The back of the coin shows Lucy Hayes applauding for two children rolling Easter eggs.

In 1878, the annual Easter Egg Roll was first held at the White House.  The event was not new, but it had been held at the U.S. Capitol Building before that year.  When President and Mrs. Hayes learned that the Capitol grounds could no longer be used for the event, they began the tradition of hosting it on the White House grounds, where it is still held today.

Staff members, parents, and other onlookers enjoyed watching the children roll both their hard-boiled eggs and themselves down the sloping south lawn.  The Washington Evening Star reported that children "rolled eggs down the terraces back of the Mansion, and played among the shrubbery to their hearts’ content."

The newspaper estimated that "several hundred" children were at this gathering.  The design represents Lucy Hayes helping to host the first White House Easter Egg Roll.


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