This is MPB's 900th post!!! Can you believe that?!
When Audrey Met Alice tells the story of what happens when a mostly well-behaved First Daughter finds Alice Roosevelt’s hidden diary and is inspired to “eat up the world” with some Alice-like antics of her own. While writing the book, I did a lot of research on the ways former First Daughters have gotten into trouble while in the White House. Here are some of my favorite examples of First Daughters behaving badly:
Nellie Grant spent her teenage years in the White House. On the way home from an official visit to England, she started a shipboard romance with an English singer, who she then married in a lavish White House ceremony. (President Ulysses Grant didn’t approve because of Nellie’s young age and the singer’s sketchy personality, so he delayed the wedding.)
Alice Roosevelt used to practice shooting her pistols by targeting the Victorian glass greenhouses on the White House grounds (in her defense, they were schedule to be torn down as part of the ongoing renovations). Her sister, Ethel, liked to climb out of her bedroom window to escape the White House.
Luci Baines Johnson made national headlines when she got “pinned” to a boy at seventeen—nobody could figure out if it meant she was engaged or not. Strangers would scold her about the B grades she got.
Susan Ford for ditched her Secret Service detail for a joy ride around DC, only coming back because one of her agents was holding on to her tickets for a Hall & Oates concert that night. Her senior prom was held at the White House (and the pre-party was on a yacht in the Potomac). And when she was a little older, Susan ended up marrying one of her father’s Secret Service agents.
Amy Carter got into trouble for bringing a book to the table at an important state dinner. She put up a tree house on the South Lawn, and she liked to roller-skate around the East Room.
Chelsea Clinton sneaked into the inauguration wearing a too-short skirt, which she hid from First Lady Hillary under a long coat, until it was too late to change. The Secret Service also chaperoned her dates.
Jenna Bush was notoriously skilled at running red lights to shake off her security detail. She and Barbara made national news for getting underage drinking tickets while their father was in the White House (in the girls’ defense, they were college students on campus).