After a honeymoon in Europe, Angelica and Abraham Van Buren returned to Washington and the White House. The beautiful and charming Angelica quickly stepped in to help her father-in-law as White House hostess -- the same role that her patron, Dolley Madison, had once filled with notable success for an earlier widower-president, Thomas Jefferson.
Angelica Van Buren's White House experience was darkened by her illness after her baby daughter was born and by the little girl's death when she was only a few months old, but she was clearly an asset to her father-in-law's administration. As one newspaper put it, she was considered a "lady of rare accomplishments, very modest yet perfectly easy and graceful in her manners and free and vivacious in her conversation ... universally admired."
Angelica may not have been officially the first lady, but she played an important role that several first ladies have imitated: using their social skills to help a troubled presidency.