Feb 14, 2006

Presidential passions

A new book, My Dear President: Letters Between Presidents and Their Wives, contains never before published letters exchanged by presidential spouses.
"I have the Blues all the time," a love-struck Ulysses S. Grant told his sweetie, Julia Dent, writing from the Mexican War in 1848 two decades before becoming president.

"I feel the pulses of your love answering to mine," Chester Arthur wrote to his fiancee in New York, Ellen Lewis Herndon, during an 1858 Republican Party mission in Missouri.

Arthur succeeded Garfield in 1881, but his wife died before he was even elected vice president.

Such power couples enjoyed what might be politely called quality time.

Harry S. Truman alluded to one such encounter after Bess had visited him in July 1923, 22 years before he became president, when he was at military training camp in Kansas.

"I, of course, acted like a man brute," he wrote in a somewhat sheepish tone soon after she left.

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