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Jane Hadley Barkley
Jane Barkley.jpg
Barkley in 1950
Second Lady of the United States
In role
November 18, 1949 – January 20, 1953
Vice President Alben W. Barkley
Preceded by Bess Truman
Succeeded by Pat Nixon
Personal details
Elizabeth Jane Rucker

(1911-09-23)September 23, 1911
Keytesville, Missouri, U.S.
Died September 6, 1964(1964-09-06) (aged 52)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting place Valhalla Cemetery
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Other political
Republican (formerly)
Carleton Hadley
(m. 1931; died 1944)

(m. 1949; died 1956)
Children 2 (with Hadley)

Elizabeth Jane Barkley (née Rucker, formerly Hadley; September 23, 1911 – September 6, 1964), also commonly known as Jane Hadley Barkley, was the second lady of the United States from 1949 to 1953, as the wife of Vice President Alben W. Barkley.

Early life

She was born in Keytesville, Missouri; her father was a lawyer and her mother a pianist who had studied in Europe. She married her first husband, Carleton Hadley, a lawyer, in 1931. Hadley, whom she met at Washington University in St. Louis, became a prominent railroad attorney. They had two daughters before his death in 1945 at 42.

Carleton Sturtevant Hadley (Dec. 23, 1902 in Lowell, Massachusetts – Feb. 16, 1945 St. Louis, Missouri) came from the prominent Massachusetts Hadley family. He earned a B.A. (1923), LL.M. (1927), and M.A. (1929) from Washington University. He married Rucker in 1931, and had two children. He was a revered attorney nationally and a prominent member of the St. Louis Republican Party, and died from a heart attack aged 42 in St. Louis on February 16, 1945.

Marriage to Alben Barkley

She married Vice President Alben Barkley, a widower, on November 18, 1949. She was his second wife, and he was her second husband. At the time of marriage Barkley was 33 years her senior. He was 71 years old and she was 38. Barkley's first wife, Dorothy, had died in 1947. Until her courtship with Barkley, Jane Rucker Hadley had been a devoted Republican. In 1940, Mrs. Hadley was working in the St. Louis office of GOP presidential nominee Wendell Willkie. When her milkman expressed fondness for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, she left a note saying, "No Willkie, no milkie".

Photograph of President Truman in the Oval Office, shaking hands with Vice President Alben Barkley as he presents him... - NARA - 200220
Jane Barkley (far left), next to Alben Barkley

After meeting the young widow in May 1949 at a party in Washington, the Vice President courted her ardently. He was not deterred by her politics or a long-distance relationship. The Vice President began making regular commercial airline stops in St. Louis. Their courtship captured national attention. She resided in a seven-room apartment in St. Louis's prestigious Central West End neighborhood, near both Washington University and the renowned Forest Park. On October 30, 1949, they announced their engagement.

They married at St. John's Methodist Church in St. Louis on November 18. The ceremony was attended by 33 family members and one vice presidential aide, along with about 60 reporters. Outside, an estimated 5,000 people cheered the couple as they departed in a black convertible the groom gave as a wedding gift. When asked about his wife's politics, the vice president said, "She got swept off her feet by Willkie, but now she's back in the fold."

Her husband retired from the Vice Presidency in January 1953. He was elected for another term in the U.S. Senate in 1954, serving until his death in 1956.


After Barkley's death, Jane Barkley accepted a position as a secretary at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Barkley published a memoir in 1958 with New York's Vanguard Press, entitled I Married the Veep. She died on September 6, 1964 from a heart attack at the age of 52, and was still employed at George Washington University.

Barkley was buried at Valhalla Cemetery in Bel-Nor, Missouri.

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