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Nation: Back at the Mansion …

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With the exception of Nelson Rockefeller, most of those oath-taking Governors had at their sides first ladies who could be expected to make a statehouse into a home—and pick up a few votes on the side. Among them:

Michigan’s Lenore LaFount Romney, 52, daughter of a federal radio commissioner under Calvin Coolidge. When Lenore moved to New York to study acting, George Romney, then working in Washington, courted her on weekends. By1930, she was a bit player for MGM, appeared in movies with Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow. She was on the verge of signing a three-year contract—but George signed her up first. They were married in 1931, and Lenore is now the mother of four. When she gets settled in the Governor’s mansion, Lenore wants to make “a real breakthrough in human relations by bringing people together as people—just like George has enunciated. Women have a very interesting role in this, and I don’t expect to be a society leader holding a series of meaningless teas.”

Nebraska’s Maxine Elizabeth Hepp Morrison, 47, was once a department store model in Grand Island, is now the best-dressed and most-talked-about first lady in the state’s history. She has a well-trained soprano voice, has sung (Indian Love Call, Kiss Me Again, I’m Falling in Love with Someone) at civic, social and political gatherings all over the state. Married since 1936, she met Frank Morrison on a blind date at a rodeo; a bit before, she had been tipped off by a fortuneteller who told her that “a tall, dark and handsome gentleman will marry you; there will be three children.” There are.

New Hampshire’s Anna Mclaughlin King, 44, is a tall, attractive, Brooklyn-born brunette who was studying home economics at New York’s Columbia University when she met John King in 1941. She was a dietitian at Grasmere’s Moore General Hospital when her husband ran for Governor, quit her job to help organize women volunteers for the campaign, filled in for him on several speaking engagements. An avid reader and ardent gardener, she has an intelligent grasp of problems, but foresees no great change in her way of life now that she is the Governor’s wife. New Hampshire has no governor’s mansion, so official social life will be limited. Says she simply: “I will just be a good wife to the Governor.”

Massachusetts’ Barbara (“Toni”) Welch Gibbons Peabody, 40, got her political schooling from her father, Morris A. Gibbons, who has been a member of Bermuda’s colonial parliament for 40 years. Says “Chub” Peabody’s cousin, Rosemary de Suze: “Toni is a marvelous cook, she is a marvelous seamstress, a marvelous mother and a marvelous wife. She will tackle anything and do it well.” Sniffs a Boston society editor: “Chub would never have made it without her.” He met Toni early in 1944, when he was stationed at a submarine base in Bermuda. Toni, a green-eyed blonde, was a U.S.O. volunteer. They got married six months later. When Chub went back to Harvard, Toni settled down to become wife and mother (three children), did not relish his going into politics but worked hard for him nevertheless. A woman of enormous energy (“I can’t bottle it up”), she bustled everywhere, pushed doorbells, inaugurated “Coffee with the Peabodys” in Boston parking lots, added “Lick the Opposition” Popsicles for the kids. When a milliner asked her why she went around hatless, Toni hurried away and bought 15 hats—just to prove that she was an ardent supporter of Massachusetts’ millinery industry. She is an unabashed Massachusetts booster. At the inaugural dinner, for example, her menu consisted entirely of Massachusetts-produced foods: baked Essex clams, Suffolk celery hearts, roast. Cape Cod duckling and cranberries, mashed Middlesex squash, Norfolk tomatoes, hearts of Boston lettuce, Parker House rolls, and Toll House cookies. “There are so many things a woman can do that need to be done,” Toni says. “Jackie Kennedy showed the way for the rest of us. Think of all the history here in Massachusetts and our wonderful museums. These are the things a first lady can get attention focused on.” While first ladyship will bring new opportunities, she does not propose to relinquish one particular Peabody tradition: tea for Toni in bed, proffered gallantly each morning by her husband, who then cooks breakfast for the children. Chub has been performing this duty ever since the two were married.

For a while it seemed that one first lady might not make it to her husband’s inauguration. Mary Chamberlin Scranton, 44, whose husband Bill assumes office in Pennsylvania on Jan. 15, is an outgoing, athletic type. Last week at Elk Mountain, near Forest City, Pa., the Scrantons and their children went skiing. Mary and a friend, Lawrence Coughlin, took a chair lift to the summit, got stranded near the top. Down below, unaware of his wife’s predicament, Bill Scranton began searching in vain. At length, Mary and Coughlin came skiing down to the lodge. They had been stopped cold in the chair lift about 25 ft. above the terrain in a 40-m.p.h., — 10° F. wind. After half an hour, rescuers got them down by tying two ladders together and raising them to the chair. Deeply chilled, Mary Scranton gulped down hot coffee, went home, and returned to ski another day.

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