Julia Gardiner-Tyler: 20 Things to Know about America's Most Colorful First Lady

The Gardiners not only had a mansion, they had their own private island. Wikimedia Commons.

19. She didn’t just have beauty, she had brains too, even if Julia did love music more than math

Very little is known about the future First Lady’s early years. However, given her family wealth and social status, it’s almost certain that she would have benefited from the best education money could buy from a very early age. Indeed, while the gender norms of the time would have meant she would have been expected to marry well and be content with life as a dutiful wife, she would still have been expected to be intelligent or at least well-read – if only so that she could later hold her own in polite conversations at society balls or other elitist events.

What is known is that, from the ages of 15 to 17, Julia attended the prestigious Madame N.D. Chagaray Institute for Young Ladies in New York City. For two years, she was a boarding student here, with the city’s finest tutors ensuing their young charges had a good understanding of many different subjects. So, as well as being tutored in arithmetic, Julia also studied modern languages, most notably French, literature and ancient history. Above all, it was said that she excelled in music and composition – both subjects for which she would retain a life-long passion.