Jane Hadley Barkley

Second Lady of the United States from 1949 to 1953

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

Jane Hadley Barkley
Second Lady of the United States
In role
November 18, 1949 – January 20, 1953
Vice PresidentAlben W. Barkley
Preceded byBess Truman
Succeeded byPat Nixon
Personal details
Elizabeth Jane Rucker

(1911-09-23)September 23, 1911
Keytesville, Missouri, U.S.
DiedSeptember 6, 1956(1956-09-06) (aged 44)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Carleton Hadley (1931-1944, his death; 2 children)
Alben W. Barkley (1949-1956, his death)

Early life


Barkley was born in Keytesville, Missouri. Her father was a lawyer. Her mother was a pianist who had studied in Europe. She married her first husband, Carleton Hadley, in 1931. She met him at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He became a prominent railroad attorney. They had two daughters. He died in 1944 at the age of 42.

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.[1][2] He was 71 and she was 37. 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 Grand Old Party presidential nominee Wendell Willkie. When her milkman said his favorite president was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, she left a note saying, "No Willkie, no milkie".

Jane Barkley (far left), next to Alben Barkley

After Barkley's death, Jane Barkley started work as a secretary at George Washington University. Mrs. Barkley published a memoir in 1954 with Vanguard publishers of New York. It was called I Married the Veep. When she died in 1956 from a heart attack, she was still working at the university.[3]


  1. "The Merry Widower", Time, August 22, 1949
  2. "The Veep Yields", Time, November 7, 1949
  3. "Milestones", Time, September 18, 1964