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Varina Banks Davis Edit Profile

also known as The First Lady of the Confederate States of America; Howell

First Lady , writer

Varina Banks Howell Davis was the second wife of the politician Jefferson Davis, who became president of the Confederate States of America. She served as the First Lady of the new nation at the capital in Richmond, Virginia, although she was ambivalent about the war. Smart and educated, with family in both the North and South, she had unconventional views for her public role, although she supported slavery and states' rights.


Varina Banks Howell was born at Natchez, Mississippi, the daughter of William Burr Howell and Margaret Louisa Kempe.


Varina was sent to Madame Greenland's School, a prestigious academy for young ladies in Philadelphia. Varina returned to Natchez after one year, probably due to the family's inability to afford further tuition, and was privately tutored by Judge George Winchester, a Harvard graduate and family friend.


  • book

    • Jefferson Davis, A Memoir


Wiiliam Burr Howell

Her father, who fought in the War of 1812

Margaret (Kempe)

Varina Anne - United States

Jefferson Davis

In 1843, she met Jefferson Davis at a Christmas party and quickly fell in love with him. He was a handsome older man, a wealthy plantation owner, widower, and hero of the Mexican War (1846–1848). In 1845 they married.