Linda Witt
December 29, 1975 12:00 PM

Do the eyes have it? Grace Lee knows

Harry Truman advised presidential aspirants that if they couldn’t stand the heat to get out of the kitchen. But for President’s wives, the White House offers a chance to get out of the kitchen only in exchange for taking more heat. There are more than a dozen declared or coy contenders for Jerry Ford’s job. But who wants to replace Betty? Even if a First Lady hopeful weathers the campaign—a stormy enough prospect that helped keep Ted and Joan Kennedy out of the race—the woman faces four unnerving years of public display. To determine what style a new First Lady might bring to the White House—and to preview problems she may have—PEOPLE’s Linda Witt visited Grace Lee, a practitioner of the several-thousand-year-old Oriental art of physiognomy, or face-reading. Born in Hong Kong, Grace carried on the ancient family skill when she immigrated to Chicago. That was just three years ago, and she still reads Chinese newspapers and is unassimilated into the U.S. political scene. So Grace had never seen or heard of the candidates’ wives whose photographs she scrutinized to make these appraisals of the faces and fortunes of some potential First Ladies.

Ella Udall

Fascinated with politics, Ella first worked on the staff of Arizona Congressman Mo Udall, and, in 1968, married him. (He has six children by his first marriage; she has a son by hers.) Now 46, she’s earning her nickname of “Tiger” by stalking voters for Udall’s grassroots campaign.

I cannot find anything bad about this woman. She has such warmth and such honest eyes I would like to meet her. Her mind and emotions are perfectly balanced. There’s no part of her face too long or too short. The uneven hairline shows she struggled for independence when young; her forehead indicates a strong social conscience, perhaps in charities. She’s a good mother and a good wife. She’s successful and happy because she gives so much to others. But she does not care about fame or fortune.

Cornelia Wallace

An outspoken and tough-minded niece of an earlier Alabama governor, “Kiss-in’ Jim” Folsom, Cornelia helped George Wallace regain his health after his near-assassination and still maintains considerable political clout. At 36, she’s 20 years younger than her husband and has two sons by a failed first marriage.

The broken wrinkles near this woman’s eyebrows indicate that she had a complicated family problem during her 20s. But her tightly knit eyebrows mean that she’s confident, self-aware and stable. The shape of her lips shows she doesn’t try to hide her feelings and is a good talker. Whatever she tries between the ages of 35 and 40 will be successful. Her dominant cheekbones suggest that she has great influence over her husband and will be able to bring him great success. But she should relax more.

Nancy Reagan

A poised, patrician-born size 6 who often makes best-dressed lists, Nancy, 52, is an adroit political wife and the most powerful influence on Ronald Reagan. Originally an actress, Nancy Davis still dreams of returning to civilian life. She’s the mother of Reagan’s third and fourth children—the first two are by previous wife Jane Wyman.

Look at the indirect focus of her eyes; they do not match her expression. She doesn’t care about what others feel and may not be open about her own feelings. Perhaps she is fearful she will be found out. I don’t like to say negative things, because that is not Chinese face-reading, but she can say one thing while thinking of doing something different. The bridge of her nose is strong, and unless her husband treats her well she will seek revenge. The long arch of her brow indicates artistic talent. She is a vital person and will remain active into old age. But she is out for herself.

Rosalynn Carter

High school sweethearts from the Georgia hamlet of Plains (where her father was a small farmer), Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter married after college. As the governor’s wife, she worked with the mentally retarded and landscaped the official mansion. At 48, she campaigns vigorously on her own speaking schedule.

She is a traditional, old-fashioned woman from a very nice family—but not a wealthy one. See the fine contours of her face and the quality of her skin. She’s well-educated and well brought up. The glitter in her eyes shows she is able to enjoy a great deal, but she is delicate and has simple tastes. She cannot mix with everyone and must choose her environment carefully. She doesn’t like to compete. But she has the ability to make people around her try to protect her from anything uncomfortable.

LaDonna Harris

Fred Harris’s wife LaDonna, 44, is a Comanche Indian raised with English as a halting second language. Yet she helped to put Fred through college and. when he was Senator from Oklahoma, she plumped for a myriad of women’s and minority causes and is still probably the most public of the candidates’ wives.

Look at that huge, prominent forehead; she is physically a very active woman. Her round face shelters her features and protects them. Strong eyes and full cheeks indicate she will be able to achieve whatever she strives for. She will remain physically and mentally in good balance, but she must watch her blood pressure. Her nose seems too small for her face and could mean some problems in her immediate family. The shape of her lips shows she likes people and is a good helper to her husband. She has a very good love life.

Nellie Connally

Nellie Connally, 56, was at her husband’s side both when he was wounded during JFK’s assassination and when a jury acquitted him of bribe-taking. A Republican convert, he is reveling in the waiting game. Two of their three children run the family ranch in Texas, and they have four grandchildren.

This woman’s photograph is hard to read. The lines under her eyes are not clear, but their depth suggests that she feels insecure about her love life and her marriage. The Y-shaped wrinkle in her cheek could mean family or health problems for her at age 58 or 59. The line through the parenthood groove in her upper lip predicts that she will be lonely in her old age. Her children will leave her. I’m not able to tell anything more.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

The hardest-driving and most intellectual of the Kennedy sisters, Eunice, 54, was already a veteran of Jack’s campaigns when she married Sargent Shriver 22 years ago. Their run for the vice-presidency in 1972 failed, but Jerry Ford quipped, “If I had Eunice in my corner, I’d be President for life.” The Shrivers have five children.

All those folds on her face! She has been through a lot. Those little wrinkles around her eyes must mean she’s suffered many losses in her family. The eyebrows represent brothers and sisters. She has taken her losses very hard. Her relations to children are very sensitive, but her own will leave her during her 50s. The line through her lip groove shows she is a lonely woman, but her eyes are dominant. Her chin is finely structured. She’s tough, stubborn, and has much faith and courage.

Marvella Bayh

Ever since Birch Bayh was elected to the Senate in 1962, Marvella has been a respected strategist and policymaker. In 1964, she injured her back seriously in a small plane crash with Birch and Ted Kennedy. Now 42, with her only child in college, she has stopped campaigning to concentrate on her own causes like the American Cancer Society (she has had a mastectomy.)

She has a prominent nose and is very independent and wants to be boss herself. She should be careful in her relationship to her husband. Things she wouldn’t have said when she was younger she now throws out at him. The curve in her nose may mean she has chronic lower backaches. She should exercise. Her strong facial bones indicate that in her 40s her reputation will grow, but without great financial rewards. Full cheeks say that she’s able to tell people what to do and they do it.

Helen Hardin Jackson

When she landed the Senate’s “most eligible bachelor” 14 years ago, Helen Hardin was a 28-year-old divorcée, and “Scoop” Jackson was married to his job. They now have two children, 12 and 9. She’s an M.A. in literature from Columbia whose current cause is the problems of the elderly.

She could never be an actress—she has a strong will and can’t hide herself. She doesn’t suffer from stress because she expresses herself freely. The two lines radiating from the corners of her eyes mean she will be married twice in her life. The mole on her neck indicates she’s pessimistic. Her chin is round and well-balanced with her forehead, a sign of stability. Her children will remain close to her when she is old.

Muriel Humphrey

Hubert Humphrey may be the chronic campaigner, and Muriel, 63, has paid her family dues, stumping with him since his first presidential try in 1960. But in a recent turnaround, she declared herself a rest from the hustings for “the things I really care about—children, piano and needlepoint”—and more time at home in Waverly, Minn. She is a grandmother eight times from her four kids.

Her bones are stronger than her flesh; she is tough, durable. She knows how to handle difficult situations. Her prominent eyes and straight nose mean she is concerned for justice. Her mind cannot bear when things are not fair. She has a thinker’s eye sockets and likes large-scale work. Her hairline is that of a woman who has been prominent and well-known since middle age. Her happiness comes from her work in life rather than her own children. She has a strong, well-supported jaw. She will have a long, successful life.

Beryl Ann Bentsen

A strikingly handsome woman of 53 who once worked in New York as a Conover model, Beryl Ann Bentsen has left most of the politicking to her husband, Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, preferring to raise their three children and tend a relentless social life. She is a formidable tennis player and art collector (Lloyd is worth an estimated $2.3 million).

Her face shows no drive. She wants to stay put and take it easy. The small lines around her mouth indicate she requires more emotional attention than she receives. Her cheeks are puffy and tight—perhaps she has had a physical problem or even plastic surgery. [ED.: she has had none.] The triangle shape of her nostrils suggests that she was more adventuresome in her 40s. Now she is less active as a result. After she is 56 or 57 it will be better.

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