Nancy Reagan's close ties to Chicago

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -- First Lady Nancy Reagan died over the weekend in her Los Angeles home, she was 94-years-old. Her connections to Chicago started at a young age when she moved to the city with her mother and her stepfather.

Nancy was born in New York as Anne Frances Robbins.  She moved to Chicago when her mother married Dr. Loyal Davis - a top neurosurgeon in the city. He eventually formally adopted her and she changed her name to Nancy Davis.

“I think living in Chicago it must have been a really sort of heavy experience for her she really enjoyed it, she made friends and she was very social,” said the Executive Vice President and Chief Historian Russell Lewis with the Chicago History Museum.

In the fifth grade Nancy started going to the prestigious "Girls Latin School of Chicago." A school spokesperson says she was a wonderful example of grace and poise and was very supportive of the school.

As a student she was involved in student government, played field hockey and performed on stage. When Nancy was a senior she had the lead role in a play - which seemed to foreshadow her most famous role. The name of the play was "First Lady."

She left Illinois for college in Massachusetts, but returned to Chicago after graduation. 

“Came back in 1943 and worked in Chicago for a couple of years at Marshall Field’s as a clerk and she did some nursing aid work and then she finally found work as an actress,” said Lewis.

She then eventually moved to California to be an actress, met Ronald Reagan and would become the wife of the 40th president of the United States.

“This is a tragic loss for our nation she was a wonderful First Lady,” said Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. “She was a pillar of strength for her husband Ronald Reagan, one of the greatest American presidents in U.S. history.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”

The school shared with us a quote from the 1939 yearbook about the First Lady:
A quote from the 1939 yearbook about Mrs. Reagan:                                                              
“Nancy’s social perfection is a constant source of amazement. She is invariably becomingly and suitably dressed. She can talk, and even better listen intelligently, to anyone from her little kindergarten partner of the Halloween party, to the grandmother of one of her friends. Even in the seventh grade, when we rst began to mingle with the male of the species, Nancy was completely poised. While the rest of us huddled self-consciously on one side of the room, casting surreptitious glances at the men, aged thirteen, opposite us, Nancy actually crossed the yawning emptiness separating the two groups and serenely began a conversation – with a boy.”