Henrietta Boggs

Henrietta Boggs (born May 6, 1918 Spartanburg, South Carolina) is an author, journalist, and activist. She served as First Lady of Costa Rica from 1948 to 1949 in the years immediately following the Costa Rican Civil War. She turned 100 in May 2018.[1]

Henrietta Boggs
Henrietta Boggs Panel Discussion 2014.png
Henrietta Boggs speaking at a panel discussion in 2014
First Lady of Costa Rica
In office
PresidentJose Figueres Ferrer
Preceded byEtelvina Ramírez Montiel
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
Born (1918-05-06) May 6, 1918 (age 102)
Spartanburg, South Carolina, U.S.
Spouse(s)Jose Figueres Ferrer (m. 1941–1954)
Hugh MacGuire
ChildrenJosé Martí Figueres, Muni Figueres
ParentsMeta Long & Ralph Emerson Boggs


Boggs was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She is the daughter of Meta Long and Ralph Emerson Boggs, a Presbyterian elder. In 1923, her family moved to Birmingham, Alabama,[2] where her father started a construction business.

After completing high school, Boggs attended Birmingham–Southern College where she studied English[3] and was a reporter for the student newspaper.[2] While on a summer vacation, Boggs went to visit her aunt and uncle, who had retired in Costa Rica. While there she met and would later marry José Figueres Ferrer.[4]

Figueres would go on to lead the opposition forces in the 1948 Costa Rican Civil War, leading a successful democratic revolution against the government, abolished the army, and catapulted Boggs to the role of first lady. From that vantage point, she successfully pushed for giving Costa Rican women the right to vote.[5] Over time, Boggs realized that marriage and life in politics were incompatible, given her independent spirit in what were still very much a patriarchal society. Boggs divorced Figueres in 1954, and she took their children to New York City, where she worked for Costa Rica's delegation to the United Nations while pursuing her lifelong passion of writing.[5]

Her return to Alabama in 1969 came with a second marriage to Dr. Hugh MacGuire and her co-founding of River Region Living, the city magazine that she would later sell, but for which she still writes to this day.

Documentary filmEdit

Her 1992 memoir of her years in Costa Rica, Married to a Legend: My Life with Don Pepe, is popular among readers in both the United States and Costa Rica, and is the subject of the documentary First Lady of the Revolution.[6] The film was produced by Spark Media, a documentary film company headquartered in Washington, D.C.[7]


  1. ^ Día, Franklin Arroyo Periodista egresado de la Universidad Federada Integra el equipo de Nuestro Tema de La Teja Trabajó en el Periódico Al; Eka, corresponsal del diaro Marca para Centroamérica y editor de la revista TYT del Grupo. "Ancianos papudos son bien chineados en una residencia de lujo". La Teja, Grupo Nación.
  2. ^ a b "A Revolutionary First Lady". Weld: Birmingham's Newspaper. August 24, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  3. ^ "A lady from Birmingham, became a First Lady of Costa Rica and is now living in Montgomery, Alabama | Alabama Pioneers". alabamapioneers.com. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  4. ^ Boggs, Henrietta (1992). Married to a Legend: Don Pepe. Middletown, DE: Amazon.com. ISBN 9781541034914.
  5. ^ a b "Discovering Henrietta: The Alabama woman who became Costa Rica's first lady – The Tico Times". ticotimes.net. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  6. ^ "How an Alabama woman became the First Lady of Costa Rica". AL.com. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  7. ^ DeFore, John (December 8, 2016). "'First Lady of the Revolution': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 10, 2018.

External linksEdit