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A Companion to First Ladies

A Companion to First Ladies

Katherine A.S. Sibley (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-73225-0

Apr 2016, Wiley-Blackwell

760 pages


This volume explores more than two centuries of literature on the First Ladies, from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, providing the first historiographical overview of these important women in U.S. history.
  • Underlines the growing scholarly appreciation of the First Ladies and the evolution of the position since the 18th century
  • Explores the impact of these women not only on White House responsibilities, but on elections, presidential policies, social causes, and in shaping their husbands’ legacies
  • Brings the First Ladies into crisp historiographical focus, assessing how these women and their contributions have been perceived both in popular literature and scholarly debate
  • Provides concise biographical treatments for each First Lady

Notes on Contributors viii

Acknowledgements xiv

Introduction 1
Katherine A. S. Sibley

1 Martha Washington 6
Robert P. Watson

2 Abigail Adams: The Life and the Biographers 20
Margaret A. Hogan

3 Martha Jefferson Randolph, First Daughter 38
Billy L. Wayson

4 James and Dolley Madison and the Quest for Unity 59
Catherine Allgor

5 Elizabeth Monroe 75
Finn Pollard

6 A Monarch in a Republic: Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams and Court Culture in Early Washington City 89
Catherine Allgor, Margery M. Heffron and Amanda Mathews Norton

7 Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson: A Reluctant First Lady 111
Christina Mune

8 Angelica Singleton Van Buren, First Lady for a Widower 129
John F. Marszalek

9 The Ladies of Tippecanoe, and Tyler Too 142
Christopher J. Leahy and Sharon Williams Leahy

10 Sarah Polk: Ideas of Her Own 159
Valerie Palmer-Mehta

11 Margaret Taylor, Abigail Fillmore, and Jane Pierce: Three Antebellum Presidents’ Ladies 176
Elizabeth Lorelei Thacker-Estrada

12 Harriet Rebecca Lane Johnston 197
Thomas J. Balcerski

13 Mary Todd Lincoln 214
William D. Pederson

14 Eliza McCardle Johnson and Julia Dent Grant 230
Pamela K. Sanfilippo

15 Lucy Webb Hayes, Lucretia Rudolph Garfield, and Mary Arthur McElroy 247
Benjamin T. Arrington

16 Rose Cleveland, Frances Cleveland, Caroline Harrison, Mary McKee 265
Merry Ellen Scofield

17 Ida McKinley: A Life of Contrasts 283
Louie P. Gallo

18 Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt: The Victorian Modern First Lady 298
Catherine Forslund

19 Helen Herron Taft: The Forgotten Impact of a Memorable First Lady 320
Rafaele Fierro

20 Ellen Axson Wilson 339
Lisa M. Burns

21 Edith Wilson: The First Lady in Charge 357
Barbara Klaczynska

22 Florence Kling Harding: Celebrity and Activist 379
Katherine A. S. Sibley

23 Grace Coolidge 404
Teri Finneman

24 The Historiography of Lou Henry Hoover 423
Nancy Beck Young

25 Anna Eleanor Roosevelt: Her Life before and during the White House Years 439
Maurine H. Beasley

26 Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the World 459
Maurine H. Beasley

27 Elizabeth Virginia “Bess” Wallace Truman 476
Michael J. Devine

28 Overrated Pleasures and Underrated Treasures: Mamie Eisenhower, a Bridge between First Lady Archetypes 492
Anthony Rama Maravillas

29 Jacqueline Kennedy 503
Katherine Jellison

30 Lady Bird Johnson 517
Lisa M. Burns

31 An Unlikely First Lady: Pat Nixon 535
Mary C. Brennan

32 Betty Ford: “When Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary” 552
Myra G. Gutin

33 Eleanor Rosalynn Smith Carter 569
Kristin L. Ahlberg

34 Nancy Reagan 585
Jason Roberts

35 Barbara Pierce Bush: Choosing a Complete Life, I: 1925–1988 604
Diana B. Carlin

36 Barbara Pierce Bush: Choosing a Complete Life, II: 1988–2015 621
Diana B. Carlin

37 Hillary Rodham Clinton 635
Janette Kenner Muir

38 Laura Welch Bush: Strength and Serenity in Turbulent Times 653
Anita McBride

39 First Lady Michelle Obama: The American Dream Endures, I 677
Nancy Kegan Smith and Diana B. Carlin

40 First Lady Michelle Obama: The American Dream Endures, II 696
Diana B. Carlin and Nancy Kegan Smith

Index 716