Political Role and Public Image
Edith P. Mayo, Lisa Kathleen Graddy
- Published to accompany the exhibition on America’s First Ladies at the Smithsonian Institution
- Part of Scala’s innovative 4-fold series
Since the time of Martha Washington, America’s First Ladies have fascinated the nation. Unelected and unpaid, they occupy a position of power defined as much by their own personalities and interests as by public perceptions and social expectations. Americans expect the first lady to be a symbol of home, family and womanhood. She is also a political partner, from the campaign trail to the White House receptions. Some support the presidency behind the scenes, others use their title to affect change in their own right. Whether remembered through history books or viewed as contemporaries, the women of the White House remain of interest long after they leave Washington. From the exuberant Dolly Madison and tragic Mary Todd Lincoln, to the humanitarian Eleanor Roosevelt and the politically ambitious Hilary Clinton, First Ladies celebrates the remarkable individuals who have occupied this demanding post.