EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Culture & Literature
First Ladies

First Ladies

First Ladies

Discover the lives of the incredible people who have served their country as First Lady of the United States. For more than 200 years, the wives of Presidents have been thrust into the spotlight on the world stage. While the First Lady is unelected and has no official powers, she has the ear of President and is his closest confidante. Some First Ladies have been happy just to play the perfect hostess, but others – such as Abigail Adams or Eleanor Roosevelt – made sure their voices were heard. Many First Ladies remain popular long after their husbands have left office, whether it be for their activism, careers, or even their fashion. The likes of Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama were catapulted to celebrity status, while Hillary Clinton went on to become a political powerhouse in her own right. This book reveals the challenges and accomplishments of America’s most influential First Ladies, from Martha Washington to Melania Trump.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
Frequency:
One-off
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in this issue

11 min.
first ladies through history

MARTHA WASHINGTON POTUS: GEORGE WASHINGTON As the very first First Lady, Martha didn’t actually have an official title at all. Nor did she particularly want the role, thought she set her doubts aside to become an able and respected ally of George Washington. Martha hosted many social events at their homes in the temporary capitals of New York and Philadelphia. 1789-1797 ABIGAIL ADAMS POTUS: JOHN ADAMS Unlike her predecessor, Abigail Adams was so deeply involved in the political world that she was known as Mrs President. She was the first FLOTUS to live at the White House and proved to be an able spin doctor, planting favourable stories whenever her husband’s popularity waned. 1797-1801 MARTHA JEFFERSON POTUS: THOMAS JEFFERSON Martha Jefferson died 19 years before her husband became President. The couple’s eldest daughter, Patsy, performed the duties expected of First…

4 min.
white house wisdom

The job of First Lady comes with no salary and no power. As wife of the President of the United States the FLOTUS, as she is known, hasn’t been elected and wields no official political influence. Of course, that’s how it’s always been, but despite those potential obstacles, First Ladies through the ages have certainly been able to make their presence felt in a variety of ways. There are a number of qualities that a successful First Lady needs to possess. A thick skin is one of them, along with the ability to make light work of her duties as a social hostess to everyone from visiting monarchs to members of the public of all ages. She should choose a few uncontroversial causes to champion and be ready to bite her…

12 min.
being first lady

In the United States of America, a country which has yet to elect a woman as President, the First Lady has traditionally stood beside her husband as the very model of the loyal, unquestioning political spouse. Unelected and unpaid, she is the human face of her husband’s administration and over the centuries, what was once a purely social role has evolved far beyond its original parameters. A position that was initially rooted in the world of domestic living and hostess duties grew and developed sometimes in line with the prevailing rights and image of women, sometimes ahead of them. From Martha Washington to Melania Trump, the role as First Lady has endured not just as the quintessential example of spousal or familial loyalty, but of what a woman can achieve…

1 min.
evolution of the first lady role

1789 Martha Washington becomes the first FLOTUS, though without the title. 1797 Abigail Adams becomes the first FLOTUS to live in the White House. 1801 Martha Jefferson becomes the first non-spousal First Lady. 1810 Dolley Madison suggests the now traditional Easter Egg Roll! 1877 ‘First Lady’ becomes a widely used term for the President’s wife. 1909 Helen Taft begins the FLOTUS tradition of donating her inauguration ball gown to the Smithsonian. 1929 Lou Hoover becomes the first FLOTUS to broadcast to America. 1956 Mamie Eisenhower begins the tradition of a Halloween White House. 1961 Jackie Kennedy chooses the White House’s first Christmas theme. 2017 Melania Trump breaks tradition by not moving into the White House until 5 months after inauguration.…

1 min.
first ladies of fashion

From what she wears to the inauguration to her choice of clothes for visits overseas or to schools, disaster-hit areas or simply social calls, the First Lady’s wardrobe is always the subject of fevered media scrutiny. In fact, it can make or break her popularity. This focus on fashion goes right back to Martha Washington who loved English textiles, and had a passion for English shoes. Yet this love had to be sacrificed for the political sake of her husband and she was encouraged to transfer her allegiances to American manufacturers, and make sure that everyone knew it. This focus on American fashion didn’t end there and for Jackie Kennedy, arguably the most fashion-forward of all First Ladies, the European designers she had adored before she got to the White House…

1 min.
the first lady’s feet

Martha Washington might not have sought political influence or fame, but one thing she couldn’t get enough of was shoes. When it came time to marry George Washington, Martha sent an order to London for a pair of one-of-a-kind purple silk wedding shoes, decorated with silver braid and detailing. Throughout their married life, Washington often wrote to a London agent to purchase designer shoes for his wife in which he specified minute details of both fit and design. Eventually, Martha abandoned her British shoemakers in favour of Pennsylvanian manufacturers. Of course, no matter where she purchased them, they were always the height of fashion.…