An original C-SPAN feature series telling the stories of America’s 45 First Ladies through conversations with top experts, video tours of historic sites, and questions from C-SPAN’s audience.

First Ladies
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First Ladies: Presidential Historians
on the Lives of 45 Iconic American Women
by Susan Swain and C-SPAN
 
Published by Public Affairs
Now available in paperback, hardcover or as an e-book

A look inside the personal life of every first lady in American history, based on original interviews with major historians.

C-SPAN’s year-long history series, First Ladies: Influence and Image, featured interviews with more than fifty preeminent historians and biographers. In this informative book, these experts paint intimate portraits of all 45 first ladies—their lives, ambitions, and unique partnerships with their presidential spouses. Susan Swain and the C-SPAN team elicit the details that made these women who they were: how Martha Washington intentionally set the standards followed by first ladies for the next century; how Edith Wilson’s was complicit in the cover up of President Wilson’s incapacitation after a stroke; and how Mamie Eisenhower used the new medium of television to reinforce her, and her husband’s, positive public images.

This book provides an up-close historical look at these fascinating women who survived the scrutiny of the White House, sometimes at great personal cost, while supporting their families and famous husbands—and sometimes changing history. Complete with illustrations and essential biographical details, it is an illuminating, entertaining, and ultimately inspiring read.