Mount Vernon welcomes Susan Swain and Richard Norton Smith to the David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall at The Washington Library to discuss their book First Ladies: Presidential Historians on the Lives of 45 Iconic Women, on March 3, 2016.
C-SPAN’s yearlong 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 forty-five 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 was complicit in the cover-up when President Wilson became incapacitated 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.
This event will be followed by a cocktail reception and book signing.
This annual event was created to share new scholarship and insights into the life and times of Martha Washington, and is made possible through a generous grant from the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation.
Susan Swain - was the moderator for C-SPAN’s special year-long history series, First Ladies: Influence and Image. She is C-SPAN’s co-CEO where she has been an on-camera host for more than thirty years, interviewing public officials, historians, and journalists.
Richard Norton Smith - is a nationally-recognized historian, biographer, and authority on the American presidency, whose many books include Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation.