First Ladies: The Saga of the Presidents' Wives and Their Power, 1789-1961

by Carl Sferrazza Anthony

Paperback, 1992




Harper Perennial (1992), 688 pages


In this previously untold story of a unique role and its evolving definitions, Carl Sferrazza Anthony has produced "an entirely new take on the first ladyship" and "an awesome work of scholarship" (Library Journal). Opening with a historic trip made in 1789 by Martha Washington from Mount Vernon to New York, then the capital city, First Ladies brings these women alive as never before in a saga of intertwining lives, friends, rivals, and allies. Among the women profiled in this first of a definitive two-volume history: Dolley Madison, Julia Tyler, Mary Lincoln, Julia Grant, Nellie Taft, Edith Wilson, Grace Coolidge, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Mamie Eisenhower. From the Federalist to the Antebellum periods, through the Gilded and Jazz ages, from the Great Depression to the Fabulous Fifties, thirty-four women confronted the towering events of American history. They also helped establish its course. We also glimpse the early years of the living First Ladies, from Jacqueline Kennedy to Barbara Bush.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member briandrewz
This was a gargantuan look at the lives of the First Ladies of the United States of America from 1789 to 1961. Covering the periods of Martha Washington through Mamie Eisenhower, Carl Sferrazza Anthony gives us a look into the lives of some of the most famous American women: the first ladies. As stated in the title of the book, the narrative focuses on the "power" these women held. Because of this, some first ladies are hardly touched on, as they held little sway over their husband's political decisions. Others, such as Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, Mary Lincoln, Edith Wilson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Mamie Eisenhower, were given a much larger scope in the telling of their stories. It's a fascinating read.… (more)


Original language


Physical description

9.25 inches


0688112722 / 9780688112721
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