America's First Ladies
A Historical Encyclopedia and Primary Document Collection of the Remarkable Women of the White House
by Nancy Hendricks
October 2015, 408pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-882-5
$121, £94, 106€, A166
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-883-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Who ranked #1 in the 2014 Siena College Expert Survey of American First Ladies?

Meet the First Ladies of the United States—sometimes inspiring, sometimes tragic, always fascinating—women who, though often unsung, helped hold the nation together in its infancy and advance it as a world power.

More than simply serving as America’s “hostesses,” many of the nation’s First Ladies played vital roles in shaping their husband’s presidency and serving as political activists in their own right. From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, their inspiring stories come alive in this handsomely illustrated encyclopedia. Within its pages, the First Ladies are revealed as human beings who, one day, awoke to find the eyes of the world upon them.

The book differs from others by showcasing America’s First Ladies in their own words, as flesh-and-blood individuals. Readers will discover which First Lady held off Napoleon’s army with a toy sword, why women had to be “pale, frail, and ailing,” and which First Lady was called “Sunshine” and which was “Hellcat.” Each entry includes a biographical essay that details the life of the woman and places her within the political, social, and cultural context of her time. Each also offers a related primary document that helps define the First Lady’s legacy as well as a short bibliography for further information. Written in a lively, compelling style, this highly readable volume is perfect for junior high, high school, and college students as well as the general public.


  • Overviews the social, political, and cultural significance of America's First Ladies in a convenient, chronological, reference format
  • Includes letters, notes, and speeches that allow the First Ladies to speak for themselves
  • Features engaging and informative sidebars that place the First Ladies in the cultural context of their times
  • Shares the 2014 First Ladies Ranking from the Siena Research Institute
  • Facilitates student research through an extensive reading guide and a list of online resources that will foster critical reading, thinking, and writing skills
Nancy Hendricks, PhD, is an award-winning historian who holds a doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas. Her published works include Senator Hattie Caraway: An Arkansas Legacy and Dear Mrs. Caraway, Dear Mr. Kays. A major contributor to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, she performs nationwide in her signature role as Hattie Caraway in the program "Hattie to Hillary: Women in Politics."


"Ms Hendricks writes with an attractive style which makes you want to read the book at length rather than consulting it quickly."—Reference Reviews, August 1, 2016
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