A Great Gift for January 20, 2009
By dgolds on Dec 25, 2008
Today, time to blog about something fun.
Shortly after the recent elections, I came across a new book, Feisty First Ladies (and other unforgettable White House Women) by Autumn Stephens.
I love history, and this little volume puts a fun and somewhat irreverent spin on the wives, mistresses, mothers, and other women who have left their own imprint on our nation's history by virtue of their personalities - or lack thereof.
The book includes essays on:
- All of the wives of all the presidents who have been married (can you name the one President who was never married?)
- Women who served as the White House hostesses during periods in which the President was unmarried
- Other women who influenced presidential politics in some interesting ways
Feisty First Ladies has a lot of fun information to share with your friends. For example:
- In a letter to her sister, Martha Washington described being first lady as "being more like a state prisoner than anything else."
- Rachel Jackson was simultaneously married to two men for a short period. Andrew Jackson's opponent, John Quincy Adams, smeared her during the election of 1828 as an adulteress, a bigamist, and an American Jezebel.
- Mary Lincoln stopped in New York to order 16 fancy frocks - at the height of the Civil War. The unpopular wife of Honest Abe is quoted as saying "I intend to wear what I please."
- It is rumored that Florence Harding, bent on saving her husband from the humiliation of the Teapot Dome scandal and other cabinet corruption, did Warren in. No autopsy was ever performed, and she torched as many of his presidential papers as she could get her hands on.
- Nancy Reagan, aka "the iron butterfly" and "the Evita of Santa Barbara," is quoted as saying "I'd never wear a crown. It would mess up my hair."
- After her $150,000+ post-nomination shopping spree, the Huffington Post described Sarah Palin as a "Neiman Marxist."
- Michelle Obama was assigned as as advisor to summer associate Barack when he did his internship out of law school. She refused offer after offer of a date with him, finally relenting after a month to go out for dinner and a movie (for the record - Do The Right Thing by Spike Lee).
A great read in advance of the upcoming Obama inauguration. I noticed it's already available at Amazon.