America's First Ladies: An Enduring Vision


March 5, 2012

Throughout our Nation’s history, first ladies of the United States have played an influential role in American politics, domestic policy, and global diplomacy. The women who shared this unique experience have served as policy advisors, diplomats, hostesses, and national role models. They helped shape societal attitudes and have used their platform to advocate for important initiatives and policies affecting our country and people around the world.  

Event Video

A Conversation with First Ladies Barbara & Laura Bush
Historian and Biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin moderates a conversation with Mrs. Barbara Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush with an introduction by President George W. Bush.

Behind the Images: Photographers’ Views of the First Ladies
Mark Updegrove (Director, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum) moderates a conversation between David Hume Kennerly (White House Photographer, President Gerald R. Ford), Carol Powers (White House Photographer, Mrs. Barbara Bush), and Susan Sterner (White House Photographer, Mrs. Laura Bush). 

Behind the Scenes in the East Wing: Social Secretaries to the First Ladies

Richard Norton Smith (Presidential Historian) moderates a conversation between Bess Abell (White House Social Secretary, Lady Bird Johnson), Catherine S. Fenton (Former Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary to Mrs. Laura Bush and Deputy Social Secretary to Mrs. Nancy Reagan and Mrs. Barbara Bush), and Laurie Firestone (White House Social Secretary, Mrs. Barbara Bush). 

Influence Makers: First Ladies through American History

Cokie Roberts moderates a conversation about the history of First Ladies with Catherine Allgor (Professor of History and UC Presidential Chair,University of California at Riverside), Allida Black (Executive Editor, fdr4freedoms Digital Initiative Founder, Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project), and Amity Shlaes (Director, The 4% Growth Project, George W. Bush Institute and Best‐Selling Author).