New Release – U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies by Diana B. Carlin, Anita B. McBride, and Nancy Kegan Smith

New Release – U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies by Diana B. Carlin, Anita B. McBride, and Nancy Kegan Smith

San Diego, CA – August 4, 2023 – Cognella Academic Publishing is proud to announce the publication of U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies by Diana B. Carlin, Anita B. McBride, and Nancy Kegan Smith, with a foreword written by first lady Dr. Jill Biden. The textbook is a first, filling a gap in academic literature by examining how first ladies are uniquely positioned to influence American society, public policy, politics, diplomacy, and life in the White House.

The textbook explores the development and evolution of the role of the first lady and the initiatives, substantive contributions, rhetorical activities, and lasting legacies of first ladies throughout U.S. history. Profiles of first ladies from Martha Washington to Dr. Jill Biden help students learn about the women behind the title and their unique journeys. Thematic chapters trace first ladies’ actions on civil rights; significant speeches and communication strategies; impact on the White House and the Office of the First Lady; and political campaigns. The book also documents the monumental changes first ladies have made through the development of initiatives and establishment of foundations that carry on their work and sustain their contributions. Student research activities are enhanced through a chapter on primary source materials and lists for further reading. In addition, each chapter features learning objectives, key terms, a chronology of significant historical events, and reflection opportunities.

U.S. First Ladies is an ideal resource for courses and programs in American history, American studies, women’s studies, political science, and media and communication studies.


About the Authors

Diana B. Carlin is Professor Emerita of Communication at Saint Louis University and a retired professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas. She has taught courses on first ladies at three universities.

Anita B. McBride is Director of the First Ladies Initiative at American University, School of Public Affairs. Her experience includes service in three U.S. presidential administrations at the White House and Department of State and chief of staff to  First Lady Laura Bush.

Nancy Kegan Smith retired in 2012 as Director of the Presidential Materials Division of the National Archives and Records Administration. She is co-editor of Modern First Ladies: Their Documentary Legacy and lectures on first ladies and presidential records.

The three authors write and lecture extensively on first ladies and are founding members of the First Ladies Association for Research and Education (FLARE).


Learn more about the textbook and request a digital review copy: