VIRTUAL America’s First Ladies: The Good, The Bad and The Strangely Forgotten
Curiosity about America’s First Ladies and analysis of their performance is an ongoing aspect of American life. The role of First Lady comes with no job description, no pay, and no written requirements. Yet America’s presidential spouses have wielded great influence and have always been subject to intense public scrutiny.
In this fascinating illustrated lecture, historian Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., explores which First Ladies have rated highest and lowest with historians. She will use the Siena College Research Institute’s 2014 First Ladies Study as a jumping-off point to explore how different first ladies have been assessed and why.
She’ll look at some first ladies who excelled at public duties and were acclaimed as symbols of strength in times of crisis (Eleanor Roosevelt) and others who closely guarded their private lives (Mamie Eisenhower). Some excelled at the social and public aspects of the job (Dolley Madison) while others shunned public attention (Bess Truman). Some were showered with adoration and respect (Jackie Kennedy, Frances Cleveland). Some lived through immense personal tragedy (Mary Lincoln, Jane Pierce).
Each in her own way both reflected and influenced the attitudes of society about appropriate behavior for women. See if you agree with scholars about which First Ladies were best and which were worst. And consider what you think the future might hold for the role of American First Lady.
Leslie Goddard holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and master’s degrees in museum studies and in theater. She has been lecturing and performing on topics in history for more than fifteen years, with particular expertise in the fields of women’s history and U.S. History.
The program is free and open to all and registration is required.
The zoom link will be sent the day before the event.
This program is made possible with the support of The Friends of the Livingston Public Library.
- Monday, March 14, 2022
- 7:00pm - 8:15pm
- Livingston Public Library