Ladies First

Although they are not elected officials, First Ladies have held many roles in American politics and government. Martha Washington became the first First Lady of the United States in 1789 and since then these women have given a voice to many social issues and have advocated political causes.


Lady Bird Johnson
By Robert Knudsen, White House Press Office (WHPO)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

ProQuest SIRS Discoverer has articles, images, web links and biographical content on these historic women:

  • Dolly Madison: When British forces attacked Washington D.C., she saved many items of national or historic significance.
  • Frances Cleveland: As a young wife, she stood up for the rights of working women and raised money for African-American orphans.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: She worked for many┬ácauses including assisting the unemployed and ending child labor.
  • Jacqueline Kennedy: The most elegant First Lady, she promoted the cultural and historical preservation of the White House and Washington D.C.
  • Lady Bird Johnson: She was an environmental activist and focused on the preservation of native plants and wildflowers.
  • Betty Ford: After battling her own addictions, she founded the Betty Ford center for addiction treatment.
  • Hillary Clinton: She is currently active in American politics and she has held several high power positions in government.
  • Laura Bush: As former teacher and librarian, she championed reading and literacy.
  • Michelle Obama: The current First Lady started the Let’s Move campaign as a way to combat childhood obesity.

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