Not all first ladies have been wives of the presidents. Sisters, daughters, nieces, and other relatives have assumed the responsibilities of White House hostess or shared it as necessity required, often for widowed and bachelor presidents. Each woman has a unique story and an important place in history. The First Ladies of the United States of America profiles the many courageous women, from Martha Washington to Melania Trump, who have served the presidency and the nation and maintained one of the most appealing traditions of the White House—hospitality.
The First Ladies, now in its fifteenth edition, was first published by the White House Historical Association in 1975. The book not only provides a special perspective on national life, but also offers a considered insight into the lives of notable women. The first ladies are brought to life with portraits drawn from the White House Collection, as well as from public and private collections, by such artists as Gilbert Stuart, Henry Inman, Howard Chandler Christy, and photographer Mathew Brady. Many of the paintings are displayed in the White House along the Ground Floor Corridor and in State Rooms where they are seen by visitors today.
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