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Cover for First Ladies of the United States

First Ladies of the United States

National Portrait Gallery, Kim Sajet (Foreword by), Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw (Text by)


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A gorgeous publication that reveals the historical importance of first ladies through portraiture.

Each first lady has brought her own priorities and flair to the position that has never been officially defined. They have served as hostesses, trendsetters, activists, and political players. First Ladies of the United States features 84 portraits of the nation's first ladies, as varied in style and representation as the individual women they depict. From watercolors and oil paintings to engravings and photographs, this book celebrates the legacy of first ladies throughout history.

First ladies are some of the most scrutinized public figures in the country, praised or criticized on everything from their fashion to their level of political involvement. There's no better way to explore their visibility and lasting impact than with First Ladies of the United States, which places remarkable portraits alongside an insightful essay and lively entries that illuminate the history of the women who have shaped the White House.

Smithsonian Books, 9781588346940, 180pp.

Publication Date: December 1, 2020

About the Author

GWENDOLYN DUBOIS SHAW is the National Portrait Gallery's senior historian and director of history, research, and scholarship. THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY is dedicated to the exhibition and study of portraits of people who have made significant contributions to American history and culture. In recent years, the museum has commissioned official portraits of first ladies as companions to its official portraits of the presidents.