Expand AU Menu


  • Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies
    (202) 885-3491

Mailing Address
First ladies Laura and Barbara Bush

The Legacies of America’s First Ladies:
A Conference Series

Photo by David Valdez for the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Anita McBride

Dear friends,

Throughout our nation’s history America's first ladies have influenced politics, domestic policy, and global diplomacy. The Legacies of America's First Ladies conference series features distinguished guests — White House staff, historians, authors, members of the media, first ladies, and former presidents — who highlight the significant contributions these women make toward promoting change and improving our society.

It has been my honor to lead this important initiative, taking this conference series on the road. We are delighted to partner with presidential libraries and academic institutions to tell the story of America's first ladies.

Participant Quotes

"Legacies of America's First Ladies conferences are filling a cavernous hole in American politics and history. No place else has the crucial role of presidential wives been so thoroughly and entertainingly presented."
-Cokie Roberts, political commentator and author

Read more »

The series was launched in March 2011 at American University and led to a partnership with the National Archives, Presidential Libraries. The Library Conference Series started in Texas, the only state with three Presidential Libraries and two living First Ladies, at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in November 2011. We then headed to Southern Methodist University, hosted by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, in March 2012. In November 2012, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum welcomed the final conference in the Texas series. On April 8, 2013, in honor of Betty Ford’s 95th birthday, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum hosted the conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Conversations are underway with several other Presidential Libraries to host additional Legacies of America’s First Ladies conferences.

I hope you can join us at an upcoming event and hope you enjoy the information and photos we are able to share from this historic series.

Anita McBride
Executive-in-Residence at Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and Conference Chair

Series Partners:

First Ladies partner logos

Conference Series Brochure

Read our brochure with highlights from previous conferences, including quotes from participants and details about issues discussed.

Read more


Are you a First Ladies Wonk?

Test your knowledge of history about the first ladies in a quiz developed by AU's own first lady WONK Anita McBride.

Click Here

Annual Report

Read about Anita McBride's 2013 activities in the year-end report »

Read more