C-SPAN’s “First Ladies: Influence and Image” full schedule, factoids and more

Tune in alert for a C-SPAN historical series on First Ladies ... 35-part, two-season "First Ladies: Influence and Image" series which begins Feb. 18 ... teaming up with White House Historical Association.

In a first-of-its-kind project for television, C-SPAN is teaming up with the White House Historical Association (WHHA) for a new, two-season original series: “First Ladies: Influence and Image,” examining the private lives of the first ladies and their years in the White House.  


Each week beginning February 18th, “First Ladies: Influence and Image” will tell the stories of the women who served in the role of first lady over 44 administrations.

The 90-minute programs will air live Mondays at 9pm ET on C-SPAN and C-SPAN 3 (which also is the home for American History TV on the weekends), C-SPAN Radio, and via livestreaming on c-span.org.

C-SPAN and the WHHA also are collaborating on a video-rich website to accompany the series

(c-span.org/firstladies). The interactive site also features historic letters, recordings and photographs, biographies, and classroom resources.

The C-SPAN series will examine:

Mark Farkas, Peabody Award winning producer for C-SPAN, is the Executive Producer for the series. “These women have many fascinating stories to tell – that not only reveal their personal challenges, accomplishments, and failures, but also provide a window into our nation’s history and the trajectory of women in our society,” Farkas said.  “From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, the role of First Lady continues to evolve.”

First Lady Michelle Obama in a 2010 interview with C-SPAN observed this about the role:

 “I think every First Lady brings their unique perspective to this job.  If you didn’t, you couldn’t live through it. … I try to bring a little bit of Michelle Obama into this but at the same time respecting and valuing the tradition that is America's.”

On February 18, a series scene-setter will air from the WHHA’s historic Decatur House exploring the evolving role of First Lady and the influence they’ve had on society.   Season One begins the next week, on February 25, with Martha Washington and continues through Ida McKinley on June 10, 2013 (16 programs).   Season Two picks up with Edith Roosevelt on September 9, 2013 and concludes with Michelle Obama on February 10, 2014 (19 programs). (Full schedule follows below.)

“The association is pleased to once again partner with C-SPAN to explore  the fascinating world of First Ladies --- their lives, the times in which they lived, and their impact on our nation, “ said WHHA president Neil W. Horstman.

Four nationally-known historians are serving as advisors for the project:

Richard Norton Smith -- Presidential historian at George Mason University and former head of five presidential libraries. He is a regular advisor to C-SPAN on history-related programming, including most recently C-SPAN’s feature documentary series “The Contenders.”

Edith Mayo – Curator emeritus in political history at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Her books include First Ladies: Political Role and Public Image and The Smithsonian's Book of First Ladies.

Rosalyn Terborg-Penn – Historian and author, focusing on 19th and 20th century African American history and American women's history. Her books include African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920. She is University Professor Emerita, Morgan State University.

William Seale – Historian and editor of White House History, the award-winning journal of the White House Historical Association. Author of The President’s House and other books about American history and architecture.

C-SPAN’s “First Ladies: Influence and Image” full schedule:

Season 1 – February 2013 thru June 2013

First Lady “Firsts”

First to appear on a U.S. postage stamp: Martha Washington (in 1902 for the 8 cent stamp)

First Lady to first live in the White House: Abigail Adams

Only First Lady born in a foreign country: Louisa Adams, born in London on February 12, 1775

First woman to be both wife of a president and mother of a president: Abigail Adams married future President John Adams on October 25, 1764, and gave birth to future President John Quincy Adams on July 11, 1767

1st First Lady to die in the White House: Letitia Tyler, on September 10, 1842

Started the tradition of having the band play “Hail to the Chief” upon the entrance of the president into the room: Julia Tyler

1st First Lady to work and earn a salary before they were married: Abigail Fillmore as a school teacher in New Hope, N.Y.

Created first White House Library: Abigail Fillmore

Hosted the first White House Easter Egg Roll: Lucy Hayes, on April 22, 1878

First College Educated First Lady: Lucy Hayes graduated from Wesleyan Women’s College (now Ohio Wesleyan University), in Delaware, Ohio in 1850

1st First Lady to earn a graduate degree: Pat Nixon, from the University of Southern California in 1937

Youngest First Lady: Frances Cleveland at 21

First to have a Christmas tree in the White House: Caroline Harrison   

1st First Lady to ride in her husband’s inaugural parade: Helen “Nellie” Taft, March 4, 1909 - Had Japanese cherry trees planted along tidal basin: Helen “Nellie” Taft  

1st First Lady to vote in Presidential Election: Florence Harding, November 2, 1920 

1st First Lady to fly in an airplane: Eleanor Roosevelt, March 6, 1934 from Miami, Florida to Puerto Rico  

1st First Lady to host a weekly radio show: Eleanor Roosevelt

1st First Lady to hold regular press conferences: Eleanor Roosevelt, who held 348 press conferences while first lady. Her first press conference took place on March 6, 1933

Interviewed her future husband for a newspaper article before he was president: Jacqueline Kennedy, for the Washington Times-Herald in 1952

National President of the Girl Scouts before becoming First Lady: Lou Hoover, from 1922 until 1925

1st First Lady to appear in televised presidential campaign ad: Mamie Eisenhower in 1952

1st First Lady to have a press secretary: Jacqueline Kennedy

Lady Bird Johnson conducted her own campaign train tour (the “Lady Bird Express”) through the South for her husband's election in 1964

Only First Lady to be a professional dancer prior to the White House years: Betty Ford, as a member of the Martha Graham Auxiliary Dance Company in New York City during 1940-41

Only first lady to write a memoir from her dog’s perspective: Barbara Bush (Millie’s Book)

Hosted the first White House webcast: Hillary Clinton

Only first lady elected to the U.S. Congress: Hillary Clinton, elected U.S. Senator from New York on November 7, 2000

1st First Lady to deliver the White House weekly radio address: Laura Bush, on November 17, 2001

1st First Lady to tweet: Michelle Obama, on January 12, 2012 - 1st African-American First Lady: Michelle Obama

Visit http://www.c-span.org/.


C-SPAN’s “First Ladies: Influence and Image” full schedule:



Season 1 – February 2013 thru June 2013

February 18 -                     Special scene setter program (Presidents’ Day 2013)                                      

February 25 -                     Martha Washington                                                                                                       

March 4 -                             Abigail Adams                                                                                                   

March 11 -                           Dolley Madison                                                                                                

                                                (Martha Jefferson Randolph mention)

March 18 -                           Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Catherine Adams                                                        

March 25 -  Rachel Jackson & Emily Donelson -Jackson’s White House hostess Angelica Singleton Van Buren – Van Buren’s White House hostess                             

April 1 -                     Anna Harrison, Letitia Tyler and Julia Tyler                                           

April 8 -                    Sarah Polk, Margaret Taylor & Abigail Fillmore                                   

April 15 -            Jane Pierce, Harriet Lane                                                                                             

April 22 -    Mary Todd Lincoln                                                                                          

April 29 -        Eliza Johnson                                                                                                    

May 6 -         Julia Grant                                                                                                                          

May 13 -        Lucy Hayes                                                                                                         

May 20 -      Lucretia Garfield and Mary Arthur McElroy                                          

May 27 -      Frances Cleveland                                                                                                          

June 3 -    Caroline Harrison                                                                                                            

June 10 -   Ida McKinley                                                                                     

Season 2 – September 2013 thru February 2014

September 9 -                   Edith Roosevelt                                                                                                               

September 16 -                 Nellie Taft                                                                                                          

September 23 -                 Ellen Wilson and Edith Wilson                                                                                    

September 30 -                 Florence Harding                                                                                             

October 7 -                         Grace Coolidge                                                                                                

October 14 -                       Lou Hoover                                                                                                        

October 21 -                       Eleanor Roosevelt                                                                                          

October 28 -                       Bess Truman                                                                                                     

November 4 -                    Mamie Eisenhower                                                                                        

November 11 -                  Jacqueline Kennedy                                      

November 18 -                  Lady Bird Johnson                                                                                                           

November 25 -                  Pat Nixon                                                                                           

December 2 -                     Betty Ford                                                                                                          

December 9 -                     Rosalynn Carter                                                                               

January 13, 2014 -            Nancy Reagan                                                                                                  

January 20 -                        Barbara Bush                                                                                                   

January 27 -                        Hillary Clinton                                                                                                   

February 3 -                        Laura Bush                                                                                         

February 10 -                   Michelle Obama


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