Nancy Davis Reagan (born Anne Frances ‘Nancy’ Robbins) was married to Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, and functioned as America’s First Lady in the period 1981-1989. Nancy was an actress and became famed for her fight against the use of drugs in America. She was born in Flushing, New York, in 1921, July 6th, but grew up in Bethesda, MD, with an uncle as her mother was continuing a career as actor. Nancy went to Chicago’s Girls’ Latin School and later earned a B.A in Drama from Smith College in Massachusetts in 1943. After a few other jobs, Nancy eventually landed acting roles and made her Broadway debut in 1946 alongside Mary Martin and Yul Brynner in the musical ‘Lute Song.’
She got a contract in Hollywood with MGM Studios and was very surprised in 1949 to see her name on a ‘communist sympathizers’ listing and was seeking help from the American Screen Actors Guild, with president Ronald Reagan. After Ronald had assured her that she was professionally safe, the two started dating to get married in 1952, on March 4th at the Little Brown Church in San Fernando Valley, California. Nancy played alongside Ronald in ‘Hellcats in the Navy’ (1957), but soon gave up on acting to focus on upbringing Ronald’s children from a former marriage (Maureen and Michael), and the couple also had two children (Patti and Ron).
As Ronald was working hard towards a career in politics, Nancy started to set up relationships with important business men in Southern California. In 1966, Ronald became governor of California, and Nancy began to help veterans from the Vietnam war, and also headed the Foster Grandparents program, were special-needs children were paired with senior citizens. In 1980, Ronald was elected to the presidency, and Nancy started to refurbish the White House’s private upstairs quarters, started her famed anti-drug campaign ‘Just Say No’, and hosted an international conference on drug abuse in 1985 that was attended by first ladies of seventeen countries.
During her eight years in the White House, Nancy had to deal with several crises as in 1981, shortly after he had taken office, Ronald got shot in an (unsuccessful) assassination attempt, and she had to undergo a mastectomy when breast cancer was found in 1987. Nancy was working hard to protect Ronald’s public image and well-being and she had strong influence on the president’s schedule and his selection of cabinet members. In 1989, the Reagans left the White House to retire in Bel Air, California, where she wrote ‘My Turn’, her autobiography and established the ‘Nancy Reagan Foundation’ to help drug prevention efforts, and together with Ronald, she opened the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in 1991 in California’s Simi Valley.
In 1994, Ronald Reagan made public that he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and Nancy took care of her husband till he passed away in June 2004. Nancy started to support embryonic stem-cell research strongly, and pressed Congress to raise federal funding, In her twilight years, she devoted much of her time to the expansion the Reagan Presidential Library, and made a rare appearance at the White House in 2009 to witness the signing of the Reagan Centennial Commission Act. Nancy Reagan, at the age of 94, died a natural death on March 6, 2016.read more
Hillary Diane Clinton (born Hillary Diane Rodham) is married to Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, and she served as First Lady in the period 1993-2001. Hillary is the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for the presidential elections of 2016 election. When in 2001 Hillary was elected to the United States Senate she was the first American first lady to ever win a public office seat. She later became the 67th U.S. secretary of state in 2009, serving until 2013, and in 2016, she became the first woman in U.S. history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. Hillary was born in Chicago in 1947 and raised in Ridge, a small Chicago suburb. Initially, she was active in Republican groups but after she heard a speech by Martin Luther King Jr., she turned to the Democrats in 1968. Hillary went to Wellesley College where she graduated in 1969. She then attended Yale Law School, where she met Bill Clinton, to graduate with honors in 1973, Here met Bill Clinton, a fellow law school graduate, and the couple married in 1975.
Hillary Clinton worked many jobs while at college and came to Washington D.C. in 1971 to take a role in the sub-committee on migrant workers of U.S. Senator Walter Mondale. The next year, in 1972, she worked through the summer out West to campaign for George McGovern, the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. In early 1974, Hillary was appointed to the committee that inquired the presidential impeachment of Richard Nixon and was to advise the House of Representatives’s Judiciary Committee at the times of the Watergate Scandal. Hillary got fired from that committee by Chief Counsel Jerry Zeifman for what he though to be unethical professional behavior in relation to President Nixon’s due process. Many media sources contradicted the allegations and stated that Zeifman had no authority over the young and promising attorney at that time, but Hillary Clinton herself never commented on the affair. After the resignation of Richard Nixon in August 1974, Hillary was appointed a faculty member of Fayatteville’s Law School of the University of Arkansas where her boyfriend and Yale classmate has a teaching function as well.
She was a U.S. senator in the period 2001-2009. In early 2007, Hillary said she would run for the U.S. presidency, but lost the Democratic nomination to Barrack Obama in 2008, but she was appointed secretary of state, a function she occupied from January 2009 until 2013. In 2016, Hillary was the first U.S. woman that became the presidential nominee. In 1976, Hillary was working on Jimmy Carter’s presidency campaign while Bill became attorney general. In 1977, she joined the Little Rock Rose Law Firm. The couple has one daughter, Chelsea Victoria, who was born in 1980, on February 27th. In 1992 Bill was elected president, and the couple lived in the White House from 1993 to 2001. As her husband’s presidency was limited to two terms, Hillary decided to run for the New York U.S. Senate as first woman to do so. She won and was reelected in 2006. In 2016, on June 6th, Hillary became the presumptive Democratic nominee for the presidential elections as the first woman in the history of the U.S.read more
Eleanor Rosalynn Carter (born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith) was married to Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, and served as First Lady in the period 1977-1981. She was born in 1927, on August 18th, in Plains, Georgia, and married Jimmy Carter in 1946, at age 18. Rosalynn was continuously at Jimmy’s side during the 1090’s and 1970’s when Jimmy became president in 1977. Rosalynn is famed for work for the President’s Commission on Mental Health. She went to high school in Plains, and that’s also when she met Jimmy Carter, a Naval Academy cadet. The two were married at Plains Methodist Church, on July 7th, 1946.
The Carters moved to Norfolk, VA, and over the course of the following years, Jimmy’s naval assignments was taking the the couple to several bases around the country. They had four children, three sons and one daughter, and Rosalynn was dividing her time between raising her children and studying art and literature via self-study programs. After Jimmy Carter’s father died, the couple went back to Georgia to run the peanut business of the family. When Jimmy was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1961, Rosalynn had to mend the business while Jimmy often was away for legislative matters, and she also dealt with all of Jimmy’s political correspondence.
When Jimmy was elected governor in 1970, Rosalynn not only performed her traditional responsibilities as First Lady of Georgia, she also did the financial affairs, took on the landscaping, wrote a book on the mansion, and started to work hard to overhaul Georgia’s mental health system. She performed several important roles to improve services to the mentally handicapped, chaired the Georgia Special Olympics committee, and volunteered at a hospital in Atlanta. All this gave her an impressive knowledge of world of mental health. When her husband announced his presidential aspirations for the 1976 presidential election, Rosalynn started to campaign right away for Jimmy and she did a lot of traveling on the campaign trail which took her to 42 states, and she was the first wife of a presidential candidate to promise her own pledge that as American First Lady, she would make a priority of the welfare of America’s mentally ill.
In 1977, Jimmy became the 39th President of the United States, and Rosalynn gave him counsel on foreign and domestic affairs at an unprecedented level. Rosalynn’s work for the President’s Commission on Mental Health resulted in the Mental Health Systems Bill which passed in September, 1980. She also devoted much of her time to the welfare of senior citizens, and made sure the Age Discrimination Act passed. As America’s First Lady, Rosalynn stood out for the way she was running the White House. She refused that hard alcohol was served, dinners were quite inexpensive, chose to be wearing relatively simple clothing, and organized a jazz and a poetry festival.
In 1980, Jimmy Carter ran for re-election, but lost the election to Ronald Reagan. After her White House period, Rosalynn wrote several books, such as her autobiography ‘First Lady from Plains’ in 1984 that reveals much about Carter’s administration, and she continued to address issues related to mental health. Rosalynn Carter received several honors for her efforts, such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom and many mental health awards, and she was inducted into America’s National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.read more
Barbara Bush (born Barbara Pierce) is the wife of George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, and she served as First Lady in the period 1989-1993. Barbara, also the mother of George W. Bush, is known for founding the Barbara Bush Foundation aimed at promoting family literacy. Barbara Bush and Abigail Adams are the only women that are wives and mothers to a U.S. president. She was born on June 8th, 1925 in New York City, and in 1945, Barbara was married to George H.W. Bush, vice president in 1981, and elected to the presidency in 1989. Her son George W. became president in 2001.
Barbara grew up in Rye, New York, and she loved reading, and in 1940 she went to Ashley Hall, a South Carolina boarding school. When Barbara spent Christmas 1941 at home, she met George, just 17, and a senior at Phillips Academy (Andover, Massachusetts). After George completed high school, he served as the America’s youngest combat pilot in the Navy during World War II. After the couple was married, they moved to New Haven, Connecticut, and George went to Yale University.
In 1946, Barbara had her first child, future president George Walker, and after his graduation in 1948, George got into the oil business and the family moved to Texas and California. Barbara’s mother died in a car accident in 1949 and as she was pregnant, she couldn’t travel to the funeral, which left a deep scar. She had her second child three months later and named her Pauline Robinson in honor of her late mother. Four years later, her daughter who was nicknamed Robin, died of leukemia, and this left Barbara and George devastated, coloring her hair from reddish-brown to prematurely white. ‘Jeb’ Bush (actually name John Ellis) was their third child, born just before Robin was diagnosed, and they had two more sons, Neil Mallon (1955) and Marvin Pierce (1956) and one daughter Dorothy ‘Doro’ Bush (1959).
In 1966, George was elected to Congress and the year after, the Bush family was moving to Washington, D.C. Later George became America’s United Nations ambassador and the lived for a while in New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where Barbara became popular with a lot of foreign dignitaries thanks to her social ease and outstanding entertaining skills. In 1973, the Watergate scandal was gripping the nation, and when president Richard Nixon asked George to head the Republican National Committee, Barbara was worried that her husband’s career might be damaged if he would defend the administration. In 1974, Nixon was forced to resign and Gerald Ford took over the presidency.
When George chose a diplomatic position in China in 1974, Barbara joined he husband to travel abroad for the first time, immersing herself in the country’s culture and language, but already one year later, George was asked to become director of the CIA which was under fire because of the Vietnam War and its Watergate involvement. Barbara was concerned, again, that George’s political future could be harmed. While George was heading he CIA, and the house empty as the children were away for school, Barbara became severely depressed, but she condition secret and refused to seek professional help, which brought her a deeper understanding of issues related to mental health. George decided to run for the presidency in 1979, so Barbara got back to campaigning and engaging with potential voters, but Ronald Reagan won the nomination of the Grand Old Party by a landslide and George was chosen as the vice-presidential running man, and Barbara’s husband became Ronald Reagan’s VP in January 1981.
George served two terms as vice president and decided to take on a second run for the U.S. presidency to become America’s 41st president of the United States in January 1989. Barbara Bush adhered a traditional role as a first lady and stayed away from politics. That same year, she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, but that did not keep her from starting her own literacy organization, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. The Bush presidency years saw the end of the Cold War, but also ongoing international problems. There was the 1989 invasion in Panama when U.S. troops apprehended dictator Manuel Noriega, and in August 1990, a 34-nation coalition started Operation Desert Shield to deal with Iraq after its Kuwait invasion.
The 1991 Gulf War became a victory for the allied forces as well as the Bush administration, and the prospects for a second White House term looked favorable as the U.S. troops came home, but after America came into recession in 1992, support for George’s administration plummeted, and in November, 1992, Bill Clinton defeated George and the Bush family left Washington in January 1993 to return to Texas. Barbara resides with her husband in Houston but also spend the summers at their in Kennebunkport, Maine, and she continues to be active in her Family Literacy Foundation and as ambassador for AmeriCares.read more
Elizabeth Ann ‘Betty’ Ford (born Elizabeth Anne Bloomer) was married to Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States. She functioned as First Lady in the period 1974-1977. She was born in 1918, on April 8th in Chicago, Illinois. Betty became America’s First Lady at the moment Richard Nixon was forced to resign as U.S. President and her vice-president husband Gerald became the acting President. Betty Ford had continual high approval ratings though quite a few conservative Republicans objected against her liberal ideas on quite a few social issues.
Betty Ford was famed for raising awareness for breast cancer after her mastectomy in 1974, and also for being a passionate activist for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). She was pro-choice, and became an avid leader for the Women’s Movement, and was famous for being the most candid First Lady in history while commenting on just about every hot issue such as equal pay, feminism, abortion, drugs, equal rights, and gun control. She additionally was pretty open when she revealed her long-running alcohol problem in 1970, to establish the Betty Ford Addiction Center after she and Gerald had left the White House.
Betty’s mother had taught her the importance of social graces and at age eight, Betty started to study ballet, modern movement, and tap, and as dancing became her passion, Betty wanted to to pursue dancing as a career. The young Betty, at age 14, already taught younger children the foxtrot and the waltz and while still a high school student, she established her private dance school where she was teaching both adults and children. After she graduated from high school, she studied under guidance of legendary dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, and with Martha’s group she made several appearances including a one at Carnegie Hall. Betty realized, though, that she wasn’t gifted enough to become a top-of-the-line dancer, so she went back to Grand Rapids to eventually work as a a fashion coordinator at a department store, while continuing to keep a passion for dancing.
In 1942, Betty married a furniture salesman, William C. Warren, who she had known for a long time, but after three years, she had become aware that the marriage wasn’t working, ans after Warren had recovered from a severe illness, they ended the marriage. In 1947, Betty met Gerald Ford, an attorney and U.S. Navy lieutenant, who wanted to go back to his law practice and run for Congress. After a year, the couple married, just two weeks prior to the elections in November. At the end of 1973, Ford became Richard Nixon’s Vice President after Spiro Agnew resigned, and when in 1974, Richard Nixon was forced to resign from office because of the Watergate scandal, Ford was appointed the 38th President of the United States, and Betty Ford became the American First Lady.
In 1991, Betty was honored by George W. Bush with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, earned the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999, and also was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for her public service. Gerald and Betty Ford had four children, and after her husband died in 2006 (at the age of 93), Betty wasn’t seen much in public any more, and died of natural causes on July 8, 2011.read more