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Whether editing speeches and appearing on the campaign trail, presiding over White House renovations and social events, championing important causes, or functioning as the president's most trusted adviser, first ladies have made significant contributions to the heads-of-state's careers and to the nation. Yet, the accomplishments of those who have acted as the power behind the presidency have gone largely unreported and underappreciated. Systematically profiling each first lady from Martha Washington to Laura Bush, Watson offers the reader an intimate look at these women who have served the United States. The chronologically arranged biographies examine each first lady's early years and education, her family life, her presidential years, and her legacy. A short bibliography for each entry provides a selected list of additional sources. First Ladies of the United States is a convenient, well-researched, and thoroughly indexed reference, as well as an insightful account of the lives of forty-three women who have helped shape the course of U.S. history.