First Ladies and the Press

Paper Text – $24.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2312-0
Publication Date
December 2005
Page Count
372 pages
Trim Size
5-1/4 x 8

First Ladies and the Press

The Unfinished Partnership of the Media Age
Maurine H. Beasley

At her first press conference, Eleanor Roosevelt, uncertain of her role as hostess or leader, passed a box of candied grapefruit peel to the thirty-five women journalists. Nearly sixty years later, Hillary Clinton, an accomplished professional woman and lawyer, tried to mollify her critics by handing out her chocolate-chip cookie recipe. These exchanges tells us as much about the social—and political—roles of women in America as they do about the relation of the first lady to the press and the public. Looking at the personal interaction between each first lady from Martha Washington to Laura Bush and the mass media of her day, Maurine H. Beasley traces the growth of the institution of the first lady as a part of the American political system. Her work shows how media coverage of first ladies, often limited to stereotypical ideas about women, has not adequately reflected the importance of their role.
About the Author

Maurine H. Beasley is a professor in the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. She is the author of Eleanor Roosevelt and the Media: A Public Quest for Self-Fulfillment (University of Illinois, 1987) and the coeditor of Taking Their Place: A Documentary History of Women and Journalism (Strata Publishing, 2003).

Carol Rivers is a professor of Journalism in the College of Communication at Boston Unviersity. A former White House correspondent, she is author of Slick Spins and Fractured Facts: How Cultural Myths Distort the News and Camelot, a novel set in the Kennedy administration.

"Beasley's work is valuable because of the lessons learned through her historical analysis."  —American Journalism