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The White House Historical Association released a new episode of The White House 1600 Sessions podcast today featuring a conversation with Anita McBride about a new college textbook she co-authored called “U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies.” McBride was an assistant to President George W. Bush, Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush, and is the current director of American University’s Legacies of America’s First Ladies Initiative in Washington, D.C. She is also a co-founder of the First Ladies Association for Research and Education (FLARE). In the episode, Stewart McLaurin, president of the Association, talks with McBride about how first ladies have influenced American society, public policy, diplomacy, and life in the White House.

“The job of first lady comes with no description and no salary yet these women took up the mantle of responsibility,” said McLaurin. “First ladies are more than advisors or confidantes to the president. They are innovators and use their platforms to engage the nation.”

The textbook fills a gap in academic literature and shines a light on the evolution of the role of first lady along with the initiatives, contributions, and lasting legacies of each first lady from Martha Washington to Dr. Jill Biden. There will also be a trade book released called "Remember the First Ladies: The Legacies of America's History-Making Women." Both of these books were co-authored by McBride along with Diana Carlin and Nancy Kegan Smith.

“Soft power is definitely synonymous with the role of first lady and throughout our history. Many first ladies have exerted soft power,” said McBride. “For example, Caroline Harrison was asked to help raise funds for Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, and she agreed to do it, but only if they admitted women as students.”

The full video of this podcast episode is also on the White House Historical Association’s YouTube channel here.

The White House 1600 Sessions podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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The White House 1600 Sessions

White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin is the host of The White House 1600 Sessions, the Association’s official audio and video podcast devoted to exploring the history, cultural impact, untold stories, and personal accounts of America’s most iconic residence and highest office.

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About the White House Historical Association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $115 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit