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April 22, 2011

Presentation Examines How America’s First Ladies Shaped the Nation

As our nation grew, it was not just the presidents leading the way. In fact, 26 first ladies from Martha Washington to Mamie Eisenhower helped shaped America. Author Feather Foster discusses how these women were decidedly different from their modern-day counterparts during the presentation, “The First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Mamie Eisenhower,” at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s Hennage Auditorium.

Often neglected, the nation’s first presidential wives made their impact not so much in terms of political policy or broad social and civic service, but instead with unique, personal and often long-lasting accomplishments. Guests will discover:

  • How Martha Washington walked the fine First Lady line between royal pretension and republican accessibility.
  • Why Lou Hoover is an unsung hero.
  • What transformed Edith Wilson from smiling lady to imperious enforcer.

    A book signing of “The First Ladies: An Intimate Portrait of the Women Who Shaped America” follows in the Museum Store.

    Foster also is the author of “Ladies: A Conjecture of Personalities,” “Garfield’s Train” “T, An Auto-Biography” and “On the Road with the Old Gals.”

    A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, museum pass or Good Neighbor Card provides access to this lecture. For more information, call 1-800-HISTORY.

    Programs and exhibitions at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

    The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830.

    The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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