American University

Virtual Event Examines Impact and Evolution of the Role of America’s First Ladies

6-May-2021 11:05 AM EDT, by American University

Newswise — Prominent scholars, archivists, historians, former White House staff members and insiders will gather today to explore the fascinating lives and evolving roles of the spouses of America’s presidents during the virtual 2021 First Ladies Symposium,  hosted by the White House Historical Association in partnership with American University's First Ladies Initiative.  

First Lady Jill Biden will give opening remarks at this virtual event.

“Beginning with our founder, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the White House Historical Association has been honored to work closely with every First Lady to preserve the legacy of the White House and educate the American public about its history,” said Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association. “As we have begun our work with President and Dr. Biden, we are privileged to partner with American University to highlight the essential role First Ladies have held in our nation and explore how they have helped to shape and share the history of the People’s House.”

“This annual event brings together scholarship, research, and service—values that American University’s First Ladies Initiative and the WHHA share,” said Sylvia M. Burwell, President of American University. “Ours is a truly innovative partnership—one where we explore new ideas and find new ways to appreciate our history and serve our communities and our country.”

Each year, the Association’s symposium shines a spotlight on a wide range of topics, including White House gardens and decorative arts. This year’s theme coincides with the Association’s 60th anniversary. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy founded the White House Historical Association in 1961 to help the White House collect and exhibit the very best artifacts of American history and culture.

This year, the symposium examines the historical impact and evolving role of First Ladies in gender equality and historic preservation and new historical insights that have altered previous conceptions and historical contributions of several first ladies. Experts will also discuss how the Office of the First Lady supports the President’s agenda while establishing an independent voice that shapes public opinion and raises awareness about social problems and other important issues.

More information about the event can be found here.

Additional quotes from participants and partner organizations are available here.

Download high-resolution images of the speakers here.


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. In 1961, the 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 White House Historical Association has contributed more than $50 million in fulfillment of its mission. To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit


About American University

In its 128-year history, American University has established a reputation for producing change makers focused on the challenges of a changing world. AU has garnered recognition for global education, public service, experiential learning and politically active and diverse students, as well as academic and research expertise in a wide range of areas including the arts, sciences, humanities, business and communication, political science and policy, governance, law and diplomacy.



Filters close

Showing results

110 of 6022
Released: 22-Jun-2021 12:30 PM EDT
Political Variables Carried More Weight Than Healthcare in Government Response to COVID-19
Binghamton University, State University of New York

Political institutions such as the timing of elections and presidentialism had a larger influence on COVID-19 strategies than the institutions organizing national healthcare, according to a research team led by a professor at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Released: 22-Jun-2021 11:15 AM EDT
Memoir from Health Policy Expert Challenges American Health Care System and Inspires Change
Amplify Publishing

Amplify Publishing announces the release of Beyond Fear: How I Fought the Feds for Six Years—and Won by Ted Giovanis.

Newswise:Video Embedded newswise-expert-panels-on-covid-19-pandemic-notable-excerpts-quotes-and-videos-available
Released: 18-Jun-2021 2:10 PM EDT
Newswise Expert Panels on COVID-19 Pandemic: Notable excerpts, quotes and videos available

Newswise is hosting a series of Expert Panels discussion on unique aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This tip sheet includes some notable quotes from the panelists.

Released: 16-Jun-2021 1:10 PM EDT
Establishing Juneteenth As National Holiday is Opportunity to Create "New America"
Binghamton University, State University of New York

The Senate has unanimously passed a bill to establish Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, as a federal holiday. This is an historic moment and an opportunity to create a “new America,” according to Anne Bailey, professor of history at Binghamton University, State University of New York and director of the Harriet Tubman Center for the Study of Freedom and Equity.

Newswise: Keeping the peace
Released: 14-Jun-2021 5:55 PM EDT
Keeping the peace
Washington University in St. Louis

New research from Washington University in St. Louis sheds light on how — and in what context — peacekeepers can contain the spread of violence in fragile post-conflict areas.

Showing results

110 of 6022