August 31, 2004 Presidents and Their Daughters Is Subject of New Library of Congress Publication

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer, Library of Congress (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Caitlin Hamilton Summie, Black Dog & Leventhal (303) 469-4464

“First Daughters: Letters Between U.S. Presidents and Their Daughters” will be published this fall by the Library of Congress in association with Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.

“This compelling anthology draws upon the Library’s vast collections of presidential papers, as well as those of other presidential libraries and private libraries, to open a unique window into the special familiar relationships our first families,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “As the digital age moves forward, we hope that institutions that preserve presidential papers will follow the Library’s lead and make them available through the Internet.”

The latest in a long list of Library of Congress publications of treasures from the personal papers of America’s presidents, “First Daughters” includes many letters being published for the first time as well as photographs and original artwork.

“Thirty-one U.S. presidents have been the fathers of girls, and most of them took time from their public lives to write private letters to their daughters on a wide range of subjects,” said Gerard W. Gawalt, historian and curator of presidential papers at the Library of Congress, who compiled the correspondence in collaboration with his daughter Ann G. Gawalt, an attorney with an interest in history, politics and women’s rights.

The book chronicles the triumphs, hopes, tragedies and daily lives of 21 presidents and their daughters, as recorded in their private correspondence. Grouped thematically, the letters reveal how different presidents and daughters handled similar issues such as marriage, education and politics. The correspondence is presented with minimal editing to allow the correspondents to speak for themselves. As a result, readers are given full access to the personalities and times that inspired them.

The Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress holds the papers of 23 American presidents from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge, comprising some 2 million manuscripts. The Library’s digital initiative has made the papers of three U.S. presidents - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln - available free of charge on the Library’s American Memory Web site at Also available on the Web site are selected items from 54 presidential inaugurations from George Washington to George W. Bush and portraits of presidents and first ladies from George and Martha Washington to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

“First Daughters,”a 320-page hardcover book with black-and-white illustrations, will be available for $17.95 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library of Congress Sales Shop, Washington, DC 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at


PR 04-153
ISSN 0731-3527