January 25, 2006 Presidents and Their Wives is Subject of new Library of Congress Publication

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022 | Dana Trombley, Black Dog & Leventhal (212) 647-9336, ext. 119

“My Dear President: Letters Between Presidents and Their Wives” has been published 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 to open a unique window into the special familiar relationship of our first families,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “These letters document the innermost thoughts, plans and experiences of the nation’s most public figures, continuing the Library’s tradition of providing ever-increasing access to the richness and humanity of our cultural heritage.”

“My Dear President” is the latest in a long list of Library of Congress publications of treasures from the personal papers of America’s presidents, such as “First Daughters: Letters Between U.S. Presidents and Their Daughters,” which was published in 2004 in association with Black Dog & Leventhal.

“All but one of 43 presidents have been married, and the instrumental roles played by their spouses are evident in their private communications,” said Gerard W. Gawalt, historian and curator of presidential papers at the Library of Congress, who compiled the correspondence. “While perusing these documents, we can focus on the private thoughts, as opposed to the public words and actions, of the letter writers.”

Through 184 letters, telegrams and cables, “My Dear President” offers an intimate look into the private lives of American presidents and their wives—from George and Martha Washington, to Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton—during courtship and marriage, in times of joy and times of sorrow, in wartime and in peace.

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 is making the papers of five U.S. presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln—available free of charge on the Library’s Web site at www.loc.gov/memory. 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.

“My Dear President,” a 352-page hardcover with black-and-white illustrations, is 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 www.loc.gov/shop/.


PR 06-026
ISSN 0731-3527