Questia Honors Women’s History Month with the most researched First Ladies. 

Some of the greatest women in U.S. history have been the ones taking office alongside their presidential partners. These famous women are the First Ladies of the United States.

Questia has released its list of the top ten most researched First Ladies from their library.

Questia is making reference works on each of the First Ladies available for free this Women’s History Month.

Visit Questia’s topic page on Women in Politics for even more research.

Most Researched First Ladies: Abigail Adams

First lady wasn’t her only role as wife of President John Adams; she was also First mother when son John Quincy Adams took office.  Abigail Adams was one of the most influential first ladies in the history of the United States, and seen as a revolutionary woman for being business savvy at a time when women had little to no control over household finances. [Shuffelton, Frank. “A Revolutionary Woman.” The Wilson Quarterly Winter 2010: 104+]

Most Researched First Ladies:  Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt joined the political arena to keep her husband’s name alive in New York politics after he was stricken with polio in 1921. She went on to thrive in politics, serving as assistant director of the Office of Civilian Defense during World War II, U.S. delegate for the United Nations and chair of the Commission on Human Rights. [Riechers, Maggie. “Eleanor Roosevelt, No Ordinary Woman.” Humanities January/February 2000: 21+]

Most Researched First Ladies:  Dolley Madison

As an avid entertainer, Dolley Madison not only presided over the White House for the eight years her husband was in office, but also served as part-time hostess for the widower Thomas Jefferson. The socialite was often referred to as “Queen Dolley.” [Boller Jr.Paul F. Presidential Wives. New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1998.]

Most Researched First Ladies:  Mary Todd Lincoln

Born into wealth and refinement, Mary Todd Lincoln used her sophisticated taste to turn the White House into the symbol of importance it exists as today. Her marriage was struck with sorrow with early deaths of three of their four sons and later the assassination of her husband. [Schroeter, Joan G. “Julia Butler Newberry and Mary Todd Lincoln: Two “merry” Widows.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 95.3 (2002): 264+.]

Most Researched First Ladies:  Hillary Rodham Clinton 

It wasn’t always easy being Hillary Rodham Clinton in the White House. But, even after facing her husband’s sex scandal, she went on to conquer politics; running for the Democratic ticket in 2008 and now serving as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. [Stephen, Andrew. “Wherever Next for Clinton?.” New Statesman 22 February 2010: 20.]

Most Researched First Ladies:  Martha Washington 

“Lady Washington” as she became known, often described herself as a “state prisoner” while her husband was in office. However, she was an important asset as she was said to add charm that often offset her husband’s stiff demeanor. [Leibiger, Stuart. “Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty.” The Historian66.3 (2004): 576+.]

Most Researched First Ladies:  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 

This first lady often shied away from the spotlight, but her keen sense of style and quiet grace was difficult to ignore. She was said to have enhanced her husband’s popularity and effectiveness as president prior to his public assassination. She also kept her dignity during while the world speculated his alleged infidelity with Marilyn Monroe. [Mesic, Penelope. “Janet & Jackie: The Story of a Mother and Her Daughter Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.” Book November- December 2001: 57+.]

Most Researched First Ladies:  Michelle Obama

Another stylish presidential spouse, Michelle Obama continues to make it clear she’s a mother before first lady. She remains extremely active in her daughter’s lives and the lives of children across the country through her healthy eating initiative which she kicked off almost immediately after moving into the White House. [Bellantoni, Christina. “Michelle Obama Settling in as a Role Model; Hasn’t Named Signature Issue for Her Tenure.” TheWashington Times [Washington D.C.] 10 April 2009: A06.]

Most Researched First Ladies:  Claudia (Lady Bird) Johnson

If it wasn’t for Lady Bird Johnson’s wealthy father, husband Lyndon Johnson would not have been able to afford to run for office at all. It was her father who put up the initial financing for his campaign, but only if Lyndon promised Lady Bird he’d be a gentleman about it and not sling mud. [Dallek, Robert. Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.]

Most Researched First Ladies:  Nancy Reagan 

Nancy Reagan played an integral role in her husband’s presidential life. She controlled his schedule, especially after the assassination attempt, and was very influential in staffing decisions. She also lobbied President Reagan, the former Hollywood actor, to increase AIDS funding following the death of their friend Rock Hudson. [Eksterowicz, Anthony J. “Nancy Reagan: On the White House Stage.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 36.4 (2006): 769+.]

This information on the most researched First Ladies was all found using Questia, which saves students valuable time on research papers and projects.

With Questia, students can accurately cite sources in seven different styles and organize their notes, research and sources all in one place.

Librarians have specially selected Questia’s 77,000 academic books and 4 million journal articles—many of which are peer-reviewed. Since Questia is accessible 24/7, students can research any time of day from anywhere, with the confidence that they’re using credible content from trustworthy sources.

Thank you to Questia for providing this list of The Most Researched First Ladies in honor of Women’s History month.


Pat Wyman

 Pat Wyman is the founder of HowToLearn.com and a best selling author. 

She teaches at California State University, East Bay and is known as America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert. She helps children and adults solve learning problems with her Amazing Grades Study Skills System and is an expert in learning styles. 

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