Inventing a Voice: The Rhetoric of American First Ladies of the Twentieth Century

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Molly Meijer Wertheimer
Rowman & Littlefield, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 486 pages
Inventing a Voice is a comprehensive work on the lives and communication of twentieth-century first ladies. Using a rhetorical framework, the contributors look at the speaking, writing, media coverage and interaction, and visual rhetoric of American first ladies from Ida Saxton McKinley to Laura Bush. The women's rhetorical devices varied--some practiced a rhetoric without words, while others issued press releases, gave speeches, and met with various constituencies. All used interpersonal or social rhetoric to support their husbands' relationships with world leaders, party officials, boosters, and the public. Featuring an extensive introduction and chapter on the 'First Lady as a Site of 'American Womanhood, '' Wertheimer has gathered a collection that includes the post-White House musings of many first ladies, capturing their reflections on public expectations and perceived restrictions on their communication.
 

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Contents

The First Lady A Site of American Womanhood
17
Ida Saxton McKinley Indomitable Spirit or Autocrat of the Sick Bed
31
Edith Kermit Roosevelt First Lady First Mommy
45
Helen Herron Taft Opportunity and Ambition
59
Ellen Axson Wilson A Rhetorical Reassessment of a Forgotten First Lady
79
Edith Bo1ling Ga1t Wilson Actions Speak Louder than Words
103
Florence Kling Harding Bridging Traditional and Modern Rhetorical Roles
125
Grace Goodhue Coolidge Articulating Virtue
145
Jacqueline Kennedy The Rhetorical Construction of Camelot
243
Lady Bird Johnson The Making of a Public First Lady with Private Influence
273
Pat Nixon Wisdom to Know the Difference
297
Betty Ford A Certain Comfort from a Candid First Lady
325
Rosalynn Carter Crafting a Presidential Partnership Rhetorically
341
Nancy Reagan Leading Lady Supporting Actress or Bit Player
365
Barbara Bush Her Rhetorical Development and Appeal
387
Hillary Rodham Clinton Using Her Vital Voice
417

Lou Henry Hoover Mining the Possibilities as Leader and First Lady
161
Eleanor Roosevelt A Rhetorical Reconstruction of First Ladydom
181
Bess Wallace Truman The Boss from Independence
205
Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower Reflecting the Mood of the Nation
223
Laura Bush Using the Magic of Words to Educate and Advocate
435
Index
467
About the Contributors
483
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Molly Meijer Wertheimer is professor of speech communications and affiliate associate professor of women's studies at Pennsylvania State University, Hazelton.

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