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First Ladies in the “Roaring Twenties”

For various reasons, we are more aware of some First Ladies than others. Last week, I skipped over Edith Roosevelt and Helen Taft in favor of closing the blog with Edith Wilson. This week, I intended to begin with Lou Hoover, but I started thinking about 1920 as a pivotal year.  The United States had

First Ladies in Unusual Circumstances

After the civil war, American First Ladies were women with direct experience in the social movements of their time. As young women, none had any expectation of the office they would hold, but their role as presidential spouses continued to bring change to the White House. The Election of 1876 After eight years in the

First Ladies: Expanding the Role

During the course of the nineteenth century, First Ladies emerged from behind their husband’s careers to become separate personalities. Though these women were still identified most broadly as wives and mothers, social expectations changed. This second installment in my series about First Ladies profiles a selection of nineteenth century First Ladies who caught my interest:

The Danish Art of Hygge

January is a month of new beginnings. In past years that meant making life-improving resolutions to exercise, or become more organized, or de-clutter. Any or all of these activities are tied to an overall concept of happiness, sometimes defined a the state of being happy. Similar to: contentment, pleasure, satisfaction, cheerfulness. Last year the guru

Christmas Star 2020

Solstice, the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, happens on December 21. In addition to being the longest night, December 21, 2020 is also the date of the Great Conjunction when Jupiter and Saturn will be so closely aligned that, providing the night is clear, you can go outside and see a

Christmas Cards: From Convenient Greeting to Annual Burden

I grew up in a different America, one that had one black plastic rotary phone per household and one black & white family television powered by tubes. Yes, it was that long ago. Christmas trees were “live” with scraggly branches and decorated with strands of tinsel that had to be correctly placed, usually by a

SANTA, ELVES, & LIFE ON THE NORTH POLE

With the Thanksgiving holiday in the “rear-view” mirror, many Americans focus their attention on end of the year celebrations. And the most popular symbol of secular joy is Santa Claus. Many cultures celebrate a generous gift-giving spirit. In the United States, he goes by the name Santa Claus and is instantly recognizable in his red

The First Thanksgiving Feast

Over the years, historians have shared stories about the multi-cultural harvest event that took place in Plymouth in 1621. The usual version is that when the Pilgrims arrived on Cape Cod, the Wampanoag People showed them how to plant corn, and that when the harvest came in, everyone celebrated. If you don’t look too closely,

Cranberries — An American Fruit

Do you recognize this iconic Norman Rockwell picture? The artist created it in 1943 with the title Freedom from Want to illustrate one of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms justifying American participation World War II. The illustration went on to represent the perfect American Thanksgiving Celebration. Three generations gather around the dinner table to enjoy a truly