First Ladies Study

About the Study:

The First Ladies Study has been conducted five times over the past thirty-one years. Results have been cited or published in journals, and both academic and popular outlets including Presidential Quarterly, Betty Boyd Caroli’s First Ladies, American First Ladies edited by Lewis L. Gould, the New York Times and CBS, as well as used by high schools and colleges to stimulate interest in First Ladies.

 

In 2014, the Siena College Research Institute collaborated with C-SPAN and The White House Historical Association to conduct its fifth comprehensive study of the First Ladies of the United States.

Press Release Previous Rankings Power Couples Recent First Ladies

Overall Rankings

To see more about the First Ladies study and the C-SPAN First Ladies: Image and Influence series visit the C-SPAN site.

In the 2008 study, SCRI found that experts continued to rank Eleanor Roosevelt number one and Hillary Clinton climbed from number five to number four.

Press Release Overall Rankings 

In the 2003 study, while Roosevelt remained on top, Hillary Clinton moved from second place to fifth and Jackie Kennedy moved from seventh to fourth.

Press Release Overall Rankings 

Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush pushed Martha Washington out of the top 10.  

Press Release Overall Rankings 

The very first SCRI First Ladies study found that Eleanor Roosevelt was rated number one, while Mary Todd Lincoln was ranked as last.

Press Release Overall Rankings 

First Ladies Initiatives & Influences

Be Best is Melania Trump’s initiative. There are three main pillars to this program, and they are well-being, online safety/cyberbullying, and opioid abuse. These are important causes to First Lady Melania Trump.

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Let’s Move! is a public health campaign that was started by Michelle Obama. It aims to decrease childhood obesity, and make sure that children are leading healthy lives that can follow them into adulthood.

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Laura Bush focused on advancing literature and education reform in the nation. Ready to Read, Ready to Learn was an education initiative that promoted reading in early childhood education. 

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Nancy Reagan focused her campaign on teaching young people to “just say no” to drugs, and implemented this initiative in schools, rehabilitation, and prevention centers across the world.

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Rosalynn Smith Carter was very invested in dedicating her time as First Lady to raising mental health awareness. She had a particular interest in making sure that there was funding for research in the mental health field.

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Betty Ford was known for her openness. In particular, she spoke about her own experience with mental health, her personal psychiatric stay, and the need for breast cancer awareness. She also supported the Equal Rights Amendment.

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Eleanor Roosevelt was known for traveling, speaking on radio shows, and being a spokeswoman for the United Nations. Mrs. Roosevelt backed what her husband was doing in office, and pushed a lot of his human rights campaigns during the Great Depression.

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Abigail Filmore had a great passion for the arts. In her free time, she was often playing music. She fought for permission from Congress to build the first White House library, and spent countless hours selecting books, as she won approval.

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