First Ladies of the United States are important—and usually popular—figureheads and participants in their husbands’ administrations. (Today First Lady Michelle Obama is one of the only political figures with a positive approval rating.) Dolley (sometimes spelled Dolly) Madison, wife of the fourth President of the United States, helped defined the role of First Lady as hostess to the White House and national mistress of ceremony. Her practicality, social graces, and quick-thinking make her a worthy example of Wifery in Action. Read the rest of this entry
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In his Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, Founding Brothers, Joseph Ellis names Abigail Adams as one of the eight most prominent political leaders in early America alongside such greats as her husband, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. (It almost goes without saying that she is the only woman on his list.) Her loyalty to her husband, devotion to their common cause, and excellence as a wife and mother make her a beautiful example of Wifery in Action. Read the rest of this entry
Because there isn’t a clear, written tradition of what it is to be an excellent married woman, examples of great wifery are hard to come by. That’s why Marie-Anne Pierette Paulze, wife of pioneering chemist Antoine Lavoisier, earned her place as the “poster wife” for Experimental Wifery.
When Marie-Anne was thirteen, the almost-forty-year-old Count d’Amerval asked for her hand. He even tried to pressure her father into the ill-conceived match by threatening his job. To save both his daughter and his livelihood, Marie-Anne’s father offered her hand to a younger man and respected colleague, Antoine Lavoisier. Read the rest of this entry