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Nellie Taft

Carl Sferrazza Anthony

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Description

On the morning of William Howard Taft's inauguration, Nellie Taft publicly expressed that theirs would be a joint presidency by shattering precedent and demanding that she ride alongside her husband down Pennsylvania Avenue, a tradition previously held for the outgoing president. In an era before Eleanor Roosevelt, this progressive First Lady was an advocate for higher education and partial suffrage for women, and initiated legislation to improve working conditions for federal employees. She smoked, drank, and gambled without regard to societal judgment, and she freely broke racial and class boundaries.

Drawing from previously unpublished diaries, a lifetime of love letters between Will and Nellie, and detailed family correspondence and recollections, critically acclaimed presidential family historian Carl Sferrazza Anthony develops a riveting portrait of Nellie Taft as one of the strongest links in the series of women -- from Abigail Adams to Hillary Rodham Clinton -- often critically declared "copresidents."

Publishers Weekly Review

Feb 28, 2005 – Anthony (First Ladies; Florence Harding; etc.) takes on one of the least compelling First Ladies and does his best to make her colorful. Helen "Nellie" Herron Taft (1861–1943) went through life underwhelmed by power, having visited the White House for the first time at age 17. Despite Anthony's occasional attempts to make Nellie out to be a revolutionary ragtime heroine of women's rights and a precursor of such policy-driven first ladies as Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton, Nellie seems, on the facts, to have been a typical wife of her time and a devoted mother to her three children. Yet, as Anthony shows, the one area where she was decidedly strong was in her always shrewd and sometimes shrill advocacy for her husband and his interests (think Nancy Reagan). Nellie's other attributes—such as her skill at fashioning elaborate White House balls—may be less remarkable to readers. The best part of his narrative concerns the year 1909–1910, when Nellie struggled successfully to come back from a debilitating stroke, continuing to run the household with the help of a daughter retrieved from college. Anthony is also adept at portraying the complex, calculated bitterness with which Nellie greeted TR's 1912 attempt to usurp his onetime golden boy, Taft, when TR mounted a third-party challenge that toppled him. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.
Nellie Taft
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Oct 13, 2009
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 560 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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