SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – If you’ve ever wondered how the role of First Lady evolved from purely social duties to the demanding obligations of today’s position, you’ll get an earful with “LADIES: A Conjecture of Personalities.” Its author, Feather Schwartz Foster, a New Jersey resident, will be discussing her book at noon Thursday, November 17 at Caldwell College, Caldwell, New Jersey. Designed specifically for the women’s history classes, the lecture is also open to the public.
According to the author, “The First Lady is a position that has truly evolved over the past two centuries. My book, ‘Ladies: A Conjecture….’ is devoted only to the First Ladies between Martha Washington and Mamie Eisenhower, however enormous strides were taken during those nearly-two centuries, to lay the groundwork for today’s “modern” position.”
Mrs. Foster, in addition to penning “LADIES: A Conjecture of Personalities,” has made more than a hundred appearances throughout the state to discuss her book. “With such a diverse cast of characters, as it were, they can be configured many different ways to make for a very entertaining program!” she said.
“The book, of course, is a work of fiction,” according to Mrs. Foster, “since the “old gals” tell their own stories – or, to be more exact, whatever they want – in their own words and in their own styles. It crosses boundaries between fact, conjecture and, most importantly, centuries. Through dialogue-boxes, the Ladies talk to each other across Eternity, where anything is possible. The Modern First Ladies, from Mrs. Kennedy through Mrs. Clinton participate in commentary. They talk to the reader and they talk amongst themselves. They talk about their husbands, and their children, and the White House, and the times they lived in. And, of course, politics. It’s not just the stories of their lives – it’s an opening into what they were like as people. They were definitely not the ‘non-entities’ that history usually calls them.
“It is definitely based on fact,” the author continued, “and for my discussion at Caldwell College, I will be focusing on the factual information about several First Ladies who either pushed the role forward, or perhaps found themselves being pushed along by societal changes.”
Author Feather Schwartz Foster has been an “amateur” presidential historian for more than three decades. Following a long career in advertising and having written a score of children’s musical shows, she has decided to draw on her thousand-volume personal presidential library and her love of history by penning “LADIES: A Conjecture….” Her second novel, “Garfield’s Train” was recently published and deals with President James Garfield’s death in Long Branch, in 1881.
The program is free of charge and open to the public.