First Ladies, The Saga of the Presidents' Wives and Their Power by Carl Sferrazza Anthony
The two volumes are chock full of details.
First Ladies: An Intimate Look at How 38 Women Handled What May Be the Most Demanding Unpaid, Unelected Job in America by Betty Caroli
Caroli is one of the foremost researchers on First Ladies. She is highly opinionated.
Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our Recent History by Kati Marton
This book is very readable and well-researched. Marton speaks only of first ladies from the 20th century, and fills in many blanks in historic renderings of Bess Truman, Edith Wilson, Helen Taft, Rosalyn Carter, Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan, Jacqueline Kennedy, Barbara and Laura Bush, Lady Bird Johnson, Hillary Clinton and Betty Ford.
Smithsonian Book of the First Ladies: Their Lives, Times, and Issues edited by Edith Mayo
Highlights the lives of all 43 First Ladies, including the strict Sarah Polk, who allowed no dancing in the White House, to Lucy Hays, who held firm in her belief that even Presidential wives should not try to influence their husbands' politics. This well-researched volume includes 127 photographs and paintings.
Rating the First Ladies by John Roberts II
Despite the biases inherent in rating people's usefulness or effectiveness, this book is a good snapshot of first ladies from Martha to Laura. The ratings came from a survey of academic experts, those presumably teaching about first ladies in colleges and universities across the country.
The Presidents, First Ladies and Vice Presidents by Daniel C. Diller and Stephen L. Robertson
A very nice little reference that provides snapshot biographies. A photo or artist's rendering is included for each person.
First Ladies: A Biographical Dictionary by Dorothy and Carl Schneider
This is a very handy reference title. No surprises.
The following books are not held by Lincoln City Libraries:
First Ladies: An Anecdotal History by Paul Boller
This account of first ladies is sort of demeaning, even misogynistic, as the author seems to pick out personal characteristics of women without regard to the difficulties of the period or the personal struggles the women faced.
The Ladies of the White House by Laura Holloway
Written originally in 1881, updated twice. This fascinating look at the first presidential wives is the first and possibly only full rendering of the earliest Presidential First Ladies.