My Dear President is a historic, heartfelt collection of letters between first ladies and presidents — including many that have never been published — that casts a warm, new light on our leaders at their most open-hearted and vulnerable.
“I am very madly in love with you,” wrote Lyndon Johnson to his future wife, Bird Taylor. James Madison sent off this plaintive line to his wife Dolley: “Every thing around and within reminds me that you are absent.” In this inspiring collection of correspondence between U.S. presidents and their wives are hundreds of unguarded moments of affection, strain, grief, and triumph, revealing as never before the private thoughts and working partnerships of our most public figures. Culled from the holdings of the Library of Congress and various presidential libraries and private collections, it is the most comprehensive compilation of its kind ever put together.
Gerard Gawalt, a curator of presidential papers at the Library of Congress for the past thirty years, has divided the book thematically into such topics as love, war, politics, travel, and sorrow. Each letter appears in its entirety, with the original spelling and grammar intact, and is set in historic context for a full sense of the moment that formed its backdrop. In most cases, exchanges are included, forming an enlightening dialogue between husband and wife. Throughout, historic photographs and artwork from the Library of Congress’s collection enhance the text. Like its companion volume, First Daughters, My Dear President is bound to become a cherished gift for all those interested in American history for years to come.