Bringing Home the White House

The Hidden History of Women Who Shaped the Presidency in the Twentieth Century

Title Details

Pages: 224

Illustrations: 11 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 09/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6510-7

List Price: $32.95

Bringing Home the White House

The Hidden History of Women Who Shaped the Presidency in the Twentieth Century

Casting a light on women at the forefront of historic presidential campaigns

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  • Description
  • Reviews

In Bringing Home the White House, Melissa Estes Blair introduces us to five fascinating yet largely unheralded women who were at the heart of campaigns to elect and reelect some of our most beloved presidents. By examining the roles of these political strategists in affecting the outcome of presidential elections, Blair sheds light on their historical importance and the relevance of their individual influence.

In the middle decades of the twentieth century both major political parties had Women’s Divisions. The leaders of these divisions—five women who held the job from 1932 until 1958—organized tens of thousands of women all over the country, turning them into the “saleswomen for the party” by providing them with talking points, fliers, and other material they needed to strike up political conversations with their friends and neighbors. The leaders of the Women’s Divisions also produced a huge portion of the media used by the campaigns—over 90 percent of all print material in the 1930s—and were close advisors of the presidents of both parties.

In spite of their importance, these women and their work have been left out of the narratives of midcentury America. In telling the story of these five West Wing women, Blair reveals the ways that women were central to American politics from the depths of the Great Depression to the height of the Cold War.

Bringing Home the White House is a revelation. The story of midcentury party politics usually focuses on powerful men in smoke-filled rooms. But in this vital new book, Melissa Estes Blair has recovered the remarkable stories of the powerful women who, at a time when the ideal woman stayed at home, transformed the parties and the presidency.

—Nicole Hemmer, director of the Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Center for the Study of the Presidency, Vanderbilt University

Melissa Estes Blair writes with confidence, clarity, and great insight about women who worked with varying degrees of success to carve places for professional political women in the RNC and DNC. An important story told with great sensitivity.

—Karissa Haugeberg, coeditor of Women's America: Refocusing the Past

About the Author/Editor

MELISSA ESTES BLAIR is associate professor of history at Auburn University. She is the author of Revolutionizing Expectations: Women’s Organizations, Feminism, and American Politics, 1965–1980 (Georgia). She lives in Auburn, Alabama.