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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

First Lady of the
United States
Michelle Obama

since January 20, 2009
Style Mrs. Obama
Residence White House
Inaugural holder Martha Washington
Formation April 30, 1789
Website First Ladies

The Office of the First Lady of the United States is accountable to the First Lady of the United States for her to carry out her duties as hostess of the White House, and is also in charge of all social and ceremonial events of the White House. The First Lady has her own staff that includes the White House Social Secretary, a Chief of Staff, Press Secretary, Chief Floral Designer, Executive Chef, etc. The Office of the First Lady is an entity of the White House Office, part of the Executive Office of the President[1].


First Lady Caroline Harrison, could be widely considered to be the first First Lady to have a staff, whose niece served as social secretary. Florence Harding had a "funded staff", a social secretary and an assistant, Grace Coolidge had a social secretary, Polly Randolph.

Eleanor Roosevelt had a staff of only two, her personal secretary and aide Malvina Thompson, and social secretary Edith Helm; at first, the three of them had a second-floor office in the Mansion, but later initiated the use of a first lady's office in the newly constructed East Wing. Bess Truman had a personal secretary and used Mrs. Roosevelt's former White House sitting room while two other secretaries, plus the White House Military Aide, were located in the East Wing. Mamie Eisenhower had Mrs. Roosevelt's old desk placed in her bedroom. Mamie's social secretary headed a small staff in the East Wing. Jackie Kennedy had a staff of forty in the East Wing, directed by the social secretary; her unofficial office was the Treaty Room on the second floor of the Mansion. Lady Bird Johnson and Pat Nixon both used a sitting room/dressing room adjacent to the bedroom as their offices; their staffs were in the East Wing. Betty Ford used the Treaty Room as her office and also had a desk in her sitting room.

Rosalynn Carter broke tradition and set up an office for herself in the East Wing, and for the first time it was formally called "Office of the First Lady." Her principal assistant was the first to hold a separately identified position with the title "chief of staff to the first lady." Nancy Reagan moved her office back into the center of the second floor of the Mansion, though her staff remained in the East Wing; she benefited from the 1978 statute (PL 95-570) which authorizes "assistance and services . . . to be provided to the spouse of the President in connection with assistance provided by such spouse to the President in the discharge of the President’s duties and responsibilities."

Hillary Clinton broke tradition even further: the President gave her an office on the second floor of the West Wing itself; her staff of twenty (plus another fifteen interns and volunteers) was divided between a suite in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the traditional locus of the East Wing.

First Lady Laura Bush had her office in the East Wing, and delivered the President's radio address to the nation on November 17, 2001. She undertook many foreign trips on her own, meeting and talking with several foreign chiefs of state.[2]

Key staff

  • Chief of Staff to the First Lady: Susan Sher[3]
    • Deputy Chief of Staff to the First Lady: Melissa Winter[4]
    • Deputy Chief of Staff to the First Lady: David Medina
  • Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady: Camille Johnston[5]
    • Press Secretary for the First Lady: Katie McCormick Lelyveld[5]
      • Deputy Press Secretary for the First Lady: Semonti Mustaphi[5]
  • Director of Policy and Projects: Jocelyn Frye
    • Deputy Director of Policy and Projects: Trooper Sanders
  • Director of Scheduling and Advance: Franny Starkey Sanguin
    • Deputy Director of Scheduling & Events: Jennifer Goodman
      • Special Assistant for Scheduling &Traveling Aide: Kristen Jarvis
  • Associate Counsel to the President and Counsel to the First Lady:




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