TheNational hamburger logo

Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 March 2021

All the memoirs penned by former US first ladies: from 'Becoming' to 'What Happened'

Melania Trump may be in talks to publish a memoir about her time in the White House, and she certainly wouldn't be the first

Melania Trump may join Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton in writing memoirs after leaving the White House. 
Melania Trump may join Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton in writing memoirs after leaving the White House. 

She hasn’t left the White House just yet, but rumour has it that the first lady, Melania Trump may have plans to pen a tell-all memoir about her time in Washington, DC's most famous address.

According to Page Six, the former model, 50, is said to be “having meetings” to discuss a possible book deal with reports that she has been encouraged to do so by her husband current US President Donald Trump.

A quick look through history shows that memoirs by presidential spouses were not very common until the publication of Betty Ford's The Times of My Life in 1978.

Since then, every first lady has written and published at least one memoir about their life, with those written by Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter and Barbara Bush also outselling the memoirs of their husbands.

But in addition to making the most out of the sudden free time, publishing can also be a lucrative way to earn an income once out of the White House, as shown by Barack and Michelle Obama. The couple reportedly earned $60 million for a package deal to the rights to their memoirs.

So while Melania certainly isn't the first and likely won't be the last, here’s a look at the other former US first ladies who have written memoirs since departing the White House:

The Personal Memoirs of Julia Dent Grant (1975) – Julia Grant

Recollections of Full Years (1914) – Helen Taft

My Memoir (1939) – Edith Wilson

This is My Story (1937), This I Remember (1949), On My Own (1958), The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt (1961) – Eleanor Roosevelt

A White House Diary (1970) – Lady Bird Johnson

The Times of My Life (1978), Betty: A Glad Awakening (1987) – Betty Ford

First Lady from Plains (1984), Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life (1987) – Rosalynn Carter

Nancy: The Autobiography of America's First Lady (1980), My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan (1989) – Nancy Reagan

Barbara Bush: A Memoir (1994), Reflections: Life After the White House (2004) – Barbara Bush

Living History (2003), Hard Choices (2014), What Happened (2017) – Hillary Clinton

Spoken from the Heart (2010) – Laura Bush

Becoming (2018) – Michelle Obama

Here's a look at all the US first ladies in history:

Updated: November 29, 2020 12:21 PM

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one