My First Ladies: Twenty-five Years as the White House Chief Floral Designer
by Nancy Clarke
Sellers Publishing, Inc. (2001)
Nancy Clarke was chief floral designer at the White House and worked with First Ladies, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. I enjoy nonfiction that teaches me something. From this book, I learned that the Christmas decorations at the White House have a different theme every year, and the staff starts planning at least nine months in advance. I didn’t know that the First Family’s residence and offices always have fresh flowers. The most surprising thing was that even today, the First Lady is still the hostess and makes the decisions about the details for every major event with help from the White House florist, chef, pastry chef and usher, and the First Lady’s personal secretary and designer. Some First Ladies were more involved than others. When Hillary Clinton was working on health care reform and when Michelle Obama was settling her girls into the White House, they delegated some of these responsibilities.
Sadly, I first heard of My First Ladies in a news item about the author’s death. It took me a while to track down a copy, but it was worth the search.