• first lady;
  • presidential spouse;
  • president's spouse;
  • White House

Historically, the first lady has largely been omitted form consideration by presidential scholars. As such, the lion's share of textbook on the presidency, biographies of presidents, and scholarly conferences in political science and bistory failed to seriously consider the potential influence first ladies had on their husbands and White House decision making. Yet, a subfield of study is rapidly developing, and a compelling case exists for the systematic study of the presidential spouses. So too do many questions remain in regards to the direction and nature of the “field” of study. This article examines the current state of first lady scholarship and the challenges facing those doing research on the first ladies and offers proposals to guide further study.