About the National First Ladies' Library

Our Mission

As the first and only facility of its kind, the National First Ladies' Library serves as a unique national resource for patrons from school children to serious scholars.  As a national archive devoted to educating people about the contributions of First Ladies and other notable women in history, the Library's holdings fill an informational void that has long frustrated academicians and armchair history buffs alike.  The Library fulfills this mission by serving as a physical educational facility and an electronic virtual library, in an effort to educate people in the United States and around the world.

Our Objectives
  • Update each year a complete, annotated bibliography developed on First Ladies - from Martha Custis Washington to Michelle Lavaughn Robinson Obama
  • Compile, assemble and produce complete curriculum enrichment units and study guides for classroom students K through 12 on the contributions of First Ladies to American History
  • Plan and conduct seminars, workshops and lectures on the role of First Ladies and how it has changed over the centuries
  • Collect all the current and out-of-print books by and about First Ladies, as well as films, documentaries and other audio visual materials
  • Collect copies of First Ladies' letters, speeches and manuscripts dealing with the major social issues of their time, now scattered throughout the country
Our Accomplishments
  • Restore and historically documented all the public rooms located in the family home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley from the parlor through the kitchen
  • Restore and renovated the historic 1895 City National Bank Building, which now serves as a research library and educational center dedicated to the history of First Ladies and notable women in America
  • Established the first and only online bibliography of America's First Ladies
  • Established the first and only website devoted to the history of America's First Ladies
Who We Are

The National First Ladies’ Library is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that operates and manages the First Ladies National Historic Site in a partnership agreement with the National Park Service. In October, 2000 President Bill Clinton signed a bill establishing the First Ladies National Site as the 380thunit of the National Park Service. The site consists of the Ida Saxton McKinley House, the family home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley and the longtime residence of William and Ida McKinley, and the Education and Research Center. The Ed Center has exhibit space, a Victorian theatre, a research library, conference and seminar rooms, archival storage and processing rooms, and administrative offices.

Timeline History of the National First Ladies’ Library

 

1994 – Mary Regula asks 13 local activist women to help her start an organization dedicated to the contributions of First Ladies.

 

January 13, 1995 – Mary Regula meets with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss her idea for a library dedicated to First Ladies and her plans to develop a bibliography of materials on First Ladies. Mrs. Clinton:

  • Overwhelmingly pronounced project long overdue
  • Agreed to become honorary co-chair
  • Told Mary she had heard about Carl Anthony, well known historian, first ladies author and bibliographer

January 30, 1995 – First official meeting with founding board – First Ladies Library founded – Mary Regula, Suzanne Timken, and 13 members found organization

 

January, 1996 – Library signs contract with Carl Anthony to develop bibliography

 

September 1997 – organization incorporated in District of Columbia under legal name National First Ladies’ Library

  • National Board of Directors, National Advisory Board and Local Site Committee formed
  • 501 (c) (3) nonprofit status achieved

September 1997 – Marshall Belden, Jr. offers to donate 1895 City National Bank Building to National First Ladies’ Library for future expansion

 

January 1998 – official announcement of formation of new national organization, National First Ladies’ Library, announced at Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.

 

February 23, 1998 – Web site officially unveiled at press conference in East Room of White House.

  • First Lady Hillary Clinton makes first “hit” on web site; accesses her own bibliographic records

June 8, 1998 – Grand Opening and Dedication of Saxton McKinley House as home of National First Ladies’ Library

  • Ribbon cut by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
  • Victorian Gala attended by 300 + people

March, 1999 – Bob Gaede of Gaede Serne Architects presents schematic plan for City National Bank Building to National Board Meeting in Washington, D.C.

 

March, 1999 – “First Ladies Salute First Women” held in Washington, D.C. at Reagan International Trade Center

 

May 1999 – Library accepts donation of City National Bank Building

 

July 23, 1999 – First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visits Canton, Ohio

  • Tours National First Ladies’ Library home – the Ida Saxton McKinley House
  • Announces City National Bank Building “Official Project” of Save America’s Treasures – a millennium project initiative of President and Mrs. Clinton
    • Building will become National First Ladies’ Library Education and Research Center

August, 1999 – the deed for the City National Bank Building is officially transferred to National First Ladies’ Library

 

January, 2000 – Library is notified of $2.5 million Save America’s Treasures match grant for City National Bank

 

June, 2000 – 2nd “First Ladies Salute First Women” held in Washington, D.C. at Smithsonian’s American History Museum

 

October 20, 2000 – bill signed by President Bill Clinton establishing First Ladies National Historic Site

  • National First Ladies’ Library to operate and manage site under a cooperative agreement with National Park Service
  • Site consists of Saxton McKinley House with provision in bill that if City National Bank Building (now the Education and Research Center) is donated to National Park Service, it will become part of national historic site

June, 2001 – Contract signed with Drake Construction for renovation of City National Bank

 

September 10, 2001 – 3rd “First Ladies Salute First Women” held in Washington, D.C. at National Museum of Women in the Arts.

 

March, 2003 – National First Ladies’ Library begins renovation of Stark Community Foundation’s former offices at Saxton House. Renovation complete September 2003

 

July, 2003 –RotaryParkand adjacent surface parking lot donated to National First Ladies’ Library

 

September 4, 2003 – First Lady Laura Bush dedicates Education and Research Center in Canton

 

March 13, 2006 – National First Ladies’ Library hosts its first symposium

 

May 17, 2008 – National First Ladies’ Library hosts its second symposium

 

June 8, 2008 – 10-year anniversary of the dedication of the Saxton McKinley House

 

September 4, 2008 – 5-year anniversary of the dedication of the Education and Research Center

 

September 3, 2009 – Saxton McKinley House is dedicated the William McKinley Historic Home based on research showing that William and Ida lived longer in that home than in any other private residence.


September, 2011 – Education and Research Center is donated to the National Park Service and becomes part of the First Ladies National Historic Site. National First Ladies’ Library remains as the managing/operating partner of the site for the National Park Service. The “First Ladies Park” and the gated parking lot continue to be owned privately by the National First Ladies’ Library.