Press coverage of the personal appearance of presidents' wives, Truman to Johnson, (1945-1968)

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Judith Davis Gair (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Eunice M. Deemer

Abstract: This study investigated the descriptions the press gave of four Presidents' wives: Mrs. Truman, Mrs. Eisenhower, Mrs. Kennedy, and Mrs. Johnson. Articles in Newsweek, Time, McCalls, Ladies' Home Journal, and Good Housekeeping were compared as to the length of articles and the type of press coverage given to each first lady's personal appearance her first year and her last year in the White House. The length of each article and the amount of each devoted to the first lady's personal appearance were measured in column inches. Comments on the personal appearance were categorized according to eleven "categories of press coverage." The most evident difference was between the coverage given the first year and that given the last year. Of the thirty-six articles studied only two were published during a last year. The news magazines published more articles which were shorter but contained a larger percentage of fashion coverage than those in women's magazines. Twice as many articles were published about Mrs. Kennedy as about any other first lady. These articles were also longer and a larger percentage of each was devoted to fashion coverage. It was, therefore, concluded that the first lady's personal appearance her first year in the White House is a topic of interest to the news media.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1972

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