First ladies with more than just a pretty face

Many Northern Kentucky University’s students chose to celebrate their accomplishments at the Celebration in the Student Union Ballroom on campus this past Wednesday.

Of the many different participants, the College of Informatics filled a large portion of the room with their projects.

Sarah Kellam, a sophomore electronic media broadcasting major, presented her project on the First Ladies and Their Effects on the Presidency. Kellam dedicated two weeks to a 35 page paper, which was only required to be 10 pages and a poster board that would display her results.

“My main focus was to capture the influence that the first lady has on the presidency of her husband,” Kellam said. “There was a lot that they did behind closed doors that no one even knows about. Most [first ladies] should be ready to play the flouncy roll, as I’d like to say, but I thought, ‘what if they actually did something that had substance.’”

According to Kellam, much of her research was based on the responsibilities that the wives took on for their husbands that affected the media in a political way, whether it be negative or positive.

“Sarah Polk is actually one of my favorite first ladies to ever have lived simply because James Polk had mostly wanted her for her intelligence,” Kellam said. “She actually wrote a lot of his speeches. I just find it all really fascinating.”

However, not all of Kellam’s research proved the First Ladies to be beneficial to their husband’s career.

“Rachel Jackson is an interesting woman,” Kellam laughed. “She was actually married to Lewis Black when she met Andrew Jackson. Lewis filed for divorce, but withheld the paperwork until Rachel and Andrew were legally married. So he then brought it to life that she technically had two husbands for six months to a year. And that was thrown in Jackson’s face a lot; that he couldn’t control his wife.”

Kellam’s poster includes the stories and research of 12 First Ladies that could shock many.