The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 21, 2013

Carol Stark: First ladies series tells other half of story

By Carol Stark
Globe Editor

JOPLIN, Mo. — Who was the first lawyer to become a first lady? If you said Hillary Clinton, you are correct.

Here’s a question that’s a little more difficult: Who is the only first lady to have been legally adopted by her mother’s second husband?

That would be Nancy Reagan.

And, did you know that Barbara Bush is the only first lady to author a memoir from the viewpoint of the White House dog, her beloved Millie?

That’s just a sample of some of the things you will learn — or be reminded of — in our history series “First Ladies of America,” which begins on Monday. Because Monday also marks the inauguration of President Barack Obama, we will begin the series with a profile on first lady Michelle Obama and work our way through history to Martha Washington.

Our 2012 profiles of all the presidents, published up through Election Day, were so popular with our readers that we decided to tell the other half of the story. I knew even before we had finalized the details who I wanted as our writer. It had to be Katy Schrader. She formerly worked as a Globe reporter and then later worked as our Newspaper in Education coordinator. She is now getting her master’s degree, but continues to be an ardent champion of good writing and history.

I’ll never forget the day that Katy called me on the phone and jubilantly announced that she had discovered a photo of an actual pair of earrings worn by Pocahontas. For Katy, it was like winning the lottery. Painstaking in her attention to detail, Katy is researching and writing the first ladies series, while Freeman Health System is sponsoring the project.

The profiles will run consecutively for 45 days and will include photos — some of which have been difficult to obtain — of the first ladies.

I hope you enjoy this series of articles and share them with your friends and family.

Inauguration Day coverage

Inauguration Day occurs in the U.S. once every four years on Jan. 20, except when that day falls on a Sunday. If it does, the swearing-in ceremonies, the address and the balls are held on Jan. 21.

We will be offering our readers live coverage via of the national scene, along with snapshots and interviews with local residents who will be in Washington D.C.

Among those will be the McDonald County High School band members who are scheduled to take part in some of President Barack Obama’s inaugural ceremonies.

Sanjay Jenkins, a junior at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School in Joplin, will attend the High School Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington, D.C., scheduled Jan. 19-23. Participants will study and discuss campaign strategy and presidential politics with historians and political experts.  

There will also be 14 Pittsburg High School students in Washington D.C., for a field trip that will coincide with the inauguration ceremonies.

The theme for the 2013 inauguration is “Faith in America’s Future.” To be held on Martin Luther King Day, it also marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome in 1863.

We look forward to comments and reaction from local residents who will be in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

Carol Stark is editor of The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to her, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email Follow Carol Stark on Twitter @carolstark30.