Edith Bolling Wilson was flamboyant, confident, and controversial -- not surprising for a first lady who saw herself as President Woodrow Wilson's principal advisor and, some would argue, acted as shadow president after his stroke in 1919.
Historian Kristie Miller delves into Edith Wilson's life in Formidable First Lady or First Woman President? on Thursday, June 21, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. in the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
The event is part of the Hail to the Chiefs series on the American Presidency co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute and co-sponsored by KCUR's Up to Date.
Drawing extensively on the Woodrow Wilson papers and newly available material, Miller examines how private and public emotions interacted at a pivotal moment in the history of the country and how, during the president's convalescence, the First Lady was regularly refered to as "Madame Regent," "the Assistant President," and "the Presidentrix."
Miller's assessment of Edith Wilson goes beyond previous flattering accounts and critical assessments. She examines a woman who overstepped her role by hiding her husband's serious illness to allow him to remain in office. But, Miller concludes, Edith was acting as she knew her husband would have wished.
Kristie Miller is a research associate at the Southwest Center, University of Arizona, and author of Ellen and Edith: Woodrow Wilson's First Ladies.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event.RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407.