Complete Story


Nancy Kegan Smith

FLARE President,

Nancy Kegan Smith, FLARE vice president, grew up in an historical environment with her mother, Dr. Adrienne Koch, chair of the American Studies Department at the University of California at Berkeley in the mid 1950s through the early 1960s, a time when women were not department chairs in universities. She was raised with the message that you can achieve anything you work for and that women have so much to give to society.

Ms. Smith worked for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as an archivist from 1973 until 2012 when she retired. She started her career as an archivist at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. In that capacity she processed some of Mrs. Johnson’s files including her Beautification files and developed a great respect for Mrs. Johnson and her legacy. In 1989 she co-edited and compiled the book, Modern First Ladies: Their Documentary Legacy. In that same year she moved to Washington, DC, first working for NARA’s Office of Presidential Libraries and later becoming the Director of the Presidential Materials Division, the Division at NARA that advised the White House on Presidential and First Lady’s records and gift issues and moves of Presidential records.

After retirement from the government, Ms. Smith was a consultant to the University of Chicago on the Obama Presidential Library project. Ms. Smith has authored numerous publications and lectures on access to Presidential records, the Presidential Library system and First Ladies and their papers. She currently lectures and writes on First Ladies including Lady Bird Johnson and Michelle Obama. Some of Ms. Smith’s recent actives include: an opinion piece for CNN “Three First Ladies who risked their Lives for Civil Rights” with Dr. Diana Carlin and Anita McBride; a panelist along with Dr. Carlin and Anita McBride for a virtual program of the National Archives Foundation on First Ladies and Civil Rights, two presentations on Mrs. Johnson for the White House Historical Association programs on First Ladies, and a 2020 podcast interview on First Ladies for American POTUS.

She is the co-author with Diana Carlin and Anita B. McBride of two books: U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies (a college textbook) and Remember the First Ladies: America's History-Making Women

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