AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The children of three U.S. presidents are set to talk about life in the White House at a conference on first ladies being held Thursday at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin.
Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, along with Steve Ford and Lynda Johnson Robb are expected to speak, as are former first ladies Laura Bush and Barbara Bush.
Although similar conferences have been held in the past, Thursday's event is the first featuring children of presidents, said Anita McBride, who is chairing the conference series.
"They will bring a different perspective," said McBride, Laura Bush's chief of staff during her time in the White House who now teaches at American University.
McBride helped kick off the daylong conference with a panel of historians and former White House staffers discussing first ladies throughout history.
"The demands are so much greater than people realize," she said.
Richard Norton Smith, a historian and author, said first ladies' causes have at times been dictated by circumstance, noting the impact Betty Ford had when she took on breast cancer awareness after her diagnosis.
Her fight against breast cancer also had a significant impact on men across the nation, added Allida Black, historian and director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. "You should read the letters that men wrote to her," Black said.
The conference, "The Enduring Legacies of America's First Ladies" is part of a series of presentations on first ladies presented by American University and the White House Historical Association. Others have been hosted in Texas by the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station.