Office of the First Lady of the United States

Office of the First Lady
Office overview
Formed 1977[1]
Headquarters East Wing of The White House
Employees 24[2]
Parent Office White House Office
Website First Lady Michelle Obama

The Office of the First Lady of the United States is the staff accountable to the First Lady of the United States. The office and its responsibilities, while not mandated, have grown as the role of the First Lady has grown and formalized through the history of the United States.[3] The Office of the First Lady is an entity of the White House Office, part of the Executive Office of the President.[4]

The First Lady has her own staff that includes a Chief of Staff,[5] White House Social Secretary,[6] Press Secretary,[7] White House Chief Floral Designer,[8] White House Executive Chef.[9]


Though the persona, activities, and initiatives of the First Lady have always been significant to the history of the United States, the first First Lady to hire federally funded staff was Edith Roosevelt, who hired Belle Hagner as the first White House Social Secretary on October 2, 1901.[10] Eleanor Roosevelt became the first First Lady to expand the office beyond social and administrative secretaries by hiring Malvina Thompson as her personal secretary[11] and Jackie Kennedy was the first to employ a Press Secretary[12][3]

It was under Rosalynn Carter that the First Lady's staff became known as Office of the First Lady. She organized the office into four major departments: projects and community liaison, press and research, schedule and advance, and social and personal; and was the first to add a Chief of Staff.[1]

Key staff, current (Michelle Obama)


  1. 1 2 "Rosalynn Carter—Miller Center". Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  2. "Michelle Obama's Staff". Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  3. 1 2 "The First Lady & Her Role - The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum". Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  4. "Executive Office of the President". United States Government. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  5. "Tina Tchen". 11 January 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  6. "Executive Office of the President". 23 December 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  7. 1 2 Goodin, Emily (11 December 2013). "Michelle Obama gets new press secretary". Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  8. "White House Announces New Chief Floral Designer, Hedieh Ghaffarian". 17 September 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  9. "White House Hires First Woman Chef". Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  10. "TR Center - Isabella Hagner". Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  11. "Malvina Thompson". Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  12. "KN-20218. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's Press Secretary Pamela Turnure Accepts Gift Recording of Pablo Casals' White House Concert - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum". Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  13. "President-elect Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama announce more key White House staff" (Press release). Office of the President-Elect. 2008-11-24. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
  14. "East Wing Announcement". 8 April 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
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