About the National First Ladies' Library

 Our Vision

We are the foremost repository of scholarly research and information and a leader in education about the First Ladies of the USA.  We work collaboratively with the National Park Service and others to operate, support, enhance and promote the First Ladies National Historic Site. 

Our Mission

We preserve, promote and educate about the significant role of First Ladies of the USA and their contributions throughout history.  

Who We Are

The National First Ladies’ Library is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that operates at First Ladies National Historic Site in a partnership agreement with the National Park Service. In October, 2000 President Bill Clinton signed a bill establishing the First Ladies National Site as the 380thunit of the National Park Service. The site consists of the Ida Saxton McKinley House, the family home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley and the longtime residence of William and Ida McKinley, and the Education and Research Center. The Ed Center has exhibit space, a Victorian theatre, a research library, conference and seminar rooms, archival storage and processing rooms, and administrative offices.

Timeline History of the National First Ladies’ Library


1994 – Mary Regula asks 13 local activist women to help her start an organization dedicated to the contributions of First Ladies.


January 13, 1995 – Mary Regula meets with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss her idea for a library dedicated to First Ladies and her plans to develop a bibliography of materials on First Ladies. Mrs. Clinton:

  • Overwhelmingly pronounced project long overdue
  • Agreed to become honorary co-chair
  • Told Mary she had heard about Carl Anthony, well known historian, first ladies author and bibliographer

January 30, 1995 – First official meeting with founding board – First Ladies Library founded – Mary Regula, Suzanne Timken, and 13 members found organization


January, 1996 – Library signs contract with Carl Anthony to develop bibliography


September 1997 – organization incorporated in District of Columbia under legal name National First Ladies’ Library

  • National Board of Directors, National Advisory Board and Local Site Committee formed
  • 501 (c) (3) nonprofit status achieved

September 1997 – Marshall Belden, Jr. offers to donate 1895 City National Bank Building to National First Ladies’ Library for future expansion


January 1998 – official announcement of formation of new national organization, National First Ladies’ Library, announced at Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.


February 23, 1998 – Web site officially unveiled at press conference in East Room of White House.

  • First Lady Hillary Clinton makes first “hit” on web site; accesses her own bibliographic records

June 8, 1998 – Grand Opening and Dedication of Saxton McKinley House as home of National First Ladies’ Library

  • Ribbon cut by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
  • Victorian Gala attended by 300 + people

March, 1999 – Bob Gaede of Gaede Serne Architects presents schematic plan for City National Bank Building to National Board Meeting in Washington, D.C.


March, 1999 – “First Ladies Salute First Women” held in Washington, D.C. at Reagan International Trade Center


May 1999 – Library accepts donation of City National Bank Building


July 23, 1999 – First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visits Canton, Ohio

  • Tours National First Ladies’ Library home – the Ida Saxton McKinley House
  • Announces City National Bank Building “Official Project” of Save America’s Treasures – a millennium project initiative of President and Mrs. Clinton
    • Building will become National First Ladies’ Library Education and Research Center

August, 1999 – the deed for the City National Bank Building is officially transferred to National First Ladies’ Library


January, 2000 – Library is notified of $2.5 million Save America’s Treasures match grant for City National Bank


June, 2000 – 2nd “First Ladies Salute First Women” held in Washington, D.C. at Smithsonian’s American History Museum


October 20, 2000 – bill signed by President Bill Clinton establishing First Ladies National Historic Site

  • National First Ladies’ Library to operate and manage site under a cooperative agreement with National Park Service
  • Site consists of Saxton McKinley House with provision in bill that if City National Bank Building (now the Education and Research Center) is donated to National Park Service, it will become part of national historic site

June, 2001 – Contract signed with Drake Construction for renovation of City National Bank


September 10, 2001 – 3rd “First Ladies Salute First Women” held in Washington, D.C. at National Museum of Women in the Arts.


March, 2003 – National First Ladies’ Library begins renovation of Stark Community Foundation’s former offices at Saxton House. Renovation complete September 2003


July, 2003 –RotaryParkand adjacent surface parking lot donated to National First Ladies’ Library


September 4, 2003 – First Lady Laura Bush dedicates Education and Research Center in Canton


March 13, 2006 – National First Ladies’ Library hosts its first symposium


May 17, 2008 – National First Ladies’ Library hosts its second symposium


June 8, 2008 – 10-year anniversary of the dedication of the Saxton McKinley House


September 4, 2008 – 5-year anniversary of the dedication of the Education and Research Center


September 3, 2009 – Saxton McKinley House is dedicated the William McKinley Historic Home based on research showing that William and Ida lived longer in that home than in any other private residence.

September, 2011 – Education and Research Center is donated to the National Park Service and becomes part of the First Ladies National Historic Site. National First Ladies’ Library remains as the managing/operating partner of the site for the National Park Service. The “First Ladies Park” and the gated parking lot continue to be owned privately by the National First Ladies’ Library.