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Professor Explores Lives of Second Ladies

Submitted by on August 25, 2017 – 6:02 pm

NECC History Professor Rich Padova will unveil his new book to the college community on Friday, September 22.

Did you know that Patricia Nixon was the first vice presidential spouse to earn the equivalent of a master’s degree? Or that Vice President John Nance Garner’s wife, Mariette, served as his private secretary and office manager, causing a controversy since it was a “paid” position?

Well we didn’t either.

But Northern Essex Community College history Professor Rich Padova sure does because he has researched all the wives of the Vice Presidents of the United States. He has even interviewed Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife Dr. Lynne Cheney.

Padova has compiled his research in a self-published book titled, “Who Are They?  A Look at Vice Presidential Spouses from Abigail Adams to Karen Pence.” As the name implies, it is a biographical overview of all of the Second Ladies of the United States from Abigail Adams to Karen Pence.

The book will premier for an internal NECC audience only on Friday, Sept. 22, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bentley Library on the Haverhill campus.  All students, faculty, and staff who pre-ordered a complimentary copy of the book can obtain their copy then. There will be extra copies on hand for those who did not pre-order, but who would still like a complimentary copy.

Padova will make a brief presentation about the book at noon, followed by a “social hour.”  Refreshments will be served.

“Many of these women are not known or have been forgotten,” said Padova. “Thus, I thought it was important to highlight their lives and contributions.”

This book comes 10 years after the publication of his first book, “First in The Nation: One Insider’s View of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary from 1980 to 2004,” which was inspired by his own personal experiences as a campaign volunteer in the nation’s lead-off presidential primary every four years. His current book was inspired by the fact that there is no comprehensive book that talks about all of the vice presidential spouses together.

“Both of my books combine my love of history and writing,” Padova said. “I am self-publishing this book, as I did with the first one, because I like to exercise complete control over the direction of my book, without the dictates of a publisher. I like the freedom and flexibility that goes with self-publishing, and it’s more fun.”

The highlight of the book is an interview with Dr. Lynne Cheney, wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who graciously agreed to be interviewed for the chapter written on her.

The book will be introduced to the general public on Sunday, Oct. 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the community room at Lawrence Heritage State Park, 1 Jackson Street at Canal.

For additional information contact Padova at