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First Ladies Association for Research and Education (FLARE) Announces Catherine Allgor as the 2023 Lewis L. Gould Award Recipient

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First Ladies Association for Research and Education (FLARE) Announces Catherine Allgor as the 2023 Lewis L. Gould Award Recipient

September 18, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Catherine Allgor, president of the Massachusetts Historical Society, today received the 2023 Lewis L. Gould Award. The annual award, presented by FLARE, recognizes distinguished contributions to the field of first lady research and education and a commitment to excellence while furthering the study of American first ladies. 

In responding to this honor, Dr. Allgor said, "This award means so much to me because it comes not just from my colleagues in this field but from FLARE itself which promotes the study of first ladies. It is also meaningful to me because it is named after Lewis L. Gould.”

Dr. Allgor has a long and distinguished career in promoting research and education on the lasting legacy of America’s first ladies. As president of the Massachusetts Historical Society, she is a noted historian, nonprofit leader and public history innovator. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Allgor’s books have been recognized for their academic excellence, including A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation and Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and Government. She is a frequent lecturer at conferences, sharing her deep knowledge of American history and first ladies, and passing that knowledge on to future generations. President Obama appointed Dr. Allgor to a presidential commission, The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation. She also serves on boards and committees for the National Women’s History Museum, the Organization of American Historians, the Smithsonian American Women's History Museum and the Gilder Lehrman Institute, among others.

Lewis L. Gould, the historian and author for whom the award is named, pioneered the scholarly study of America’s first ladies 40 years ago. He developed the nation’s first course on presidential spouses and has authored more than a dozen books. Professor Gould encouraged and inspired a generation of scholars and others to research and has served as a guiding light to FLARE.

The award presentation can be viewed here.

East Wing Magazine writes: Catherine Allgor Recognized as “Trailblazer” in Field of First Ladies Research


Myra G. Gutin, Ph.D., President of FLARE and First Ladies Scholar: "Catherine Allgor is a giant in the study of American first ladies. Through her efforts, increasing numbers of people understand the importance of the history and legacy of first ladies. She is an exceptional historian and scholar, and FLARE is proud that she is the recipient of the 2023 Lewis L. Gould Award."

Anita McBride, Executive in Residence and Director of the First Ladies Initiative at American University’s School of Public Affairs and former Chief of Staff for First Lady Laura Bush: "In recognition of your exceptional contributions, we are so proud to honor you with the Gould Award and celebrate your legacy of captivating us with the inspiring story of first ladies, ensuring that their history remains an integral part of the nation's history."

Dr. Katherine A.S. Sibley, Ph.D., Professor of History, St. Joseph’s University, and First Ladies Scholar: “Catherine’s prominence in our field, her publications, her leadership at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and in particular, her contributions to FLARE, make her most especially deserving of the honor of the 2023 Gould Award.  Her work in first ladies, and her efforts as a public historian whose current institution offers programs for all kinds of audiences, reflect Catherine’s vision of making history truly relevant and exciting for a wide range of visitors and thus, as well, reflects our mission at FLARE.”

Holly C. Shulman, Professor of History, University of Virginia, and Editor of The Dolley Madison Digital Edition: "Catherine refashioned our understanding of Dolley Madison especially as First Lady. She moved from her early scholarship on women in the early republic to Dolley Madison as the most important national figure of her times. Catherine deserves this award of great distinction."

Nancy Kegan Smith, FLARE Vice President and Chair of the Gould Award Committee: “Catherine is truly an example of a historian who ‘lights’ the way on the importance of first ladies and their significant contributions to our country’s history.”

About FLARE: The mission of FLARE is to create and sustain a network to promote and publicize research and education about the contribution, lives, impact, and lasting legacy of U.S. first ladies. FLARE celebrated its two-year anniversary in June 2023. Learn more at, Instagram @theofficialFLARE, Twitter @FirstLadiesARE, Facebook and YouTube.

Media Contacts:

Myra Gutin                                             Nancy Kegan Smith                   
856-278-3744                                        703-409-1085

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