Hey! Ladies!

first-ladies-ornamentlaura-bush-and-abigai-fillmore.pngThe National first Ladies Library is losing the sugar daddy who brings in four-fifths of it’s income. The Library is based in a Canton Ohio house once belonging to President William McKinley and wife Ida, and serves up a weird amalgam of decorating and democracy, a great deal of former White House china with a side bar of first lady anecdotes.

Retiring Ohio Republican Representative Ralph Regula has funneled cash to the Library for years through his position on the House appropriations Committee. The First Ladies’ most recent filing shows government grants accounted for $1,028,991 of the Library’s $1,344,415 revenue.

The Library’s Founder was sort of coy with CNN on where it all came from:

“You know, surprisingly, it hasn’t been difficult to raise the raise the funds. It seems to be an idea whose time has come. We raised over three and a half million from private and corporate funds.”

And she’s not sweating to do it either. The Library’s most recent filings for have her paid $68,808 for a 30 hour week.

She’s Regula’s wife Mary.

What does the money buy? They have a building and a library, from which they launch educational programs such as “Right To Read “The White House Pets”‘ Grades: K-6

“A First Lady will relate stories about many of the Presidential pets and the families who loved them. The program continues with a First Lady reading a book to your class with the help of puppets and possibly a willing student.”

They sell tchotskies in some way connected with first ladies, with Betty Ford and Nancy Reagan not represented.

You can save big on the Laura Bush China Box – prices slashed to $24.95 from $53.00! first-ladies-laura-bush-blue-bonnet_medium.jpg

Some of their expenses seem odd. In 2004, the most recently available yearly report, they spent $94,000 on “website update.” Look at the thing.

They paid Carl Sverrazza Anthony a hundred thousand dollars for his services as an author and historian in 2004. Anthony has carved out a specialty writing not terribly deep tomes commemorating first ladies and their offspring. The Library appears to be sponsoring him in writing a biography of McKinley’s wife Ida Saxton, the first volume of which has appeared this year. carlanthonybook.gif No information on their web site about who gets the book’s royalties if any.

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