A national television show will have a local flavor as Associate Professor of History Chris Leahy is slated to appear on C-SPAN’s “First Ladies: Influence and Image Series” Monday, April 1.
The show, which airs live at 9 p.m., highlights one first lady each week, in order, from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama. Leahy is scheduled to discuss Julia Gardiner Tyler, the second wife of 10th President John Tyler, via telephone.
“At first, I was asked to be a consultant, with the show putting some of Julia’s letters on the screen,” said Leahy. “But as I was talking with the producers, they asked me to call in and talk more about her letters. I will provide clarification of some quotations from the letters and describe the context about what was happening in her life at the time.”
Leahy and his wife, Sharon, have edited Julia Gardiner Tyler’s letters and plan to publish them in a book, tentatively titled From Yankee Heiress to Southern Matriarch: The Letters of Julia Gardiner Tyler. A friend of Leahy’s is an editor of Eleanor Roosevelt’s papers and he mentioned Leahy’s work to the producers at C-SPAN. A producer at C-SPAN then contacted the Leahys.
“The producer told me that if they get squeezed for time they may have to cut my segment, since I will not be in the C-SPAN studio,” said Leahy. “But I am excited about the prospect. Even if I am not on the show, I will be in its credits as a consultant, and my affiliation with Keuka College will be in there as well.”