From Aretha to Lucy: 10 Cultural ‘First Ladies’

Happy President’s Day! Today we celebrate Washington’s birthday and think about the impact our presidents (and our first ladies) have had on our history. Though we love the Michelle Obamas, Jackie Kennedys, and Nancy Reagans of our time, we can’t help but notice that some important first ladies never made it to the White House — they were first ladies of their respective fields, be it music, theater, fashion or fiction, but they were crucial cultural first ladies nonetheless. Click through for our ten favorite apolitical American first ladies.

First Lady of Soul: Aretha Franklin

Widely renowned as one of the most powerful, inspiring musicians of the past century (this lady was number one on Rolling Stone’s best singers of all time list, after all), the First Lady of American Soul cemented her title by singing at the Obama inauguration in 2009.