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Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, has loved history for as long as she can remember, and she has spent much of her professional life writing and speaking about the importance of knowing history and teaching it well.
As chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1986 to 1993, she published American Memory, a report that warned about the failure of schools to transmit knowledge of the past to upcoming generations. "A system of education that fails to nurture memory of the past denies its students a great deal," Mrs. Cheney wrote: "the satisfactions of mature thought, an attachment to abiding concerns, a perspective on human existence." Currently, as a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, she particularly emphasizes the value of knowing our nation's history. "One of the important lessons we can learn is that freedom isn't inevitable," she says. "This realization should make the liberty we enjoy all the more important to us, all the more worth defending."
Mrs. Cheney has written articles about history for numerous publications on topics ranging from woman suffrage in the West to the way Americans celebrated the country's centennial. She was a member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution and served on Texas Governor George W. Bush's education team. She was part of a group that revised Texas standards for the study of history.
She is author or co-author of ten books, including Kings of the Hill (second edition, 1996, Simon & Schuster), a book about political figures, among them Henry Clay and Sam Rayburn, who played powerful roles in the House of Representatives. She wrote this book with her husband, who was a Congressman from Wyoming from 1979 to 1989. Mrs. Cheney's 1995 book, Telling the Truth (Simon & Schuster), analyzed the effect of postmodernism on study in the humanities.
Mrs. Cheney has written five bestselling books about American history for children and their families, and well over a million copies of these books are in print. The first, America: A Patriotic Primer, released in May 2002, is an alphabet book for children of all ages and their families that celebrates the ideas and ideals that are the foundations of our country. The second, A Is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women, released in September 2003, tells the story of women's contributions to American history. The third, When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots, released in October 2004, tells of the dramatic military campaign that began on Christmas night, 1776. The fourth, A Time for Freedom: What Happened When in America, released in October 2005, puts the great events and figures of American history into context and tells the story of freedom in America. Most recently, Mrs. Cheney published Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America. Released in October 2006, it is a state-by-state celebration of the cities, historical figures, artists, innovators, and landmarks that together create the wonder that is the United States.
Mrs. Cheney donates a portion of her proceeds from her childrens books to charity, and one of the recipients has been the James Madison Book Award.
Mrs. Cheney announced a new initiative to encourage historical knowledge in April 2003. She launched the James Madison Book Award Fund, which presents a yearly award of $10,000 to the book that best represents excellence in bringing knowledge and understanding of American history to young people. The 2006 winner was Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl by Tonya Bolden.
Mrs. Cheney earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors from Colorado College, her Master of Arts from the University of Colorado, and her Ph.D. with a specialization in 19th-Century British literature from the University of Wisconsin. She is the recipient of awards and honorary degrees from numerous colleges and universities.
Vice President and Mrs. Cheney were married in 1964. They have two grown daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, three granddaughters, and three grandsons.
April 17, 2007
Mrs. Cheney's Remarks at a Special Naturalization Ceremony
May 4, 2007
Celebrating American History
April 17, 2007
Special Naturalization Ceremony
Take a tour of the Vice President's Residence at Number One Observatory Circle with Mrs. Lynne Cheney.