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 emphasizes the particular value of knowing our nations history. One of the important lessons we can learn is that freedom isnt 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 countrys centennial. She was a member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution and served on Texas Governor George W. Bushs education team. She was part of a group that revised Texas standards for the study of history.
Over the course of her career, Mrs. Cheney has authored or co-authored twelve books. One of the first, Kings of the Hill (second edition, 1996), was co-written with Dick Cheney, then-Congressman from Wyoming. Kings of the Hill profiles various political figures, among them Henry Clay and Sam Rayburn, who played powerful roles in the House of Representatives. Mrs. Cheneys 1995 book, Telling the Truth, analyzed the effect of postmodernism on study in the humanities. In Blue Skies, No Fences (2007), Mrs. Cheney took a personal approach to history, recounting her years growing up in Casper, Wyoming, and telling the stories of the men and women whose journeys brought her family to the high plains of the West.
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 womens 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. The fifth, Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America, released in 2006, provides a state-by-state celebration of the cities, historical figures, artists, innovators, and landmarks that together create the wonder that is the United States. Her most recent book, We the People: The Story of Our Constitution (2008), chronicles the events of the summer of 1787 and the remarkable process by which Americas Founding Fathers framed the Constitution - a document that, in Mrs. Cheneys words, created our nation and offered a vision of ordered liberty to all the world.
In addition to donating a portion of her proceeds from childrens books to charity, Mrs. Cheney established the James Madison Book Award in April 2003 in an effort to encourage historical knowledge. As one of Mrs. Cheneys signature initiatives, this Award includes the James Madison Book Award Fund, which has annually presented a $10,000 award to the author of a book that best represents excellence in bringing knowledge and understanding of American history to young people. The 2008 winner is The Many Rides of Paul Revere by James Cross Giblin. And winner of the $5,000, one-time Lifetime Achievement Award, also presented in 2008, is Albert Marrin, whose newest book is The Great Adventure: Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of Modern America.
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.