First: Sandra Day O’Connor
with Evan Thomas and Oscie Thomas
Sandra Day O’Connor was born in 1930 in El Paso and grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona. At a time when women were expected to be homemakers, she applied and was accepted into Stanford University. When she graduated near the top of her law school class in 1952, no firm would interview her--but Sandra Day O’Connor’s story is that of a woman who repeatedly shattered glass ceilings, and did so with a blend of grace, wisdom, humor, understatement, and cowgirl toughness.
After becoming the first ever female majority leader of a state senate, and then judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals, she arrived at the United States Supreme Court in 1981, appointed by President Ronald Reagan. Her quarter-century tenure on the Court ultimately shaped American law. Diagnosed with cancer at fifty-eight, and caring for a husband with Alzheimer’s, O’Connor endured every difficulty with grit and poise.
Evan Thomas provides a remarkably vivid and personal portrait of a woman who loved her family, who believed in serving her country, and who, when she became the most powerful woman in America, built a bridge forward for all women. For this event, he will be joined by his partner, Oscie Thomas, in conversation about First.
Evan Thomas is the author of ten books: The Wise Men (with Walter
Isaacson), The Man to See, The Very Best Men, Robert Kennedy, John Paul
Jones, Sea of Thunder, The War Lovers, Ike’s Bluff, Being Nixon, and First:
Sandra Day O’Connor. Being Nixon, John Paul Jones, Sea of Thunder and
First were New York Times bestsellers. Thomas was a writer,
correspondent and editor for thirty-three years at Time and Newsweek,
including ten years (1986-96) as Washington bureau chief at
Newsweek, where he wrote more than one hundred cover stories and at
the time of his retirement in 2010 was editor-at-large. He has appeared
on many TV and radio talk shows, including Meet the Press, CBS
Morning News, Morning Joe and The Colbert Report. The author of
dozens of book reviews for The New York Times and The Washington
Post, Thomas has taught writing and journalism at Harvard and
Princeton, where, from 2007 to 2014, he was Ferris Professor of
Oscie Thomas graduated from Stanford and UVA Law School, where she and Evan Thomas were classmates. She practiced law for 24 years in New York and Washington D.C., before collaborating with her husband on his books as an editor and researcher. She was deeply involved in the creation of First, which filled their lives for three fascinating years.