We Can Do Together: Impressions of a Recovering Feminist First Lady

We Can Do Together: Impressions of a Recovering Feminist First Lady

We Can Do Together: Impressions of a Recovering Feminist First Lady

We Can Do Together: Impressions of a Recovering Feminist First Lady


Chronicling the emergence of both her personal and political points of view, "We Can Do Together": Impressions of a Recovering Feminist First Lady is a fascinating and moving account of the life of Dagmar Braun Celeste, one of Ohio's most vocal and effective First Ladies."We Can Do Together" is a deeply personal account of a woman who wrote through grief and bitterness to find peace and a renewed appreciation for life and its beauty. "There are many sides to every story," as writer and friend Alicia Miller says. "This is Dagmar's, and it is told with a fierce intensity and unwavering candor that is moving and inspiring."


More than ten years ago—a period of time that feels like an eon to me rather than a mere decade—I worked for Dagmar as her communications coordinator. Part of that role included coordinating her projects with the Core Circle, a diverse group of very bright and lively women from across the state of Ohio who gathered periodically to help Dagmar choose and focus her projects.

As her time as First Lady began to draw to a close, it was clear that the work of the Core Circle, both in its structure as well as its tasks, was very innovative and unique in the history of “First Lady-dom,” and we tried to come up with ways to adequately describe and document the process of building this feminist policy group. One of the ideas was to help Dagmar write her personal history as a collaborative group project. Members of the Core Circle spent hours interviewing Dagmar, and then those tapes were painstakingly transcribed.

Eventually I was given the task of trying to build some order out of thousands of pages of raw transcript, to try to create an outline for a book. At the same time I was falling deeply in love with Dagmar’s oldest son, Eric, and so was also being drawn more closely into the intimate details of her personal life. Eventually those two rivers of my life began to converge together like a waterfall rushing over steep cliffs.

The dilemmas were very real and difficult for me. It was not simply a matter of trying to find a workable outline for a collaborative book project—no mean feat in itself. Rather, I was struggling very hard to live and work with the same degree of integrity and honesty that I saw Dagmar bringing to her life. Doing so meant that I could . . .

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