Historians often characterize first ladies in the Progressive Era as representatives of the last vestiges of Victorian womanhood in an increasingly modern society. This dissertation argues that first ladies negotiated an image of themselves that fulfilled both traditional and modern notions of womanhood. In crafting these images, first ladies constructed images of their celebrity selves that were uniquely modern. Thus, images of first ladies in the Progressive Era show them as modest and feminine but also autonomous, intelligent, and capable. Using the historian Charles Ponce de Leon's research on modern human-interest journalism, I contend that first ladies in the Progressive Era worked with the modern press in a symbiotic relationship. This relationship allowed the press exclusive access to what was, ostensibly, the first lady's private, and therefore authentic, self. By purporting to reveal parts of their private lives in the press, first ladies showed themselves as down-to-earth despite their success and fulfilled by their domestic pursuits despite their compelling public lives. By offering the press exclusive access to their lives, first ladies secured the opportunity to shape specific images of themselves to appeal, as broadly as possible, to their husbands and parties' constituents and the American public. First ladies in the Progressive Era thus acted as political figures by using both public and private, or what historian Catherine Allgor terms, "unofficial spaces" to support and reflect their husbands and parties' political agendas. In examining representations of first ladies in popular magazines and newspapers from 1901 to 1921 in tandem with letters, memoirs, and other personal papers from these women, a clear pattern emerges. Despite personal differences, first ladies in the Progressive Era represented themselves according to a specific formula in the modern press. The images, constructed by first ladies in this time period, reflect shifts in economic, social, and political life in Progressive Era America, which called for women to be independent and intelligent yet still maintain their femininity and domesticity.