From State to the White House

By Laurie Bennett

April 5, 2013 at 7:46am

For former secretaries of State, the odds of landing a book contract are much higher than the odds of being elected president.

But over the course of American history, the White House odds are still fair.

Six former secretaries, shown in the Muckety map above, have attained the presidency. The first was Thomas Jefferson, who was secretary under George Washington. The last was James Buchanan, secretary in the James K. Polk administration.

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

Buchanan was president before the Civil War. So if we’re looking at recent history, the two offices are certainly not inexorably linked. (It goes without saying that no first lady has reached the Oval Office, except for an occasional chat or photo opp with the hubby.)

Book deals, on the other hand, are almost a sure thing.

Simon & Schuster announced Thursday that it will release a memoir by Hillary Rodham Clinton next year.

Although autobiographies typically precede presidential campaigns, sometimes they just make money for the authors. Clinton’s last memoir, published in 2003, reaped millions.

Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger

All of her recent predecessors have also written memoirs. You have to go back to Lawrence Eagleburger, who was acting secretary and then acting secretary for just 108 days during the George H.W. Bush presidency, to find a secretary who did not leave behind a memoir.

And of course, many of those who preceded Eagleburger wrote books.

Henry Kissinger made a second career of it. Indeed, the New York Times described his successful efforts for a multi-million-dollar book deal as his “final negotiation.”

Follow Muckety on Twitter Tweet This! Share on Facebook

Click here to sign up for the Muckety Newsletter

 Read related stories: Politics · Recent Stories  


  • There are no comments yet, be the first by filling in the form below.

Leave a Comment

The relationship map to the left is interactive.
• Solid lines are current relations. Dotted lines are former relations.
• Expand items with + signs by double-clicking or by selecting multiple items in the map and pressing the "e" key.
• Move an item in the map by clicking and dragging.
• You can also delete items, separate boxes and save maps. Right-click on the map or select Map Tools for these options.
• Find out more about an item in the map by right-clicking on the item and choosing Information about...
• View map color key.
• This interactive map requires Flash player.

Become a fan of Muckety on Facebook

  • Search for stories
    Special Features

Follow Muckety on Twitter Follow Muckety on Twitter
Muckety has no direct connection to most of the people or organizations listed on these pages.
We are unable to forward personal messages or provide personal contact information.
We make every effort at Muckety to ensure that our data is correct and timely. However, relationships are in constant flux and we cannot guarantee accuracy. If you come across incorrect or outdated information, please let us know by email.
© 2017 Muckety LLC