|Second Lady of the United States|
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
|Preceded by||Happy Rockefeller|
|Succeeded by||Barbara Bush|
August 8, 1930
Eugene, Oregon, U.S.
|Relations||John Maxwell Adams and Eleanor Jane Hall|
|Children||Theodore A. Mondale
Eleanor Mondale (deceased)
William H. Mondale
Joan Adams Mondale (born August 8, 1930) is the wife of Walter Mondale, 42nd Vice President of the United States, Presidential candidate, and later U.S. ambassador to Japan. She has always been a high-profile advocate for the arts, affectionately dubbed 'Joan of Art'.
Family and education
Joan Adams was born in Eugene, Oregon, one of three daughters of the Rev. John Maxwell Adams, a Presbyterian minister, and his wife, the former Eleanor Jane Hall. She attended Media Friends School, an integrated Quaker school in Media, Pennsylvania, a public school in Columbus, Ohio, and later St. Paul Academy and Summit School in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1952, she graduated from Macalester College, St. Paul, where her father was chaplain. After graduation, she worked at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
The couple had three children:
- Theodore (b. October 12, 1957), Minnesota politician, former State Senator and candidate for Governor of Minnesota
- Eleanor Jane (January 19, 1960 – September 17, 2011), high-profile television and radio personality, who died of brain cancer at 51
- William Hall (b. February 27, 1962), Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Minnesota Attorney General, 1990–2000
In 1964, Walter replaced Hubert Humphrey as a US Senator, and held the post till 1976, when Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter selected him as running-mate in his successful bid for the Presidency.
Out of office during Reagan's first administration, Walter Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984. As a prospective First Lady, Joan told Maureen Dowd of the New York Times that she would not talk about recipes or clothes during the campaign, but when her husband's political opponents made issue with this, costing him votes, she published The Mondale Family Cookbook, with recipes like Fettucine à la Pimento Mondale, and declared that she was a "traditional wife and mother and supporter".
Walter was not voted in, and the Mondales returned to Minnesota, where they lived until his term as U.S. Ambassador to Japan (1993–96), after which he resumed his Minneapolis, Minnesota-based law practice.
'Joan of Art'
Joan has been a lifelong practitioner, patron and advocate of the arts, and her nickname 'Joan of Art' is a sincere tribute.
An accomplished potter, she studied art at college, and then worked in galleries, before moving to Washington as a Senator's wife in 1964, and led guided tours at the National Gallery of Art. In 1972, she wrote a book 'Politics in Art', examining how political commentary is reflected in artworks.
Later, as Second Lady, she turned the Vice Presidential Mansion into a showcase of American art, with works by Rauschenberg, Hopper, Nevelson and Adams. At this time, she also served as chairperson of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.
As the U.S. Ambassador's wife in Japan, she enthusiastically promoted inter-cultural understanding through art, redecorating the Embassy with American paintings and organising tours with a bi-lingual guide. She studied Japanese art. and impressed the Mayor of Kyoto by presenting him with a ceramic bowl she had made herself in the traditional Mashiko style.
Now back in her home state, Mrs. Mondale continues to make her own pottery and promote the arts. She serves on the board of the Minnesota Orchestra, Walker Art Center, Macalester College and the National Portrait Gallery. In 2004, The Textile Center in Minneapolis endowed an exhibition space in her honor, the Joan Mondale Gallery, perhaps America's chief showcase for fiber art.
- The Future of the Cookbook. Kim Beeman, Sept. 24th 2009. www.futureofthecookbook.org
- Joan Mondale: An Inventory of Her Papers
|Second Lady of the United States