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Made in Buffalo



A Conversation with Gary Ginsberg

Author of First Friends: The Powerful, Unsung (And Unelected) People Who Shaped Our Presidents

In-Person & Virtual Event

November 2, 2021 | 7 PM


1641 North Forest Rd, Williamsville, NY 14221


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A Conversation with Gary Ginsberg

Moderated by Melissa Brown, Executive Director of The Buffalo History Museum

Gary Ginsberg grew up in Buffalo, NY, home to two US presidents.  A lawyer by training, he has spent his professional career at the intersection of media, politics, and law.  He worked for the Clinton administration, was a senior editor and counsel at the political magazine George, and then spent the next two decades in executive positions in media and technology at News Corporation, Time Warner and SoftBank.  He has published pieces in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and was an on-air political contributor in the early days of MSNBC.  He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.  This is his first book.


FIRST FRIENDS is an engaging, serendipitous look into the lives of Commanders-in-Chief and how their presidencies were shaped by those they held most dear.  Here are the riveting histories of myriad presidential friendships, among them:

Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed: They shared a bed for four years during which Speed saved his friend from a crippling depression.  Two decades later the friends worked together to save the Union.

Harry Truman and Eddie Jacobson:  When Truman wavered on whether to recognize the state of Israel in 1948, his lifelong friend and former business partner intervened at just the right moment with just the right words to steer the president’s decision.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Daisy Suckley: Unassuming and overlooked during her lifetime, Daisy Suckley was in reality FDR’s most trusted, constant confidant, the respite for a lonely and overworked President navigating the Great Depression and World War II.

John Kennedy and David Ormsby-Gore: They met as young men in pre-war London and began a conversation over the meaning of leadership.  A generation later the Cuban Missile Crisis would put their ideas to test as Ormsby-Gore became the president’s unofficial, but most valued foreign policy advisor.

These and other friendships – including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Franklin Pierce and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Bill Clinton and Vernon Jordan – populate this fresh and provocative exploration of a series of seminal presidential friendships.

Publishing history teems with books by and about Presidents, First Ladies, First Pets, and even First Chefs.  Now former Clinton aide Gary Ginsberg breaks new literary ground on Pennsylvania Avenue and provides fresh insights into the lives of the men who held the most powerful political office in the world by looking at the friends on whom they relied.

For a donation of $50 or more to the Made in Buffalo Fund, you will receive a signed copy of Ginsberg’s book
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Marjorie Godin Bryen, Chair  |  Harvey Sanders  |  Rob Goldberg, CEO, Buffalo Jewish Federation

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Those who call Buffalo home, whether or not they still live in the community, know the sense of pride and closeness that makes Buffalo special. There is a deep connection and love of this place, and we think it should be celebrated.

Made In Buffalo, an ongoing series powered by the Buffalo Jewish Federation, will shine a spotlight on those famous Buffalonians who cut their teeth right here in our backyard.

The purpose of Made in Buffalo is to celebrate a personality who can lay claim to being “made” in our region and allow the Buffalo Jewish Federation to provide a dynamic program as a gift to the greater community.

Past MIB events:
Seth Godin – April 27, 2017
Cheryl Stern – April 25, 2021

For more information