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MK Pritzker

Born: South Dakota in 1967
Connection to Illinois: MK Pritzker has served as Illinois’s first lady since the inauguration of her husband, JB Pritzker, as governor in January 2019. She restored the mansion together with Michael S. Smith into a welcoming home with public spaces that preserve the history and culture of the people of Illinois. She has been married to JB for over 25 years and they live in Chicago.

Biography: MK was born Mary Kathryn Muenster in South Dakota in 1967. She attended the University of Nebraska, and interned on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., where she met Pritzker. She attended graduate school at the Art Institute of Chicago.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

A House That Made History: The Illinois Governors Mansion, Legacy of an Architectural Treasure
ISBN: 0847873633 OCLC: 1371483312

Rizzoli 2023

In an extraordinary restoration project, Michael S. Smith, interior designer for the Obama White House, recently redecorated the Illinois Governor’s Mansion in collaboration with First Lady MK Pritzker, utilizing the best of Illinois’s long tradition of fine craftsmanship to allow the mansion’s prodigious history, exceptional decorative arts, and superb art to shine. This visually stunning volume not only celebrates the updating of the Italianate–Greek Revival Illinois Governor’s Mansion in Springfield but also tells the story of the house’s evolution since 1855, of the lives and times of the renowned personages who inhabited it, and of the illustrious visitors, including Abraham Lincoln and FDR. The rooms have been enhanced with sophisticated color palettes, gorgeous fabrics, wallpapers, and bespoke furniture. In celebration of Illinois, one hallway is covered in a striking corn-motif pattern; the Governor’s Dining Room is embellished with a charming folk-style mural; and the chic Chicago Room was created, featuring Frances Elkins’s canopied beds and a Samuel Marx secretary cabinet. This book is ideal for those who love architecture, antiques, and learning about the lives of prominent Americans.