Leighton wrote more than 30 books and articles detailing the lives of individuals who were often behind the scenes in significant places, such as the White House. Leighton’s passion for writing was said to be contagious, and with the help of her work, she ensured other’s stories were heard.
During her time, she ghostwrote 16 books including, My Thirty Years Backstairs at the White House, which held a spot on the New York Times bestseller list for 26 weeks. The book details the life of a seamstress who spent 30 years in the White House as a child and then employee. The memoir covers around 10 presidencies, and after the release date, employees were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement for any activities that occurred in the white house for reasons of privacy.
Along with My Thirty Years Backstairs at the White House, she also went on to write several other memoirs for employees in Washington who were not always front and center for the public to view.
Frances Spatz Leighton was inspired through giving back to others, and she viewed her hometown as an amazing place to spread her wealth. Leighton’s family owned a dairy farm on Phillips Road in Thompson, and during her time she graduated from Thompson High School, which in later years was known as Ledgemont. In her youth, and through the duration of her adult life, she was passionate about literature and nature.
In her will she requested for 700,000 dollars to be delegated to Ledgemont Schools and Thompson Township. As a result of the ongoing changes with the merging of Ledgemont and Berkshire High School, the funds were later delegated to the school and park district, as well as the new Thompson Branch. In order to honor her memory, the Thompson Branch now has The Frances Spatz Leighton Reading Room, which includes her work for the public to enjoy, and offers her materials inside this quiet, spacious reading area.