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ABOUT THE WHITE HOUSE * FIRST LADIES



OUR FIRST LADIES:
18th Century
about_first_ladies_marthawashington Martha Washington
about_first_ladies_abigailadams Abigail Adams

19th Century
about_first_ladies_marthajefferson Martha Jefferson
about_first_ladies_dolleymadison Dolley Madison
about_first_ladies_elizabethmonroe Elizabeth Monroe
about_first_ladies_louisaadams Louisa Adams
about_first_ladies_racheljackson Rachel Jackson
about_first_ladies_hannahvanburen Hannah Van Buren
about_first_ladies_annaharrison Anna Harrison
about_first_ladies_letitiatyler Letitia Tyler
about_first_ladies_juliatyler Julia Tyler
about_first_ladies_sarahpolk Sarah Polk
about_first_ladies_margarettaylor Margaret Taylor
about_first_ladies_abigailfillmore Abigail Fillmore
about_first_ladies_janepierce Jane Pierce
about_first_ladies_harrietlane Harriet Lane
about_first_ladies_marylincoln Mary Lincoln
about_first_ladies_elizajohnson Eliza Johnson
about_first_ladies_juliagrant Julia Grant
about_first_ladies_lucyhayes Lucy Hayes
about_first_ladies_lucretiagarfield Lucretia Garfield
about_first_ladies_ellenarthur Ellen Arthur
about_first_ladies_francescleveland Frances Cleveland
about_first_ladies_carolineharrison Caroline Harrison
about_first_ladies_francescleveland Frances Cleveland
about_first_ladies_idamckinley Ida McKinley


20th Century
about_first_ladies_edithroosevelt Edith Roosevelt
about_first_ladies_helentaft Helen Taft
about_first_ladies_ellenwilson Ellen Wilson
about_first_ladies_edithwilson Edith Wilson
about_first_ladies_florenceharding Florence Harding
about_first_ladies_gracecoolidge Grace Coolidge
about_first_ladies_louhoover Lou Hoover
about_first_ladies_eleanorroosevelt Eleanor Roosevelt
about_first_ladies_besstruman Elizabeth Truman
about_first_ladies_mamieeisenhower Mamie Eisenhower
about_first_ladies_jacquelinekennedy Jacqueline Kennedy
about_first_ladies_ladybirdjohnson Claudia Johnson
about_first_ladies_patnixon Patricia Nixon
about_first_ladies_bettyford Elizabeth Ford
about_first_ladies_rosalynncarter Rosalynn Carter
about_first_ladies_nancyreagan Nancy Reagan
about_first_ladies_barbarabush Barbara Bush
about_first_ladies_hillaryclinton Hillary Clinton

21st Century
about_first_ladies_laurabush Laura Bush
administration_michelle_obama Michelle Obama



CLAUDIA TAYLOR (LADY BIRD) JOHNSON
b.1912 -- d.2007

Christened Claudia Alta Taylor when she was born in a country mansion near Karnack, Texas, she received her nickname "Lady Bird" as a small child; and as Lady Bird she was known and loved throughout America. Perhaps that name was prophetic, as there has seldom been a First Lady so attuned to nature and the importance of conserving the environment.

Her mother, Minnie Pattillo Taylor, died when Lady Bird was five, so she was reared by her father, her aunt, and family servants. From her father, Thomas Jefferson Taylor, who had prospered, she learned much about the business world. An excellent student, she also learned to love classical literature. At the University of Texas she earned a bachelor's degree in arts and in journalism.

In 1934 Lady Bird met Lyndon Baines Johnson, then a Congressional secretary visiting Austin on official business; he promptly asked her for a date, which she accepted. He courted her from Washington with letters, telegrams, and telephone calls. Seven weeks later he was back in Texas; he proposed to her and she accepted. In her own words: "Sometimes Lyndon simply takes your breath away." They were married in November 1934.

The years that followed were devoted to Lyndon's political career, with "Bird" as partner, confidante, and helpmate. She helped keep his Congressional office open during World War II when he volunteered for naval service; and in 1955, when he had a severe heart attack, she helped his staff keep things running smoothly until he could return to his post as Majority Leader of the Senate. He once remarked that voters "would happily have elected her over me."

After repeated miscarriages, she gave birth to Lynda Bird (now Mrs. Charles S. Robb) in 1944; Luci Baines (Mrs. Ian Turpin) was born three years later.

In the election of 1960, Lady Bird successfully stumped for Democratic candidates across 35,000 miles of campaign trail. As wife of the Vice President, she became an ambassador of goodwill by visiting 33 foreign countries. Moving to the White House after Kennedy's murder, she did her best to ease a painful transition. She soon set her own stamp of Texas hospitality on social events, but these were not her chief concern. She created a First Lady's Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, then expanded her program to include the entire nation. She took a highly active part in her husband's war-on-poverty program, especially the Head Start project for preschool children.

When the Presidential term ended, the Johnsons returned to Texas, where he died in 1973. Mrs. Johnson's White House Diary, published in 1970, and a 1981 documentary film, The First Lady, A Portrait of Lady Bird Johnson, give sensitive and detailed views of her contributions to the President's Great Society administration.

Lady Bird lead a life devoted to her husband's memory, her children, and seven grandchildren. She supported causes dear to her--notably the National Wildflower Research Center, which she founded in 1982, and The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library. She also served on the Board of the National Geographic Society as a trustee emeritus.


Click about_presidents_lyndonjohnson here to read the biography of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Learn more about Mrs. Johnson at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum.

MD5: aa037a0a2b32abc101e5a2377913067f
Original URL: http://whitehouse.gov/about/first_ladies/ladybirdjohnson/

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