Lady Bird Johnson

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Lady Bird Johnson
Official portrait, October 1967
First Lady of the United States
In role
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
PresidentLyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byJacqueline Kennedy
Succeeded byPat Nixon
Second Lady of the United States
In role
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
Vice PresidentLyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byPat Nixon
Succeeded byMuriel Humphrey (1965)
Personal details
Claudia Alta Taylor

(1912-12-22)December 22, 1912
Karnack, Texas, U.S.
DiedJuly 11, 2007(2007-07-11) (aged 94)
West Lake Hills, Texas, U.S.
Resting placeJohnson Family Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
Lyndon Johnson
(m. 1934; died 1973)
ChildrenLynda Bird Johnson
Luci Baines Johnson
EducationSt. Mary's Episcopal College for Women
University of Texas, Austin
Bachelor of Arts,
Bachelor of Journalism

Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson (December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007) was an American socialite and businesswoman. She was the first lady of the United States from 1963 to 1969 as the wife of the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson. She was also the second lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963 when her husband was vice president.[1]

Biography[change | change source]

Early life and education[change | change source]

Claudia Taylor pictured in 1915, around the age of three.

Claudia Alta Taylor was born on December 22, 1912, in Karnack, Texas, to Minnie Pattillo Taylor and Thomas Jefferson Taylor.[1]

When Taylor was five years old, her mother died due to falling down a flight of stairs due to a miscarriage. She later was raised by her father.

Taylor was a shy and quiet girl who spent much of her youth alone outdoors. She developed her lifelong love of the outdoors as a child growing up in the tall pines and bayous of East Texas, where she watched the wildflowers bloom each spring.

Lady Bird was always passionate about the business world, she later attended universities St. Mary's Episcopal College for Women and University of Texas, Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Journalism.

Marriage and family[change | change source]

Lady Bird and Lyndon B. Johnson were married at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas, on November 17, 1934. The couple had two daughters, Lynda Bird Johnson, who was born in March 1944, and Luci Baines Johnson, who was born in July 1947.[1]

1960 United States presidential election[change | change source]

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 by visiting 33 foreign countries.[1]

Second Lady of the United States (1961–1963)[change | change source]

Johnson assumed the role and duties as the second lady of the United States succeeding Pat Nixon when her husband inaugurated as the 37th vice president of the United States on January 20, 1961.

As second lady, Johnson actdc as an official substitute at ceremonial events and would attend more than 50 events and mostly one a week.[1]

Johnson served as the second lady from 1961 until her husband's term ended in November 1963.

First Lady of the United States (1963–1969)[change | change source]

Johnson stands alongside her husband as he's sworn in as the 36th president of the United States, just two hours after John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Johnson assumed the role and duties as the first lady of the United States succeeding Jacqueline Kennedy, when her husband inaugurated as the 36th president of the United States on November 22, 1963, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

In the days after the assassination, Lady Bird worked with Jacqueline Kennedy on the transition of her husband to the White House. While having great respect for Kennedy and finding her strength in the aftermath of the murder.

Johnson in her inauguration ball gown, January 1965.

As first lady, Johnson was very active, She started a beautification program for Washington D.C.,. The program aimed to improve the condition in the capital for the people who lived there, as also for the people who visited the capital. Based on this, many other states of the United States started similar programs for their capital cities.

Johnson served as the first lady from November 1963 until her husband's term ended in 1969.

Later life[change | change source]

Even after retiring as the first lady, Johnson continued to live an active life. She gave her time to programs that were for nature. She founded a non-profit organization and the name of the organization is "Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center". The center develops native plants and uses the same for cleaning up areas.

During 1970's, 1980's, and the early 1990s, Lady Bird was the most active presidential widow. During these years with growing age, her health became weak. She suffered two strokes one in 1993, and the second one in 2002. Her eyesight failed, and she could not speak. By February 2006, her daughter Lynda Johnson Robb informed people that her mother is now totally blind and that was not in very good health.

Death[change | change source]

On July 11, 2007, she died in her home in West Lake Hill, Texas. Her funeral was held on July 15, 2007 at the Texas State Capitol and was later buried at the Johnson Family Cemetery.

In culture[change | change source]

Many places and characters are named after Lady Bird Johnson:

  • There is a park in Washington, D.C. named Lady Bird Johnson Park.
  • There is a center in Austin, Texas named the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
  • There is a lake in Austin, Texas named Lady Bird Lake.
  • Hank Hill from King of the Hill once said that he named his dog, Lady Bird, after Lady Bird Johnson.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Claudia Alta Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson". The White House. Retrieved 2023-02-08.

Official websites[change | change source]