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Former first lady Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She is also George W. Bush's mother.
Barbara Bush - First Lady (3:01)
Watch a short video about Barbara Bush and learn how this woman met and married the man that would become the 41st president of the United States.
In 1948 Barbara and George H.W. Bush moved to Odessa, Texas where they would try and make it on their own.
Barbara Bush became secretly engaged to George H.W. Bush in the summer of 1943 and the Bush family immediately became close to Barbara.
After many years experience in the political arena, Barbara Bush helped her husband George reach for the highest office in the United States.
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Barbara Bush was born in New York City on June 8, 1925. In 1945, she married George H.W. Bush, who became vice president in 1981. In 1989, the year her husband became president of the United States, she started the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. In 2000, her son George W. Bush was elected president. More recently,
"However you define family, that's what we mean by family values."
"I firmly believe we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups… [it] always brings with it pain and perpetuates hate and intolerance."
"I hate that people think compromise is a dirty word."
Barbara Bush supported Mitt Romney in his 2012 presidential campaign.
Barbara Bush was born Barbara Pierce on June 8, 1925 in New York City, into an Episcopalian family. While growing up in Rye, New York, her mother, Pauline Pierce, was dedicated to conservation efforts as a chairwoman of the Garden Club of America. Her father, Marvin Pierce, was president of the McCall Corporation, which published the well-known magazines McCall's and Redbook.
Bush was an athletic and witty child, who loved—above all things—to read. She received her primary education at Milton Public School and Rye Country Day School before going off to Ashley Hall, a boarding school in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1940.
In 1941, while at home from boarding school on Christmas break, Barbara met her future husband, George H.W. Bush, at a dance. The two started writing to each other. In 1943, "Bar," as her friends and family had taken to calling her, dropped out of Smith College in her freshman year. The long-distance relationship culminated in marriage in January 1945, after which George H.W. Bush continued his training as a pilot.
The couple's first child, the future President George Walker Bush, was born in 1946. In 1949, Barbara and George H.W. welcomed a second child, a daughter named Pauline Robinson Bush. In 1953, the child, nicknamed Robin, died of leukemia, leaving Barbara and her husband devastated. Their third child, John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, had been born just prior to Robin's diagnosis.
Bush went on to have two more sons—Neil Mallon Bush in 1955 and Marvin Pierce Bush in 1956—before giving birth to another daughter. Dorothy "Doro" Bush was born in August 1959. Bush spent the next two decades primarily dedicating her time to the traditional roles of wife and mother, while volunteering for organizations like the YMCA and United Way on the side. In addition to holding down the fort at home, Bush helped her husband take a stab at politics, by participating in his campaigns. She officially seized the role of political spouse when, in 1966, her husband was elected to Congress for the first time.
After rising through the political ranks, Bush's husband became vice president under Ronald Reagan in January of 1981. Bush didn't hesitate to make use of this opportunity. She immediately dedicated herself to supporting a cause that had always been near and dear to her heart: Literacy. She set about educating herself on the issues of child and adult illiteracy, and became actively involved with several organizations geared toward a solution.
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When the 19th Amendment was ratified, women were finally given the right to vote, and over the years many courageous women have stepped onto the national political stage as well. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress and almost a century later Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court. And within the last two decades, the esteemable Hillary Clinton has served as First Lady, a New York senator and Secretary of State. These women, and many more, are setting the stage for the future of female leaders in Washington.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women."
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