- NAME: Lady Bird Johnson
- OCCUPATION: Women's Rights Activist, U.S. First Lady
- BIRTH DATE: December 22, 1912
- DEATH DATE: July 11, 2007
- EDUCATION: University of Texas at Austin
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Karnack, Texas
- PLACE OF DEATH: West Lake Hills, Texas
- Maiden Name: Claudia Alta Taylor
- Full Name: Claudia Alta Johnson
- AKA: Claudia Taylor
- AKA: Claudia Johnson
Best Known For
The wife of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson served as first lady from 1963 to 1969.
Lady Bird Johnson addressed a crowd of architects in Portland, Oregon with a beautification and conservation plan for America.
Lady Bird Johnson holds a press conference to address conservation and highway beautification. She announces the release of four nature-themed postage stamps that will serve as messengers for her cause.
Lady Bird Johnson sits in the White House living room, which is where she feels most at home.
Lady Bird Johnson holds her first Doers Luncheon on crime prevention. Lady Bird invited women leaders from committees and commissions to discuss what can be done about crime.
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Lady Bird Johnson was born in Karnack, Texas, on December 22, 1912. As first lady, she supported the "war on poverty," the Headstart Program, and worked for the beautification of Washington, D.C. Following the presidency, Lady Bird Johnson wrote the 800-page White House Diary. She also remained active in beautification projects and women's rights issues. She died in Texas in 2007.
"A beautification in my mind is far more than a matter of cosmetics. To me, it describes the whole effort to bring the natural world and the manmade world to harmony. To bring order, usefulness, delight to our whole environment. And that of course only begins with trees and flowers and landscaping."
"My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth."
U.S. first lady Lady Bird Johnson was born Claudia Alta Taylor in Karnack, Texas, on December 22, 1912. As a child, a family nurse declared that Claudia Taylor was as "pretty as a ladybird." The nickname stuck. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in art followed and continued on there studying journalism, with the plan to become a newspaper reporter.
In the summer of 1934, Claudia met Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was working as a congressional aide at the time. Claudia and Lyndon married in November 1934, just seven weeks after their first date. She borrowed from her inheritance to help finance his first election campaign.
On November, 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas while traveling in a motorcade. Johnson was only two cars behind Kennedy when the shots rang out. Just a few hours later, Johnson was sworn in as the 36th president aboard Air Force One on its return to Washington, D.C. Subsequently, Claudia Johnson became first lady of the United States. She would serve as first lady from 1963 to 1969; in 1964, Johnson would win election to the presidency against conservative Republican Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. (With public sentiment largely for Democrats and Goldwater's staunch conservatism, Johnson won by a landslide; he received 61 percent of the popular vote—the biggest margin of victory in U.S. election history.)
As first lady, Claudia Johnson, better known by this time as "Lady Bird Johnson," supported the "war on poverty" and the Headstart Program, and worked to improve the beautification of Washington, D.C. In the 1960s, Lady Bird planted bulbs and trees along roadsides to call attention to the growing crisis of habitat and species loss. She created the First Lady's Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, and her work became the first major legislative campaign launched by a first lady: the Highway Beautification Act of 1965.
In June 1968, Lady Bird traveled to Portland, Oregon, along with then-Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman, to deliver a lecture regarding a new type of conservation before a convention of the American Institute of Architects. There, she discussed a conservation that is concerned with the entire community to solve the problems of growing urbanization. "The answers cannot be found in piece-milled reform," Lady Bird stated. "The job really requires thoughtful interrelation of the whole environment. Not only in buildings, but parks, not only parks, but hhighways, not only highways, but open spaces and green belts. A beautification in my mind is far more than a matter of cosmetics.
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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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