Barbara Bush biography
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, 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.
Even her 1988 diagnosis of Graves's disease failed to deter her commitment to public service. In 1989, the year her husband was sworn in as president of the United States, Bush started her own literacy organization, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded more than $42 million to literacy organizations across the United States.
When her husband lost the 1992 presidential election, instead of dwelling on her disappointment, Barbara redoubled her dedication to public service.
In Recent Years
In 2000, Bush beamed with pride as her son George W. Bush followed in his father's footsteps, and was elected president. In 2004, her pride was bolstered when he was re-elected for a second term. More recently, Bush has provided support for Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign. Residing with her husband in Houston, Texas, she has remained active in the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy while working on her autobiography and serving as a board member of AmeriCares.