Sat Dec 22, 2012, 08:18 AM
malaise (150,715 posts)
Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lady Bird Johnson
December 22 marks what would have been the 100th birthday of one of the United States' most beloved First Ladies. Born Claudia Taylor in Karnack, Texas in 1912, she became well-known to the world as Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Johnson and also an important figure in her own right. Passionate about the American landscape and its natural beauty, she used her time as First Lady to advocate for beautification of the American environment. She also championed early childhood education programs and served as role model for women nationwide. Here's a look at some of the highlights of her life and the beautiful legacy she left behind.
Early Years & Life with LBJ
As a bright young girl, Claudia Taylor was nicknamed “Lady Bird” by a family nurse and the elegant name stuck. Tragically, she lost her mother in 1918 and was raised by an aunt. Lady Bird later looked back on her childhood as the time when she developed a love of reading and nature. She graduated from high school at the young age of 15 and went on to the University of Texas at Austin where she earned degrees in history and journalism.
Lady Bird met a former teacher and rising politician named Lyndon Johnson during the summer of 1934. They were married later that year and moved to Washington where Lyndon started to build his political career. By 1937, he decided to run for Congress—Lady Bird lent him $10,000 of her own money for his campaign. Lady Bird stood by his side after he was elected, helping steer his career over the course of the next two decades. She gave birth to two daughters who became the center of her personal life, Lynda Bird and Luci Baines.
In 1960, Lady Bird was extremely active on the campaign trail during the Kennedy-Johnson presidential run. Many people credited her with bringing an air of grace to the ticket, together with the very popular Jacqueline Kennedy. Lady Bird stood as a constant and comforting presence after John F. Kennedy was assassinated and her husband was sworn in as President in 1963.
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