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LADY BIRD JOHNSON

Claudia Alta Taylor was born in a country mansion near Karnack, Texas, she was given the nickname “Lady Bird” when she was just a child; and by this name she is still known today. Her mother, Minnie Pattillo Taylor, died when Claudia (Lady Bird) was only five, so she was raised by her father, her aunt, and the family servants. From her father, Thomas Jefferson Taylor, she learned numerous things about the business world. She was an excellent student. She earned a bachelor’s degree in arts and in journalism at the University of Texas in Austin.

In 1934 Lady Bird met Lyndon Baines Johnson, then a Congressional secretary visiting Austin. He courted her from Washington with letters, telegrams, and phone calls. Seven weeks later he went back to Texas. Lyndon proposed to her and she accepted with great delight. They were married in November 1934. After repeated miscarriages, she gave birth to Lynda Bird in 1944 and Luci Baines, who was born three years later.

The years that followed were devoted to Lyndon’s political career, with Claudia as a partner, confidante, and helpmate. She helped keep his Congressional office open during World War II when he volunteered for naval service. As wife of the Vice President, she became an ambassador of goodwill and visited 33 foreign countries. Moving to the White House after Kennedy’s murder, she did her best in making the move less painful. She did this by creating a First Lady’s Committee for a more beautiful Capital, after awhile she expanded her committee and it became a nation wide organization. She also took a highly active part in her husband’s war-on-poverty program.

When the Presidential term ended, the Johnsons returned to Texas, where he died in 1973. Today Lady Bird leads a life devoted to her husband’s memory, her children, and seven grandchildren. She still supports causes dear to her like the National Wildflower Research Center, which she founded in 1982, and The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library.


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