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Lady Bird Johnson

Mrs. Johnson was born Claudia Alta Taylor in the East Texas town of Karnack on December 22, 1912, and died at her home in Austin on July 11, 2007.

Her father, Thomas Jefferson Taylor, was owner of a general store. Her mother, Minnie Pattillo Taylor, died when Claudia was five years old. Legend has it that a nursemaid said Claudia was "as purty as a lady bird;" the nickname stuck for life.

Mrs. Johnson graduated from Marshall High School in 1928 and attended Saint Mary's Episcopal School for Girls in Dallas from 1928 to 1930. She then entered The University of Texas at Austin, from which she graduated in 1934 with a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Bachelor of journalism.

She met the tall, ambitious man whom she would marry when he was a Congressional secretary visiting Austin on official business. They were engaged just seven weeks after their first date and married in November, 1934.

In 1943, Mrs. Johnson bought a failing low-power daytime-only Austin radio station with an inheritance from her mother. Armed with her journalism degree and a tireless work ethic, she took a hands-on ownership role, selling advertising, hiring staff, and even cleaning floors. Over time, her Austin broadcasting company grew to include an AM and FM radio station and a television station, all bearing the same call letters: KTBC. The family later expanded the LBJ holdings to stations in Waco and Corpus Christi and a cable television system. After selling the television station in 1972 and the cable system in the early '90s, the family grew their radio interests in Austin to include six stations. Mrs. Johnson stayed actively involved in the LBJ Holding Company well into her 80s.

Lady Bird Johnson stood by her husband on the fateful November day in 1963 on which Lyndon Johnson became the 36th President of the United States after the assassination of John Kennedy. Her official White House biography notes that her gracious personality and Texas hospitality did much to heal the pain of those dark days. She created a First Lady's Committee for a More Beautiful Capital and then expanded her program to include the entire nation. She was also highly involved in the President's war on poverty, focusing in particular on the Head Start project for preschool children.

Find out more about Lady Bird Johnson

Biographies and Videos about Lady Bird Johnson
The Wildflower Center Store has a wide selection of products about Lady Bird Johnson. All of your purchases from the Store benefit the research and educational programs at the Wildflower Center.
go to the Wildflower Center's Online Store

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum
In addition to a biography of Mrs. Johnson, her husband's presidential library also has an extensive collection of images and a section dedicated to the First Lady's Gallery in the museum.
go to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum website

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park tells the story of our 36th President beginning with his ancestors until his final resting place on his beloved LBJ Ranch. This entire "circle of life" gives the visitor a unique perspective into one of America's most noteworthy citizens by providing the most complete picture of an American president.
go to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park website

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