|Lived:||December 22, 1912—July 11, 2007 (aged 94)|
|Career:||First lady of the United States, 1963-1969 |
Second lady of the United States, 1961-1963
Claudia "Lady Bird" Taylor Johnson was second lady of the United States from 1961-1963 and first lady from 1963-1969, the wife of the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson.
Johnson was born December 22, 1912, in Karnack, Texas. She was known as Lady Bird from her childhood, when her nursemaid nicknamed her. Johnson graduated with bachelor's degrees in history in 1933 and journalism in 1934, both from the University of Texas at Austin. On November 17, 1934, she married Lyndon Baines "LBJ" Johnson.
Lyndon Johnson was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1937. During Johnson's service in World War II (1941-1942) and while he was recovering from a severe heart attack in 1955, Mrs. Johnson ran his congressional office.
After six terms in Congress (1937-1949), Lyndon Johnson was elected to the U.S. Senate (1949-1961). He ran for president in 1961, becoming the vice-presidential nominee after losing the Democratic nomination to John F. Kennedy. Mrs. Johnson had an active role in the successful campaign. When President Kennedy was assassinated in November of 1963, Lyndon Johnson became president and Mrs. Johnson became first lady. During the 1964 presidential campaign, Mrs. Johnson campaigned independently from the president. On a train called the Lady Bird Special, she traveled through eight southern states in four days, delivering stump speeches from the caboose.
During her time as first lady, Johnson was an informal advisor to President Johnson, and worked behind the scenes to help further legislation they supported. The project she is sometimes remembered most for is her "Beautification" campaign, which included rural and urban environmentalism, national parks conservation, anti-pollution measures, water and air reclamation, landscaping and urban renewal.
Following LBJ's presidency, the Johnsons returned to Texas where she joined the National Park Service's Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings, and Monuments and continued working on beautification projects. She was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Gerald Ford in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
Johnson died on July 11, 2007, in Austin, Texas.
National First Ladies Library. (n.d.). First Lady Biography: Lady Bird Johnson. Retrieved on October 5, 2020, from http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=37.
White House Historical Association. (n.d.). Claudia Johnson. Retrieved on October 5, 2020, from https://www.whitehousehistory.org/bios/claudia-johnson.