Born Dec. 22: Lady Bird Johnson
By Michael Baadke
Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, was born Claudia Alta Taylor in Karnack, Texas, on Dec. 22, 1912.
She came to be known as Lady Bird as an infant, and the nickname remained with her throughout her life.
Lady Bird graduated third in her high school class in 1928, at age 15, and studied at St. Mary’s Episcopal College for Women and at the University of Texas, graduating with a history degree in 1933, and earning a degree in journalism in 1934.
The following year she met and married Lyndon Johnson, a Congressional worker with political ambitions. She supported his run for Congress in 1937 and his subsequent campaigns.
Daughter Lynda Bird Johnson was born in 1944, and Luci Baines Johnson was born three years later.
Lyndon Johnson was elected vice president with John F. Kennedy in 1960. When President Kennedy was assassinated Nov. 22, 1963, Johnson became president, and Lady Bird became first lady.
During her years in the White House, from 1963 to 1969, Lady Bird was deeply involved in environmental issues and campaigned for the Highway Beautification Act, which was signed into law in 1965.
Lyndon Johnson died in 1973, and Lady Bird continued her environmental efforts, founding the National Wildflower Research Center in 1982.
She died at age 94 in 2007.
A pane of six stamps honoring Mrs. Johnson was issued Nov. 30, 2012, with five forever stamps reproducing the designs of Beautification of America stamps issued in 1966 and 1969, and the sixth showing the official White House portrait of Lady Bird (Scott 4716).
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