Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson was First Lady of the United States from November 22, 1963, when her husband Lyndon Baines Johnson took office, until January 20, 1969.

Born Claudia Alta Taylor in Karmack, Texas, her nurse remarked that she was as pretty as a ladybird. The name stayed with her.

Lady Bird Taylor graduated high school at 15 but when she realized that she had the highest grades in her class she intentionally let her grades slip so that she wouldn't have to give the valedictorian speech. After graduation she enrolled in the University of Alabama for the summer and took her first journalism course. Rather than enrolling for the fall semester, she returned to Texas and entered St. Mary's Episcopal College for Women. After graduating from St. Mary's, Lady Bird entered the University of Texas where she earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees, a year apart, one in history the other journalism. 

A shrewd businesswoman and wise investor, Lady Bird Johnson used her family inheritance to buy a radio station, it proved wildly successful. She subsequently bought a television station, against the advice of her husband while reminding him that she could do what she wanted with her inheritance. The television station also proved successful. The Johnson's became millionaires by way of Lady Bird's $41,000 investment and business acumen. Lady Bird Johnson was the first First Lady to become a millionaire in her own right.  

Mrs. Johnson was the first First Lady to employ a press secretary, a chief of staff and a liaison with Congress. As First Lady she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. In a poll ranking the most important and influential First Ladies, Lady Bird Johnson ranked third behind Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt.

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