Lady Bird’s Beautification of Washington D.C.
Beautification Luncheon in the State Dining Room of the White House. Secretary Stewart Udall, Lady Bird Johnson, and Laurance Rockefeller looking at an architectural model of the Washington DC Mall area. 4/27/67.
“This is the first time since I’ve been in the White House that we have received a woman Chief of State. Add to this the particular alchemy of the Nehru name and the size of the Indian country as an Asian democracy and you have a day alive with drama.”
— Lady Bird Johnson, in A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 411. Photo: LBJ Library C1563-6, public domain. This photo was taken on the North Portico of the White House, at the State Dinner for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 3/28/1966.
February 16, 1967. Lady Bird Johnson and Mary Lasker accept on behalf of their beautification program a surprise donation of flower seeds to be used in Washington, DC school grounds, in a presentation at the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden of the White House.
LBJ Presidential Library photo #C4560-20a, public domain.
That’s one classy wheelbarrow!
In honor of your inner gardener on the first day of spring, here’s a photo of First Lady Lady Bird Johnson’s ceremonial garden shovel and trowel.
The trowel was used by Lady Bird during the beautification plantings in Washington, D.C.: the Natural History Building, March 9, 1965; Charles Young School, November 8, 1966; and the Lady Bird Johnson Park, October 20, 1967. It was made by Red Hawk.
The shovel was presented to Lady Bird by The Commissioners, D.C. on Arbor Day, April 30, 1965. It was made by Union Fork & Hoe Co.
-from the LBJ Library
February 1966. In this silent home movie, Lady Bird frolics with the beagles and the collie Blanco in the snow on the White House south lawn (about 10 seconds in). After the initial sequence, the film is spliced and the scene switches to Texas, three months later, and as different a landscape as can be imagined. This section features Lady Bird, Lynda, Lynda’s current boyfriend actor George Hamilton, and the ever-present beagles. Oh, and at 5:13 or so the President of the United States shows his guests a dead snake.
As a side note, the woman dissecting the snake at 5:45 is Mathilde Krim, a friend of the Johnsons and a fascinating woman in her own right—take a look at her biography on the Jewish Women’s Archive for more.
Lady Bird Johnson Home Movie #37: The LBJ Ranch, The White House, Lake LBJ and Washington in 1966. LBJ Library, public domain.
We interrupt this regularly scheduled LBJ Time Machine:
To tell y’all that we have posted the 1934 love letters between LBJ and Lady Bird, available in full for the very first time, on the web. You can find them here: searchable, downloadable, and transcribed.
LBJ and Lady Bird met on September 5, 1934 and ”committed matrimony,” as Lady Bird described it, on November 17 of that same year. These 90-odd letters are their correspondence during the time of their (brief) courtship, while he was in Washington and she was in Texas. Enjoy—and Happy Valentine’s Day, from us to you.
— LBJ Presidential Library Archives Staff
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, 10 weeks worth of passionate love letters between Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson.
Lyndon and Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor met in early September 1934 in Austin. On their first date, Lyndon Johnson proposed and for the next 2 ½ months the two exchanged approximately 90 letters. They also exchanged photographs, including the ones shown here.
Lyndon was working as a Congressional Aide in Washington, D. C. and impatient to marry. Lady Bird, who was living in her hometown of Karnack, Texas, was cautious but called her suitor “electric” and was sure she didn’t want to lose him.
On November 17, 1934, Johnson and Lady Bird drove to San Antonio to “commit matrimony” as she would later describe it.
LBJ didn’t have a wedding band and asked Dan Quill, friend and Postmaster of San Antonio, to get one. Quill bought a wedding band at the nearby Sears, Roebuck & Co. for $2.50.
Lyndon Johnson and Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor married on November 17, 1934, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio. They honeymooned in Mexico and were married for 39 years.
At 9am this morning, the LBJ library released all of the 1932 love letters between Lady Bird and Lyndon from the 10-week period between the time they met and they married. You can read the letters and see the photos they exchanged at www.lbjlibrary.org.
-from the LBJ Library