“I do believe before the day was over he did ask me to marry him and I thought he was just out of his mind.”
-Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor
Two teenagers in love might exchange hundreds of texts on their phones. But during their two-and-a-half month courtship, Lyndon Baines Johnson and Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor were each writing a letter—and sometimes even two—every day in a constant overlapping correspondence between Washington, DC, and Karnack, Texas.
Today, on Valentine’s Day, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is releasing love letters between the future President and the First Lady. Most of the letters have not been seen before by the public, and they offer a glimpse into the feelings and thoughts of the couple during this intense courtship.
It was a whirlwind romance. LBJ was 26, and Lady Bird was just 22 years old. They met in the office of a mutual friend in Austin, Texas, in September of 1934. Although LBJ had a date that night, he asked Lady Bird to meet him for breakfast. The breakfast date turned into a day-long affair as the pair drove around Austin.
LBJ even proposed. Read More
Photo: Newlyweds Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson pose in a boat on the Floating Gardens in Xochimilco, Mexico, during their honeymoon, November 1934.
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
When President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon were inaugurated in 1957, photographers captured an image of them on the Inaugural Parade viewing stand with the President’s grandchildren, Anne and David Eisenhower, and the VP’s daughters, Julie and Tricia Nixon.
David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon Eisenhower are now married, and in the most recent book that they co-authored, they recall that the event may have been the start of their lifelong romance.
David Eisenhower writes in “Going Home to Glory” that in one version of “the resulting photograph, I am staring intently at Julie and she is looking at me.”
-from the Eisenhower Library
A List of Love and War
Today is the wedding anniversary of Harry and Bess Truman. Each year, Harry wrote Bess a letter on June 28. Over the course of their 60-year courtship, Harry devotedly wrote his wife more than 1,300 letters.
Pictured here is the first page of Harry’s 1957 anniversary letter to Bess. In it, Harry frankly lists the top news from each year including:
- 1920 One happy year.
- 1921 Going very well.
- 1922 Daughter 4 mo. old.
- 1925 Out of a job.
- 1926 Still out of a job.
- 1927 Presiding Judge - eating again.
- 1937 Good time in Washington.
- 1938 Very happy time Margie 14.
- 1945 V.P + President. War End
- 1948 A terrible campaign. Happy day.
- 1957 Well here we are again…