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Claudia Alta Taylor
Lady Bird Johnson
Claudia Alta ‘Lady Bird’ Taylor Johnson (1912–2007) was First Lady of the United States between 1963 an 1969, during the presidency of her husband Lyndon B. Johnson.
Claudia was named after her mother's brother Claud. During infancy her nurse Alice Tittle, had commented that she was ‘purity as a ladybird’. Opinions differ on whether the reference was to an actual bird or a ladybird beetle. In any case, the nickname replaced her actual first name for the rest of her life. Her father and siblings called her Lady. During her teenage years, her schoolmates called her Bird, though mockingly, since she was not fond of the name. Later her husband Lyndon would call her Bird, which was also the name she used on her marriage license.
Notably well educated for her time, she proved to be a capable manager and a shrewd investor. As First Lady, she broke new ground by interacting directly with Congress, employing her own press secretary, and making a solo electioneering tour. Lady Bird Johnson was a lifelong advocate for cleaning up the nation's cities and highways ('Where flowers bloom, so does hope') and the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, limiting the number of billboards along the highway, was informally known as Lady Bird's Bill.
On December 22, 1982, on her 70th birthday, she and actress Helen Hayes founded the National Wildflower Research Center; a non-profit organization devoted to preserving and reintroducing native plants in planned landscapes, located west of Austin, Texas. This earned her the nickname of ‘Johnny Appleseed’ of Wildflowers.
See also LBJ, Johnny Appleseed and Mandrake.
‘Lady Bird Johnson’, Wikipedia, retrieved 26 April 2014
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