Proud Products of Texas Public Schools
Lady Bird Johnson
Graduate of Marshall High School
Claudia Alta Taylor, born in Karnack, Texas, on December 22, 1912, was termed at an early age by a nursemaid to be as “pretty as a lady bird,” and thus began the name she would be known as thereafter.
Lady Bird graduated with honors from Marshall High School in 1928. She received a bachelor of arts degree from The University of Texas in 1933 with a major in history. She earned a journalism degree in 1934.
After a whirlwind courtship, Claudia Alta Taylor and Lyndon Baines Johnson were married on November 17, 1934. The Johnsons had two daughters: Lynda Bird and Luci Baines.
During her White House years, Mrs. Johnson served as honorary chair of the National Head Start Program, a program for underprivileged preschool children. In 1977, President Gerald Ford presented Johnson with this country’s highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom. Johnson received the Congressional Gold Medal from President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
In January 1971, Lady Bird was appointed to a six-year term as a member of The University of Texas System Board of Regents. She is a life member of The University of Texas Ex-Student Association and has been a member of the International Conference Steering Committee (1981-82) and The University of Texas Centennial Commission.
First and foremost, Lady Bird Johnson is an environmentalist, and she has been an active worker on innumerable projects. In Washington, she enlisted the aid of friends to plant thousands of tulips and daffodils, which still delight visitors to our nation’s capital. The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 was the result of her national campaign for beautification.
Lady Bird was honorary chairman of the LBJ Memorial Grove on the Potomac in Washington, D.C. She also chaired the Town Lake Beautification Project, a community effort to create a hike and bike trail and to plant flowering trees along the Colorado River in Austin. She became a member of the National Park Service’s Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings, and Monuments in 1969 and served on the council for many years. In 1969, Mrs. Johnson founded the Texas Highway Beautification Awards, and for the next 20 years, she hosted the annual awards ceremonies and presented her personal checks to the winners. She is a trustee of the American Conservation Association.
On her 70th birthday in 1982, Lady Bird founded the National Wildflower Research Center, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the preservation and reestablishment of native plants in natural and planned landscapes. She donated 60 acres of land and a sum of money to establish the center.
In December 1972, President and Mrs. Johnson gave the LBJ Ranch house and surrounding property to the people of the United States as a national historic site, retaining a life estate in the Ranch. Mrs. Johnson continues to live at the Ranch in Stonewall, Texas, and she also has a house in Austin.
“Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.”
—Lady Bird Johnson