Texas Women's History Month: A Famous First Lady

Mar 10, 2017

As the story goes, Claudia Alta Taylor earned her nickname when her childhood nursemaid said she was “as pretty as a lady bird.”

Born in 1912 on the shores of Caddo Lake, Claudia Alta Taylor attained her childhood nickname — so the story goes — when her childhood nursemaid said she was “as pretty as a lady bird.” She earned degrees in history and journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, where in 1934 she met Lyndon B. Johnson.

 

The couple married just seven weeks after their first date, and three years later she found herself working in her husband’s U.S. Senate campaign. Following John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Johnson became the First Lady upon her husband’s ascension to the presidency. She actively supported the programs of his Great Society initiatives, and her leadership in environmental causes led to the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, nicknamed Lady Bird’s bill.

 

Although physically limited after suffering strokes in 1993 and 2002, Johnson remained active and engaged until her death in 2007 at age 94.

This month, KUT is partnering with the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation to celebrate Women's History Month. Every day, we'll bring you a short feature spotlighting a historic woman, movement, or group of women in Texas.