LADY BIRD JOHNSON Biography - Socialites, celebrities and People in the fashion industry


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Name: Claudia Alta                                                                     
Born: December 22, 1912 Karnack, Texas, United States                                   
Died: July 11, 2007 West Lake Hills, Texas, United States                               
Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor Johnson (December 22, 1912 - July 11, 2007)             
was First Lady of the United States from 1963 to 1969, having been the wife of U.S.     
President Lyndon B. Johnson. Throughout her life, she was an advocate for               
beautification of the nation's cities and highways and conservation of natural         
resources, and made that her major initiative as First Lady. After leaving the         
White House in 1969 and her husband's death in 1973, Lady Bird became an               
entrepreneur, creating the $150 million LBJ Holdings Company, and was a                 
recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal,       
the highest civilian honors.                                                           
The Brick House, Lady Bird Johnson's birthplace and childhood home in Karnack,         
Claudia Alta Taylor was born in Karnack, Texas, a town in Harrison County, near         
the state's border with Louisiana. Her birthplace was "The Brick House," a             
former slave plantation mansion on the outskirts of town, which her father had         
purchased shortly before her birth. Nearly all of both her maternal and paternal       
forefathers arrived in the Virginia Colony during the late 16th and early 17th         
centuries. Her father was a native of Alabama and primarily of English ancestry         
with small amounts of Welsh and Danish while her mother was a native of Texas           
and of English and Scottish descent .                                                   
Though she was named for her mother's brother Claud, during her infancy, her           
nurse, Alice Tittle, commented, she was as "purty as a ladybird,"                       
which is a brightly colored beetle commonly known as a ladybug in the United           
States That nickname virtually replaced her given name for the rest of her             
life. Her father and siblings called her Lady, though her husband called her           
Bird, which is the name she used on her marriage license. During her teenage           
years, her schoolmates called her Bird, though mockingly, since she reportedly         
was not fond of the name.                                                               
Her father was Thomas Jefferson Taylor (August 29, 1874 - October 22, 1960), a         
sharecropper's son who became a wealthy businessman and the owner of 15,000             
acres (61 kmĀ²) of cotton and two general stores. "My father was a very strong         
character, to put it mildly," his daughter once said. "He lived by his own rules.       
It was a whole feudal way of life, really."                                             
A portrait of Lady Bird Taylor at about age three                                       
Her mother was the former Minnie Lee Pattillo (1874-1918), an opera lover who           
felt out of place in Karnack and who was often in "poor emotional and physical         
health." When Lady Bird was five years old, Minnie, while pregnant, fell down           
a flight of stairs and died of complications after miscarrying. In a profile           
of Lady Bird Johnson, Time magazine described Lady Bird's mother as "a tall,           
eccentric woman from an old and aristocratic Alabama family, liked to wear long         
white dresses and heavy veils [... and who] scandalized people for miles around         
by entertaining Negroes in her home, and once even started to write a book about       
Negro religious practices, called Bio Baptism." Her unreconstructed husband,           
however, tended to see blacks as "hewers of wood and drawers of water,"                 
according to his younger son.                                                           
Lady Bird had two elder brothers, Thomas Jefferson Jr. (1901-1959) and Antonio,         
also known as Tony (1904-1986). She also had two stepmothers, one whom her             
father divorced and Ruth Scroggins, who married Thomas Taylor in 1937.                 
She was largely raised by her aunt Effie Pattillo, who moved to Karnack after           
her sister's death, although Lady Bird visited her Pattillo relatives in Autauga       
County, Alabama, every summer until she was a young woman. As she explained, "Until     
I was about 20, summertime always meant Alabama to me. With Aunt Effie we would         
board the train in Marshall and ride to the part of the world that meant               
watermelon cuttings, picnics at the creek, and a lot of company every Sunday."         
According to Lady Bird, her aunt Effie "opened my spirit to beauty, but she             
neglected to give me any insight into the practical matters a girl should know         
about, such as how to dress or choose one's friends or learning to dance."             
Lady Bird was a shy and quiet girl who spent much of her youth alone in the             
outdoors. "People always look back at it now and assume it was lonely," she once       
said about her childhood. "To me it definitely was not. [...] I spent a lot of         
time just walking and fishing and swimming."She developed her lifelong love             
of the environment as a child growing up in the tall pines and bayous of East           
Texas and watching the wildflowers bloom each spring.