Dear Bird: The 1934 Courtship Letters

Dear Bird: The 1934 Courtship Letters

LBJ Library releases courtship letters between Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson

Feb 13, 2013

Just in time for Valentine’s Day – LBJ Presidential Library releases courtship letters between Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson. In this age of Twitter, Instagram, and texting, these intimate letters reveal a refreshing look at the language of love.

What:          Courtship letters are now available at:
                    http://archives.lbjlibrary.org

Contact:     Anne Wheeler
                   awheeler@lbjfoundation.org
                   (512) 721-0216

BACKGROUND:  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 using words and emotional expressions rarely used as we communicate today. They also exchanged photographs.

Lyndon was working as a Congressional Aide in Washington, D.C.; he was lonely 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.

In releasing the letters, the Library has created a web page featuring several items open to the public for the first time:

• Correspondence between Lyndon and Lady Bird from September to mid-November 1934. While selected letters have previously been released, this is the first time all have been made public.
• Photographs of Lyndon and Lady Bird from 1934; some never seen before. They include photographs of Lady Bird with Eugenia Boehringer, the woman who introduced the future First Lady to the future President.

On November 17, 1934, Johnson and Lady Bird drove to San Antonio to “commit matrimony” as she would later describe it.  According to Lady Bird, she still had not made up her mind to marry Johnson as they drove to San Antonio for the wedding.  However, once in San Antonio, she was committed to proceeding with the ceremony.

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.

Press coverage

Dear Lady Bird [Texas Monthly]

LBJ Library releasing courtship love letters exchanged by Lyndon, Lady Bird [Dallas Morning News]

Presidential Admirer: LBJ's Love Letters to Lady Bird, His Bride to Be [PBS News Hour]

In newly released love letters, LBJ's sweet side comes to life [Chicago Tribune]

Fastest Courtship in the West: How LBJ Won Lady Bird [Slate]

A Texas Valentine: LBJ's Love Letters to Lady Bird  [KUT News]

LBJ Library releases love letters between President Johnson and Lady Bird through their courtship  [The Daily Texan]

LBJ love letters released on Valentine's Day  [KVUE]

LBJ And Lady Bird Johnson's Love Letters Go Public [NPR]

Love Letters Reveal LBJ's Dogged Pursuit of Lady Bird [The Atlantic Wire]

Love letters between Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird released just in time for Valentine’s Day  [NY Daily News]

LBJ Love Letters Released: Nearly 100 Notes Between Johnson, Lady Bird Unveiled Before Valentine's Day [Huffington Post]

LBJ love letters: A quick courtship of Lady Bird [Politico]

LBJ library releases Lady Bird love letters [USA Today]