Lady Bird Johnson led an action-packed life. She married a complex man, who led her into the world of politics and put her on center stage before a worldwide audience. She believed her job as a wife was to support him; at the same time, her own interests called her to work for the environment, to help the disadvantaged, and to be a businesswoman. This is the story of a woman who belonged to the generation of stay-at-home wives but performed at the highest level of women-in-the-world. She did it by rising above her shyness and by being self-disciplined, with a problem-solving mind and a curiosity about the world and a love of its wonders so great that she could not let any of it pass her by untested-a woman who lived life fully, a woman worth studying and imitating.
By the time she became First Lady, change was sweeping the country. Women wanted to be recognized for their abilities. Minorities claimed their rights to vote and go to the schools of their choice. Some began to recognize our responsibility to end poverty and to protect the environment. Lady Bird Johnson was at the forefront of these movements.
After the presidency, she spent most of the next 38 years as a widow in her home state of Texas, where she created the Lady Bird Johnson National Wildflower Center to study ways to enhance and sustain the environment through the use of native plants. This courageous, activist First Lady died at age 94, a beloved and important American figure.
In Lady Bird Johnson: Deeds Not Words, Louann Temple offers an insightful, inspiring portrait of the singular wife of the 36th president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and perhaps our most underappreciated first lady. As she writes in the book’s introduction, “If LBJ-Lyndon Baines Johnson-blew through through this country with the force of a tornado, LBJ-Lady Bird Johnson-embodied the force of a gentle breeze, and she, too, changed America.” Mrs. Temple eloquently tells young readers why.
Mark K. Updegrove
Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library
A lifelong Texan, with degrees in English and American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin, Louann Temple observed history firsthand when her husband served on President Lyndon Johnson’s White House staff. She has been an active community volunteer, particularly in the arts and in education. Her interest in the arts led her to six years as a Texas Commissioner for the Arts and to write a master’s thesis on presidential support for the arts. She has also written articles for The Handbook of Texas. Eager to remain close to her alma mater, she has served on Advisory Councils at the University of Texas for Liberal Arts and for UT Press.