25 Reasons Lady Bird Johnson Was The Best First Lady Of All Time

It would have been the world-changing environmental advocate's 100th birthday today.

Posted on

1. For her entire life she was known as "Lady Bird," the beautiful nickname her nanny, Alice Tittle, gave her.

3. She was a true Texas girl.

Via ladybirdjohnson.org

“I want us to know our world. If I lived in North Georgia on up through the Appalachians, I would be just as crazy about the mountain laurel as I am about [Texas] bluebonnets.”

-Lady Bird Johnson

6. As a teen, Lady Bird was kind of a tomboy and a total secret style icon.

Via ladybirdjohnson.org

“The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.”

-Lady Bird Johnson

11. Mrs. Johnson made the most out of her time in the White House.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1965: First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, wife of American President Lyndon B. Johnson, holds the hand of Madame Chiang-kai Shek (1897 - 2003), wife of the Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang-kai Shek, in front of the White House where the Madame was invited for tea, Washington, D.C.

12. "I was keenly aware that I had a unique opportunity, a front row seat, on an unfolding story and nobody else was going to see it from quite the vantage point that I saw it." -Lady Bird Johnson

14. even as she got older.

Michael Smith / Getty Images

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the White House, 2000.

16. She was loyal and committed to her marriage even when it was difficult.

LBJ Library Photo by Yoichi Okamoto

"Every politician should have been born an orphan and remain a bachelor."

-Lady Bird Johnson

18. Lady Bird helped make environmentalism mainstream.

gaspjournal.com

“My special cause, the one that alerts my interest and quickens the pace of my life, is to preserve the wildflowers and native plants that define the regions of our land—to encourage and promote their use in appropriate areas, and thus help pass on to generation in waiting the quiet jobs and satisfactions I have known since my childhood.”

-Lady Bird Johnson

19. While also helping kids, serving as an honorary chairman of the Head Start program.

LBJ Library Photo by Robert Knudsen

Head Start = a program for underprivileged pre-school children which prepares them to be on par with their peers when they enter elementary school.

21. She spoke eloquently about the beauty of the earth and why it was important, before that was a mainstream thing to do.

Robert Knudsen

“Too often we have bartered away not only the land, but the very air and water. Too often we have sacrificed human values to commercial values under the bright guise of progress. And in our unconcern, we have let a crisis gather which threatens health and even life itself…. Today, environmental questions are matters for architects and laymen alike. They are questions, literally, of life and death. Can we have a building boom and beauty too? Must progress inevitably mean a shabbier environment? Must success spoil nature’s bounty? Insistently and with growing volume, citizens demand that we turn our building to a sensible, human purpose. They are asking, literally, for a breath of fresh air.”

-Lady Bird Johnson, 1968.

22. And she did so out of a genuine place of passion and love, not for political reasons.

ladybirdjohnson.org

“Every man has a thirst to leave his footprints on untrammeled sand. I hope it will always be so and that we will always provide it. It has been said that wilderness is the miracle that man can tear apart but cannot reassemble… At every beach, there are new shells to find, new dunes to paint.”

-Lady Bird Johnson

23. Lady Bird Johnson simply loved wildflowers, native plants, and being in nature, and committed her life to preserving those things.

obit-mag.com

“As I look back across a span of more than seven decades, I’m grateful for the joy that nature has given me and for the lifetime of experiences that led me to believe that I might repay a part of the debt I’ve incurred for beauty enjoyed.”

24. On her 70th birthday, she founded the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a 279 acre botanical garden devoted entirely to native plants.

en.wikipedia.org

“Always on the back of my mind was, ‘Gee, I wish the wildflowers of this wonderful state had a champion. I wish I thought the same fields of bluebonnets and primrose and Indian paint brush and phlox and coreopsis are going to be here for my grandchildren and their children and on down.’ And so that began the Wildflower Center and the concentration on native indigenous plants.”

-Lady Bird Johnson

25. She did everything she could, throughout her life, to honor the beauty of nature and preserve it for generations to come.

LBJ Library Photo by Frank Wolfe

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson walking through a field of flowers.