Happy Birthday Lady Bird Johnson!

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lady Bird Johnson, who was born Claudia Alta Taylor on December 22, 1912, in Karnack, Texas. Her nickname stems from childhood, when a nursemaid remarked that she was as “purty as a little ladybird.” It turned out to be an appropriate moniker for the future First Lady, who spent much of her childhood outdoors in East Texas bayou country and developed a lifelong love and affinity for nature.

This set of six First Day Covers features a a different affixed Lady Bird Johnson (Forever®) stamp and a First Day of Issue color postmark. Click image for more info.

This set of six First Day Covers features a a different affixed Lady Bird Johnson (Forever®) stamp and a First Day of Issue color postmark. Click image for more info.

Mrs. Johnson will best be remembered for awakening the nation’s environmental conscience. “Getting on the subject of beautification is like picking up a tangled skein of wool,” she wrote in her diary on January 27, 1965. “All the threads are interwoven—recreation and pollution and mental health, and the crime rate, and rapid transit, and highway beautification, and the war on poverty, and parks—national, state, and local.”

Using the nation’s capital as a model, Mrs. Johnson, with the help and encouragement of philanthropist Mary Lasker, organized a committee that raised private funds to plant trees and flowering plants in the monumental areas of the city. Her efforts prompted local businesses and others in Washington, D.C., to begin beautification efforts in less touristy neighborhoods. She also encouraged community involvement in efforts to improve public spaces, schoolyards, and parks.

President Johnson supported his wife’s initiatives as part of his own strong commitment to the environment, and she worked with her husband to enact such landmark legislation as the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Program.

First Day Cancelled Full Sheet

Celebrate the legacy left by a beloved First Lady with this full sheet of six Lady Bird Johnson (Forever®) stamps cancelled by four black postmarks. Click the image for more info.

Mrs. Johnson is perhaps best known for the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, which sought to control billboards and remove or screen junkyards that blighted the nation’s highways. She remained committed to highway beautification after leaving the White House and supported the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987, which allocated federal funds for landscaping projects using native plants, flowers, and trees along the highways.

In 1982, on her 70th birthday—when most people are focused on retirement—Mrs. Johnson dedicated herself to the creation of the National Wildflower Research Center. The center has grown into an international leader in research, education, and projects that encourage the use of wildflowers and native plants. In 1997, a new, larger facility in Austin, Texas—renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center—continues Mrs. Johnson’s commitment to promote the beauty and sustainability of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes.

The Lady Bird Johnson Forever® souvenir stamps sheet was released November 30, 2012, and is now available for purchase online and in Post Offices.

Environmentalist Lady Bird Johnson To Be Immortalized on Stamp

Forty-seven years ago today, Congress signed into law the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, known as “Lady Bird’s Bill” because of Lady Bird Johnson’s keen interest and active support of its passage. We are delighted to announce today that the U.S. Postal Service will celebrate this and other of Mrs. Johnson’s achievements with the release of the Lady Bird Johnson Souvenir Forever stamps sheet.

The dedication ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 11 a.m. on November 30, 2012, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.

“The Postal Service is proud to issue this historic Forever stamp honoring a beloved First Lady who worked tirelessly to make the United States a more beautiful place,” says Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “Lady Bird Johnson’s legacy lives on along our nation’s roadsides, and urban parks and trails, which she so diligently worked to preserve and beautify, and now on a U.S. postage stamp to commemorate her contributions for forever.”

To learn more about Lady Bird Johnson (1912–2007) and events celebrating the centennial of her birth, visit the Lady Bird Johnson Centennial website. You can preorder the souvenir sheet now for delivery in early December by visiting The Postal Store or by calling 800-STAMP-24.