Lifestyle & Belief

Love, LBJ: President's courtship letters released


In this 22 November 1963 file photo, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (R) and Lady Bird Johnson (2ndL), watch as US Vice President Lyndon Johnson (C) is administered the oath of office by Federal Judge Sarah Hughes (L) as he assumed the presidency of the US following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.



Presidents are generally a tenacious lot, and Lyndon B. Johnson was no exception. "[Y]our lack of decision hasn't tempered either my affection, devotion or ability to know what I want," the future president told his girlfriend in one 90 letters trying to get her to marry him. 

Seems he was a bit of a romantic at 26 years old, according to correspondence seen by the Associated Press. The letters represent an amorously stubborn attempt to woo the hand of his future wife, Claudia Alta Taylor, AKA Lady Bird, during a lovesick, ten-week letter-writing period in 1934. 

It wasn't easy to win her over, though. AP said her responses began with "I'm not so sure about this," before becoming, "I adore you." But that didn't mean she'd marry him. 

Johnson finally got sick of it, showing up unannounced at her Texas homestead with an in-person proposal.

The two married four days after exchanging the last letter in a collection set for its first-ever full public release on Thursday -- aww, Valentines Day -- by the LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin, said AP.

The collection will also be made available online. 

"It just seemed like a good time to do it,"  library archivist Claudia Anderson told AP on Wednesday. 

She said the letters say a lot about the couple. "He wants a commitment from her. ... His letters express that," she said. They also reveal two strong characters. "His impatience, his passion for helping people; her interest in conservation and nature."

Johnson died in 1973, and his wife passed away in 2007, said AP