A Stamp for Lady Bird

The late Lady Bird Johnson, BA ’33, BJ ’34, BL ’64, Life Member, Distinguished Alumna, has become the sixth first lady to be featured on a United States postage stamp—joining the ranks of Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

On Friday, the United States Postal Service unveiled a commemorative Forever stamp in honor of Johnson’s 100th birthday at UT’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The stamp, which showcases her White House portrait painted by Elizabeth Shoumatoff, is packaged with five Beautification of America stamps that were originally issued in the 1960’s.

The Wildflower Center event was a culmination of months of hard work during which USPS received hundreds of letters campaigning for the stamp.  Among them were letters from all five living former first ladies and one from Thurgood Marshall Jr, chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors.

For Wildflower Center executive director Susan Rieff, Johnson is the spirit of the Wildflower Center. “Her passion just kind of gets into your bones here,” Rieff says. “So many of our staff knew her personally and really cared for her.”

While her husband was in office, Johnson became a figure for conservation, and the beautification stamps are a reminder of the visible legacy that she left behind. According to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, she was an environmentalist before the word was even part of the American lexicon.

Rieff agrees. “She really transformed American environmental policy,” she says. “A lot of the policies that we think of today are from her tenure in the White House.”

The honor is also fitting in another way. Johnson’s personal correspondence was prolific. “She was a very eloquent writer,” Rieff says. “She wrote so many notes and letters, and they are all just beautifully written.”

The Lady Bird Johnson Forever stamp is available at post offices in Texas and in the Washington metropolitan area, as well as online and by calling the U.S. Postal Service.

Photo courtesy of the US Postal Service. From left to right: Thurgood Marshall Jr, Luci Banes Johnson, and Lynda Johnson Robb


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