Lady Bird Johnson Forever

The stamps with Lady Bird Johnson's official White House portrait were unveiled Friday at her wildflower center in Austin.
Tue December 4, 2012 2:01 am
Sonia Smith

UPDATE:

The design for Lady Bird Johnson's postage stamp was unveiled Friday at her eponymous wildflower center. It features Lady Bird's official White House portrait, which was painted by Elizabeth Shoumatoff, and it will be sold alongside five reissued '60s-era stamps of flowering landscapes highlighting Lady Bird's beautifucation efforts. The sheets of six Forever stamps, available for pre-order now, will be released on December 22, the centennial of Lady Bird's birth.

Among those who wrote in support of Johnson receiving a stamp were former First Lady and current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who wrote:

Lady Bird Johnson was a gracious woman, and one of our nation's most effective and influential first ladies. Her mark upon our country can easily be found in the legacy of her campaign to beautify our public spaces and preserve and protect our natural environment for future generations to enjoy. Often toiling in the shadow of President Johnson's oversized personality, Mrs. Johnson was a remarkable woman in her own right, full of energy, intelligence and compassion.

This makes Lady Bird the fifth-ever first lady have her image grace a postage stamp. Here's her new stamp alongside those depicting Martha Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dolley Madison, and Abigail Adams.

ORIGINAL POST: August 7, 2012:

On the occasion of Lady Bird Johnson's 100th birthday, the U.S. Postal Service is immortalizing the first lady on a "forever stamp."

The stamps, which will bear Lady Bird's official White House portrait (left) and wildflowers that appeared on '60s-era stamps that encouraged citizens to plant flowers, will come out in December, the U.S. Postal Service announced last month. 

"[Lady Bird] was quiet but she was so steadfast in her dedication not only to her husband but to our country," Mark Updegrove, the director of the LBJ Library,  told KUT. "Every time I drive down the highway and see wildflowers I realize that that's Lady Bird Johnson." (Lady Bird supported beautification programs that, in her words, put "masses of flowers where masses pass.")

The Postal Service has only put four other first ladies on stamps: Martha Washington in 1902 (and 1923 and 1938), Eleanor Roosevelt in 1963 (and 1984 and 1998), Dolley Madison in 1980, and Abigail Adams in 1985, the Washington Post reported. (A selection of those stamps can be seen on the envelope above.)

Lyndon Johnson was also posthumously memorialized on a postage stamp, which was issued seven months after his death in 1973. (Presidents are typically put on a stamp within a year of their death, a Postal Service spokesman said. Additionally, LBJ was also featured on a 1986 stamp, one of the one Ameripex stamps 36 featuring deceased presidents.) Lady Bird died in 2007, and the Postal Service received support for putting her on a stamp from "Texas lawmakers and the former living first ladies," according to the Post.

Lady Bird's stamps will add a little flair to a plain envelope, something she would have appreciated. "Ugliness is so grim," she once said. "A little beauty, something that is lovely, I think, can help create harmony which will lessen tensions."

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