Born: June 8th, 1925
|Barbara Bush and her springer spaniel, Millie, at the White House
Photo by Carol Powers Courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Barbara Bush often jokes that her successful life is a result of marrying well. Her husband’s service as Vice President and President of the United States offered her a unique opportunity to make a difference in the public eye, but since leaving the White House in 1993, this Former First Lady continues to serve others with the same tireless energy, goodwill and good humor that has endeared her to millions around the world.
Born Barbara Pierce on June 8, 1925, Mrs. Bush grew up in Rye, New York, where she met and later married George Herbert Walker Bush on January 6, 1945. The Bush’s first daughter, Robin, died in 1953 after fighting Leukemia, but today the family includes four sons (George W., Jeb, Marvin and Neil); one daughter (Dorothy); four daughters-in-law; one son-in-law; and 14 grandchildren.
Throughout the years in public life, Mrs. Bush volunteered in and supported hundreds of charity and humanitarian causes. Today, she continues her service as Americares ambassador-at-large; Mayo Clinic Foundation board member; and general supporter of various organizations, including the Leukemia Society of America, the Ronald McDonald House, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.
Her number one cause, however, is family literacy. She believes, and so do the experts, that if more people could read, write, and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems plaguing our society today. In 1989, she helped develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy whose mission is to support the development of family literacy programs; break the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy; and establish literacy as a value in every American family. She currently serves as honorary chair of the Foundation and hosts its annual fundraiser, “A Celebration of Reading,” and regularly donates a portion of her proceeds to the foundation’s causes.
Her involvement in the literacy cause does not end with her foundation. She regularly undertakes a myriad of projects and a rigorous appearance schedule designed to emphasize reading as a part of daily family life. By visiting literacy programs across the country — in schools, housing projects, organizations and businesses — she witnesses, first hand, the powerful impact reading has on those who were previously illiterate.
She regularly appeared on “Mrs. Bush’s Story Time,” a national radio program that stresses the importance of reading aloud to children and authored two books, C. Fred’s Story and the best-selling Millie’s Book, whose profits benefited the literacy cause. Most recently, she wrote Barbara Bush: A Memoir, her best-selling autobiography emphasizing the importance of family, faith, and friends.
Source: George Bush Presidential Library
Learning Links for First Lady Barbara Bush
This foundation is focused on literacy through support for family reading programs.
Source: The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
This exhibit looks at Barbara Bush through photos, memorabilia and other personal items from the library.
Source: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Learn more about Barbara Bush in this article from Scholastic.
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