An educator and librarian, the future Laura Bush avoided meeting fellow Midland, Texas native George W. Bush for some time, saying she did not want to be involved with “someone real political.” But they were wed four months after meeting at a barbeque, and it was clear that George would have prominent careers in business and politics. A little more than twenty years later, she was First Lady. When asked if her role model would be her mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, or Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush responded, “I think I’ll just be Laura Bush.” With her career, it’s no surprise that literacy was at the heart of her tenure as First Lady. In 2001, she founded the National Book Festival, modeled after her founding of the Texas Book Festival, to promote literacy and celebrate America’s vibrant literary culture. She also advocated for equal rights for women and children in Afghanistan throughout the war and maintained an ambitious travel schedule, particularly to promote health awareness and women’s causes around the world. Even as her husband’s popularity plummeted, she remained well-loved as a caring, intelligent, down-to-earth person.         
Facts and quotations from First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Betty Boyd Caroli. C-Span is exploring the influence of First Ladies in its series.  
Image credit: Laura Bush reading to children in El Paso Texas, 2006. White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.  

An educator and librarian, the future Laura Bush avoided meeting fellow Midland, Texas native George W. Bush for some time, saying she did not want to be involved with “someone real political.” But they were wed four months after meeting at a barbeque, and it was clear that George would have prominent careers in business and politics. A little more than twenty years later, she was First Lady. When asked if her role model would be her mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, or Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush responded, “I think I’ll just be Laura Bush.” With her career, it’s no surprise that literacy was at the heart of her tenure as First Lady. In 2001, she founded the National Book Festival, modeled after her founding of the Texas Book Festival, to promote literacy and celebrate America’s vibrant literary culture. She also advocated for equal rights for women and children in Afghanistan throughout the war and maintained an ambitious travel schedule, particularly to promote health awareness and women’s causes around the world. Even as her husband’s popularity plummeted, she remained well-loved as a caring, intelligent, down-to-earth person.         

Facts and quotations from First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Betty Boyd Caroli. C-Span is exploring the influence of First Ladies in its series.  

Image credit: Laura Bush reading to children in El Paso Texas, 2006. White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.