Barbara Bush: First Lady
Barbara Bush Facts:
Known for: American First Lady; like Abigail Adams, Barbara Bush was wife of a Vice President, First Lady, and then mother of a President. Also known for her work for literacy.
Dates: June 8, 1925 - , First Lady: 1989-1993
Husband: George H. W. Bush, married January 6, 1945
Children: George Walker (1946-), Pauline Robinson (1949-1953), John Ellis (Jeb) (1953-), Neil Mallon (1955-), Marvin Pierce (1956-), Dorothy Walker LeBlond (1959-)
Also known as: Barbara Pierce Bush
Barbara Bush Biography:
Barbara Bush was born Barbara Pierce, June 8, 1925, in Rye, New York. Her father, Marvin Pierce, became chairman of McCall publishing company which published such magazines as McCall's and Redbook. He was a distant relation to President Franklin Pierce. Her mother, Pauline Robinson Pierce, was killed in a car accident when Barbara Bush was 24, when the car, driven by Marvin Pierce, hit a wall. Barbara Bush's younger brother, Scott Pierce, was a financial executive.
Barbara Bush attended a suburban day school and then Ashley Hall, a Charleston, South Carolina, boarding school. She met George H. W. Bush at a dance when she was 17 and he was at Phillips Academy (Massachusetts). They were engaged, he served in World War II as a Navy bomber pilot. Barbara was attending Smith College, but dropped out in the middle of her sophomore year when George returned on leave in late 1945. They were married two weeks later.
Together, they had six children, including a daughter who died of leukemia.
Leaving the military, George H. W. Bush went into the oil business, and then into government and politics. The family lived in 17 different cities and 29 homes over the years. Barbara Bush has been candid about the effort that she had to put in to help one of her sons (Neil) with his learning disability.
When her husband served as American Vice President under Ronald Reagan, Barbara Bush made literacy the cause on which she focused. She continued that interest in her role as First Lady. She has served on the board of Reading Is Fundamental, and established the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Barbara Bush also raised money for many causes and charities, including the United Negro College Fund and Sloan-Kettering Hospital.
In 1984 and 1990, she wrote books attributed to family dogs, including C. Fred's Story and Millie's Book. The proceeds were given to her literacy foundation.
Barbara Bush also served as honorary chairman of the Leukemia Society.
Today, Barbara Bush lives in Houston, Texas, and Kenebunkport, Maine. One of the twin daughters of her son, President George Bush, is named for her.
Barbara Bush has been criticized as insensitive for remarks on the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina.
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