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Barbara Bush
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 (Pierce) Bush

Barbara Bush's down-to-earth, easy manner made her a popular First Lady. Americans admired her devotion to her family. With her warm smile and white hair, she seemed to be "everybody's grandmother."

Barbara Pierce met her future husband, George Bush, when she was 16. She left Smith College after two years to marry him in 1945. They moved to Texas, where he entered the oil business. The Bushes raised four sons and a daughter; another daughter died of leukemia at age three. Over the years, as George Bush pursued a career in politics and government, the family moved 29 times and lived in 17 different cities, including Beijing, China.

As First Lady, Barbara Bush campaigned against illiteracy, assisting in the development of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in 1989. She also encouraged Americans to volunteer to help others. These projects and the duties of White House hostess kept her busy. But she always had time for visits with her many grandchildren. In 1993, the Bushes returned to Houston. Two autobiographies, Barbara Bush: A Memoir and Reflections: Life After the White House, appeared in 1994 and 2003, respectively. An earlier book, Millie's Book, the story of her White House dog Millie, was a best-seller. And she took great pride in the accomplishments of her sons. Jeb Bush became governor of Florida in 1999, and George W. Bush was sworn in as president of the United States in 2001.

Biography from The Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia