Bush, Barbara, 1925-2018

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After serving as Second Lady from 1981 to 1989, Barbara Pierce Bush served as First Lady of the United States when her husband George H. W. Bush won the Presidency. She is also the mother of the 43rd President, George W. Bush, and of Florida’s 43rd Governor, Jeb Bush.

Rarely has a First Lady been greeted by the American people and the press with the approbation and warmth accorded to Barbara Pierce Bush. Perhaps this is prompted by the image she calls “everybody’s grandmother.” People were comfortable with her white hair, her warm, relaxed manner, and her keen wit. With characteristic directness, she said people liked her because they knew “I’m fair and I like children and I adore my husband.”

Barbara was born in 1925 to Pauline and Marvin Pierce, who later became president of McCall Corporation. In the suburban town of Rye, New York, she had a happy childhood. She went to boarding school at Ashley Hall in South Carolina, and it was at a dance during Christmas vacation when she was only 16 that she met George Bush, a senior at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. They became engaged a year and a half later, just before he went off to war as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. By the time George returned on leave, Barbara had dropped out of Smith College. Two weeks later, on January 6, 1945, they were married.

After the war, George graduated from Yale, and they set out for Texas to start their lives together. Six children were born to them: George, Robin, Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. Meanwhile, George built a business in the oil industry. With Texas as home base, he then turned to politics and public service, serving as a member of Congress, U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U. S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and later as Vice President. In those 44 years of marriage, Mrs. Bush managed 29 moves of the family.

When her husband was away, she became the family linchpin, providing everything from discipline to carpools. The death of their daughter Robin from leukemia when she was not quite four left George and Barbara Bush with a lifelong compassion. She says, “Because of Robin, George and I love every living human more.”

Barbara Bush was always an asset to her husband during his campaigns for public office. Her friendly, forthright manner won her high marks from the voters and the press. As wife of the Vice President, she selected the promotion of literacy as her special cause. As First Lady, she called working for a more literate America the “most important issue we have.” Involved with many organizations devoted to this cause, she became Honorary Chairman of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. A strong advocate of volunteerism, Mrs. Bush helped many causes–including the homeless, AIDS, the elderly, and school volunteer programs.

Barbara Pierce Bush passed away in Houston, Texas on April 17, 2018, at the age of 92. She was buried on the grounds of the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush pose with their children, their spouses and grandchildren for a family portrait in Houston, Texas
referencedIn Education -- Barbara Bush Middle School. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. Mrs. Bush visits patients at Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior. Photographs Relating to the Secretary's Trips, Speeches, and Other Functions, and Agency Officials, Events, and Managed Sites. 2002-2013. National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush greet the troops of the First Division Marine Command Post during their visit to Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush walk along Pennsylvania Avenue after the President's Inauguration
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, January 16, 1990
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, February 20, 1991
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. Mrs. Bush attends the United Nations International Literacy Day Celebration in New York City with children from the New York City schools
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush await the arrival of President Ali Abdallah Saleh of the Yemen Arab Republic for a State Dinner at the White House
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush pose with their grandchildren on the rocks at Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush host a State Dinner for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of Great Britain at the White House
creatorOf United States. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. NCLIS records, 1971-[ongoing], (bulk 1977-1987). University of Michigan
referencedIn Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) Archives, 1885-1990s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush participate in a tree planting ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House
referencedIn Garden Club of Houston. Records, 1929-1992. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush walk towards Marine One to leave for Camp David
referencedIn National Republican Congressional Committee. George H.W. Bush collection, 1988-2009. Brick Store Museum
referencedIn General Records of the Department of Education. 1967 - 2005. Photographs of Agency Activities
creatorOf George H. W. Bush Library Museum Collection. 1981 - 2004. Post-Presidential Gifts Received by George H. W. and Barbara Bush
referencedIn Houston, Post, Washington D. C. Bureau, Collection 96-246; 96-275., 1963-1995 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Bush, Barbara, 1925-. Letter to Margaret McDonald. Houston, TX. 1979 Sept. 30. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn President (University of Michigan) records, 1967-2010 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush show Russian President Boris Yeltsin the South Grounds of the White House and stop at the south fountain to pose for a photograph
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, January 15, 1990
referencedIn George H. W. Bush Papers. 1942 - 2004. World War II Correspondence George Bush Library
referencedIn Barbara Bush visit collection, 1991. South Carolina State University, Miller F. Whittak, Miller F. Whittaker Library
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, January 20, 1991
creatorOf Shatz, Frank. Frank and Jaroslava Shatz Papers. William & Mary Libraries
referencedIn William C. Friday Papers, 1942-1999 and undated (bulk 1985-1999) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. Vice President and Mrs. Bush traveling on Air Force II during the 1984 Presidential Campaign
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, February 4, 1991
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, January 27, 1991
creatorOf Steorts, Nancy Harvey, 1936-. Nancy Harvey Steorts papers, 1937-2000, (bulk 1970-1990). Clemson University Libraries, Robert Muldrow Cooper Library
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, January 26, 1991
referencedIn General Records of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 1931 - 2003. Central Photograph Files
referencedIn Photograph of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush and presentation certificate. [manuscript], 1990. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Historical Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. Photograph of Barbara Pierce Bush at Age Seven
creatorOf Sanguinetti, Elise. Elise Ayers Sanguinetti papers, 1929-2003. University of Alabama
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, January 21, 1991
creatorOf BUSH, BARBARA. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Cooper, Lorraine Rowan, 1906-1985. Papers, 1936-1983 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush walk with their grandchildren at Camp David
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Distinguished visitors clippings 1903-2007 Monterey Public Library
referencedIn Papers, 1949-2007 (inclusive), 1971-2004 (bulk). Center for the History of Medicine. Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, January 29, 1991
referencedIn Elise Ayers Sanguinetti papers MSS. 0098., 1929-2003 W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama
referencedIn Douglas, Rosslee Tenetha Green, 1928-. Rosslee Tenetha Green Douglas papers, 1938-2001. University of South Carolina, University Libraries
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George and Barbara Bush on their wedding day in Rye, New York
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President Bush works at his desk in the Oval Office as Mrs. Bush looks at photographs on the table behind the Oval Office desk
referencedIn George H. W. Bush Papers. 1942 - 2004. Dorothy Walker Bush Materials George Bush Library
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush take a last walk around the White House Grounds
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George and Barbara Bush with their first born child George W. Bush, while Bush was a student at Yale
referencedIn Photographs of Peace Corps Activities and Personnel (Contact Sheet File), 1961 - 1990 United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. Photograph of President George and Barbara Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine
referencedIn University of Pennsylvania. Office of the President. Assistant to the President for Special Projects. Records, 1977-1994. University of Pennsylvania, Archives & Records Center
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Treasury. 1775 - 2005. Photographs of U.S. Presidents, Department Officials and Personalities, and Facilities National Archives at College Park
creatorOf George H. W. Bush Papers. 1942 - 2004. China Files
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. Mrs. Bush and Raisa Gorbachev deliver Commencement Addresses at Wellesley College
referencedIn Records of the White House Office of Press Secretary (George H. W. Bush Administration). 1987 - 1/20/1993. Internal Transcript Files
referencedIn Printed materials, 1989-2000. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. Vice President and Mrs. Bush at their summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine with their family
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush help kick-off Great American Workout Month by participating in the Great American Workout with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan on the South Lawn
referencedIn Records of the White House Office of Press Secretary (George H. W. Bush Administration). 1987 - 1/20/1993. Marlin Fitzwater's Alphabetical Subject Files related to the Bush Family
referencedIn Records of the Environmental Protection Agency. 1944 - 2006. Photographs of Agency Personnel United States. National Archives and Records Administration
creatorOf Saltonstall, Leverett, 1892-1979. Leverett Saltonstall autograph collection, 1930-1996 ; bulk: 1930-1979. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President-elect and Mrs. Bush have their picture taken by their granddaughter, Barbara Bush, at the Inaugural Gala on January 19, 1989 at the Convention Center in Washington, D.C
referencedIn Norman H. and Charlotte Strouse collection of letters of the presidents, 1780-1990 Free Library of Philadelphia: Rare Book Department
referencedIn University of Pennsylvania. 250th Anniversary Commission. Records, 1940-1992 (bulk, 1986-1992). University of Pennsylvania, Archives & Records Center
referencedIn Houston Post, Washington D.C. Bureau. Houston Post, Washington D.C. Bureau, Collection, 1963-1995 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Bill Archer Papers, 1970-2000 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, January 23, 1991
referencedIn Julie Cooke Papers. 1989 - 1992. Subject Files
referencedIn Philip Agee Papers, Bulk, 1965-2000, 1948-2007 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Press Office speech files, 1986, 1989-2000, undated, (bulk 1995-2000) Texas State Archives
creatorOf Barbara Pierce Bush Papers. 1945 - 2004. Family Scrapbooks
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush host a State Dinner for Russian President and Mrs. Boris Yeltsin at the White House
referencedIn Obama Inaugural Photograph Collection, 2009-197., 2009 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George and Barbara Bush in Houston, Texas on the night which George Bush was elected to Congress
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, February 24, 1991
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. During Mrs. Bush's speech at the Republican National Convention at the Houston Astrodome, her grandson George P. Bush makes remarks about his grandfather
referencedIn Shouse, Catherine Filene, 1896-1994. Papers, 1878-1998 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. Mrs. Bush and Missouri Governor John Ashcroft attend a quot;Parents as Teachersquot; parent/child group at the Ferguson-Florissant School District in Florissant, Missouri where Mrs. Bush reads quot;Brown Bear Brown Bearquot; to the children
referencedIn Records of the White House Photograph Office. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President and Mrs. Bush walk towards their home on Walker's Point after the President's arrival from Washington
referencedIn Papers, 1936-1983 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Agee, Philip. person
associatedWith Archer, Bill person
associatedWith Archer, Bill person
associatedWith Brazelton, T. Berry 1918- person
child-in-law of Bush, Dorothy Walker, 1901-1992 person
spouseOf Bush, George, 1924-.... person
parentOf Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946- person
parentOf Bush, Jeb person
parent-in-law of Bush, Laura Welch, 1946- person
parentOf Bush, Neil, 1955- person
child-in-law of Bush, Prescott Sheldon, 1895-1972 person
associatedWith Cooper, Lorraine Rowan, 1906-1985. person
associatedWith Douglas, Rosslee Tenetha Green, 1928- person
associatedWith Friday, William C. (William Clyde). person
associatedWith Garden Club of Houston. corporateBody
associatedWith Houston Post , Washington D.C. Bureau corporateBody
associatedWith Kennerly, David Hume person
associatedWith Lorraine (Rowan) Cooper, 1906-1985 person
associatedWith McDonald, Margaret, 1925- , person
associatedWith McNeely, Robert person
associatedWith Monterey Public Library. California History Room. corporateBody
associatedWith Naythons, Matthew person
associatedWith Outdoor Advertising Association of America corporateBody
associatedWith Saltonstall, Leverett, 1892-1979. person
associatedWith Sanguinetti, Elise. person
correspondedWith Sanguinetti, Elise Ayers, 1926- person
associatedWith Shatz, Frank. person
associatedWith Shouse, Catherine Filene, 1896-1994. person
almaMaterOf Smith College. corporateBody
associatedWith Steorts, Nancy Harvey, 1936- person
associatedWith Strouse, Charlotte person
associatedWith Strouse, Norman H. person
associatedWith Texas. Governor (1995-2000 : Bush) corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. President. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. 250th Anniversary Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. Office of the President. Assistant to the President for Special Projects. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Ventura CA US
Beijing 22 CN
Huntington Park CA US
Bakersfield CA US
Houston TX US
Compton CA US
Rye NY US
Odessa TX US
New Haven CT US
Whittier CA US
Midland TX US
District of Columbia DC US
Queens NY US
Subject
First ladies (United States)
Occupation
Presidents' spouses--United States
Function

Person

Birth 1925-06-08

Death 2018-04-17

Female

Americans

English

Information

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