LBJ Love Letters: He Proposed on First Date

Letters between Lyndon Baines Johnson, Lady Bird released
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2013 12:34 PM CST
The signature of Lyndon Johnson, then 26, is seen on a love letter sent to Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor, then 21, at the LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas, Feb. 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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(Newser) – In a Valentine's Day treat, the LBJ Presidential Library released today the full set of letters exchanged by a 26-year-old Lyndon Baines Johnson and a 21-year-old Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor when they were courting in 1934. LBJ was quite taken with Lady Bird—so much so that he proposed marriage on their very first date, which took place just a day after they first met, Reuters reports. She was unsure and wanted them to get to know each other better, at one point writing, "All I can say, in absolute honesty, is—I love you, I don't know how everlastingly I love you,—so I can't answer you yet."

There are nearly 90 letters from the 10-week courtship, all of which are now posted online and will also be available for review at the library in Austin, Texas, the AP reports. The letters include salutations like "Dearly Beloved," sentiments like "I adore you," and signatures like "Devotedly, Bird." But don't expect a whole lot of romance, says the library's supervisory archivist: "I would not really call these letters sentimental. He wants a commitment from her. ... His letters express that." Of course, there is a bit of "wooing," she adds, in that "he's trying to impress her and he makes various arguments why they should get married." (Read more Lyndon Baines Johnson stories.)

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