On this day in 1946, Laura Lane Welch was born. You probably know her better as First Lady Laura Bush, wife of 43rd President of the United States George W Bush and lifelong advocate for literacy and for women. Here at FFL, we have a particular fondness in our heart for first ladies. Today, on Laura Bush’s 72nd birthday, why not take a look at five things everyone should know about this former First Lady who still inspires fondness in everyone who speaks of her?

She was a teacher and librarian

Laura Bush’s philanthropic work as First Lady should come as no surprise to those who knew her career path before the White House. She received a Bachelor’s in education from Southern Methodist University and worked as a second grade teacher for many years. From there, she received her Master’s in Library Science from the University of Texas at Austin. She went on to work as a children’s  librarian.

She founded the National Book Festival

The National Book Festival is one of the most anticipated literary events of every year and brings thousands of people to DC to meet their favorite authors, get their books signed, and talk about how important literacy is, but this event didn’t just appear out of thin air. The National Book Festival was founded by Laura Bush as a continuation of her success with the Texas Book Festival. It has only continued to grow in the years since. The first National Book Festival was held on September 8, 2001.

She was a Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority Sister

Greek life at Southern Methodist University is pretty serious, and Laura was part of Kappa Alpha Theta during her undergrad. Theta was founded in 1870 in Indiana and now have 147 college chapters. One of Theta’s philanthropies is CASA-Court Appointed Special Advocates which is committed to providing a voice to abused and neglected children. Notable Theta alumni include Tory Burch, Sheryl Crow, Cindy McCain, and Elizabeth Warren.

She authored two children’s books with her daughter

Her love for literacy has translated to writing two children’s books, cowritten with her daughter Jenna Bush-Hager. Their first book, Read All About It, was published in 2011 and their second book, Our Great Big Backyard, was published in 2016 to celebrate the anniversary of the National Parks Association. She also authored a memoir, Spoken from the Heart, and her daughters, Jenna and Barbara, authored their own memoir, Sisters First.

She supported Roe v Wade, but wasn’t pro-abortion

First Ladies don’t usually talk politics much. Many people don’t realize that Laura Bush was actually pro-choice, but not pro-abortion, necessarily. She said that the country should do “what we can to limit the number of abortions, to try to reduce the number of abortions in a lot of ways, and that is, by talking about responsibility with girls and boys, by teaching abstinence, having abstinence classes everywhere in schools and in churches and in Sunday school.” This shows that she wasn’t just following what her husband believed politically. She had beliefs of her own that she held dear while doing her philanthropic work worldwide.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member