Barbara Pierce Bush
Biography: 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 are comfortable with her white hair, her warm,
relaxed manner, and her keen wit. With characteristic directness, she
says people like her because they know "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
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.
Today Barbara Bush lives in a home she and her husband built in
Houston, Texas, where she enjoys being part of the community. Their
children and grandchildren visit them often in Houston and at the family
summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Devoted to her family, Mrs. Bush
still finds time to work on an autobiography, serve on the Boards of
AmeriCares and the Mayo Clinic, and continue her prominent role in
the Barbara Bush Foundation.
For more information about Mrs. Bush you can visit
The George Bush Presidential Library