About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight

Greetings from the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to tonight’s program about Lady Bird Johnson, featuring Julia Sweig, author of the new biography Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight.

Before we begin, though, I’d like to tell you about two upcoming programs you can view on our YouTube channel.

On Tuesday, March 16, at 1 p.m., Heather Cox Richardson will tell us about her new book, How the South Won the Civil War. While the North prevailed in the Civil War, ending slavery and giving the country a “new birth of freedom,” Richardson argues that democracy's victory was ephemeral, as the system that had sustained the defeated South moved westward and established a foothold there.

And on March 30, at noon, author Dorothy Wickenden will discuss The Agitators, which uses the intertwined lives of Harriet Tubman, Martha Wright, and Frances Seward to tell the stories of abolition, the Underground Railroad, and the early women's rights movement.

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We are presenting this program in partnership with the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, and we thank them for their support. You may order the book, Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight, through the library’s website.

Julia Sweig tells the story of this remarkable First Lady through Lady Bird’s own words. We are fortunate to have Mrs. Johnson’s audio daily diary, recorded on 123 hours of tapes preserved at the LBJ Library, which is one of the 14 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

These recordings, which the library has made publicly available on its website, allow us to hear firsthand how Lady Bird was the President’s most trusted adviser. She took an active interest in politics and was a tireless First Lady.

The audio diary is truly a remarkable historical source. Listening to Mrs. Johnson’s soft, calm voice, you can imagine yourself in the room with her. It is rare to have such a detailed record of history, created on the spot. This new book, as well as Sweig’s [Swag’s] podcast, deservedly brings Lady Bird’s story to a larger audience.

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Now it is my pleasure to introduce the panel.

Our moderator is author, historian, and former White House speechwriter Jeff Shesol, author of Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud that Defined a Decade.

Joining him is Julia Sweig, author of Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight.  She did extensive research at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, where our final panelist, Claudia Anderson, was once the supervisory archivist and is very knowledgeable about the library’s archival holdings.

Thank you for joining us today.