Barbara Bush Biography

Barbara Bush, far right, at Christmas 1991. Editorial credit: mark reinstein /
Barbara Bush, far right, at Christmas 1991. Editorial credit: mark reinstein /

Early Life And Family

Barbara Bush was born on June 8, 1925, in New York City to Pauline and Marvin Pierce. Barbara spent her childhood in the town of Rye, New York and between 1931 and 1937 she schooled at the Milton Public School. She joined the Rye Country Day School in 1940 and later went to Ashley Hall (a boarding school) between 1940 and 1943. Her hobbies and activities included swimming, tennis, and reading.

Barbara met her husband, former US President George Bush, when she was 16. An engagement followed 18 months later, then marriage after Bush returned from World War II. The couple had six children, fourteen grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Sadly, their second child, Robin, passed away at the age of three due to leukemia.

Political Career And Legacy

Barbara's political activities began after her husband was elected as a congressman in 1966. During that time, Barbara raised their children and participated in several projects such as charities and Republican women groups. After George Bush’s appointment as the US Ambassador to the UN, Barbara had the opportunity to meet and interact with prominent people in New York City. Her husband occupied several positions after the ambassadorship that placed him in positions where he could not communicate about his work life to his wife. This isolation really affected Barbara and she eventually started volunteering at a hospice.

Eventually, she became the Second Lady of the US after her husband became Ronald Reagan’s Vice President. During that period, she rose to even higher levels of prominence and popularity. For example, she was engaged in activities including understanding and tackling illiteracy. Eventually, she wrote a book in 1984 with all of the book’s proceeds going towards tacking illiteracy.

After Bush announced his candidature in 1988, she was also at the forefront leading and organizing campaigns to drum up support for her husband. She made history by becoming the second wife of a candidate to speak during the national party convention that had her husband nominated. Eventually, their hard work paid off when George Bush was elected as the President of the US in November 1998. He was sworn in on January 20, 1989.

First Lady

Even after becoming the First Lady, Barbara did not abandon her initiative to combating illiteracy. To her, it was the most important issue that the US had. Eventually, she assisted in establishing the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She also served in the White House Historical Association where she helped make several notable developments such as raising $25 million for the restoration the White House. She became the first First Lady of the US to receive the Henry G. Freeman Jr. Pin Money Fund.


In 1988, she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. She also had several illnesses such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, and other ailments, some of which needing surgery. After several trips to and from the hospital, Barbara elected to live out her final days at home where she passed away on April 17, 2018, at the age of 92.


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