Tag Archive | Politics

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Object: Shoes

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Salvatore Ferragamo Shoes
Materials: Leather, Thread

This object is a pair of black and white leather spectator pumps, designed by the Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo and owned by Lady Bird Johnson.  They were loaned to the Institute of Texan Cultures for a temporary exhibit called “Footprints and Imprints” showcasing famous and influential people through their shoes, and later donated to the museum.

Photo portrait of First Lady Lady Bird Johnson in the back yard of the White House. Photo by Robert Knudsen, White House Press Office (WHPO), via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo portrait of First Lady Lady Bird Johnson in the back yard of the White House. Photo by Robert Knudsen, White House Press Office (WHPO), via Wikimedia Commons.

Lady Bird Johnson became the 36th First Lady of the United States when her husband, Lyndon B. Johnson, was sworn in as president following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Born Claudia Alta Taylor, Lady Bird received her nickname at an early age, when a nursemaid stated that she was “as purty as a lady bird.”  The nickname stuck, and for the rest of her life she was known as Lady Bird.  Though her father and brothers called her “Lady,” her husband called her “Bird,” and that’s what she signed on her marriage certificate.

In the 1930s, Mrs. Johnson attended the University of Texas in Austin, earning degrees in History and Journalism.  During that time, she met Lyndon B. Johnson, and in 1934 they were married in San Antonio at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

When Johnson became President in 1963, Lady Bird focused her energies on her first love- the environment.  The country was facing uncertain times, and Washington, D.C. was in need of a facelift.  Having grown up in the outdoors of far East Texas, Lady Bird had an appreciation and respect for the natural beauty of landscapes and wildflowers.

As First Lady, she embarked on a beautification project, which was named the Society for a More Beautiful National Capital.  The project consisted of planting millions of flowers throughout Washington, D.C., including tulips, daffodils, roses, and the dogwood and cherry blossom trees that the Capital is so well known for. She stated at the time that “where flowers bloom, so does hope.”

Cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument. Image by Wendy Harman, via Wikimedia Commons.

Cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument. Image by Wendy Harman, via Wikimedia Commons.

This proved to be just the start of what became a national campaign, and in 1965, the Highway Beautification Act was passed.  Through this Act, Lady Bird was instrumental in restricting junk yards and limiting billboards along highways throughout the country, in addition to promoting wildflower plantings along interstates all over the country.

Mrs. Johnson wasn’t just interested in beautification, but also in conservation.  One method she used to bring attention to her campaign was to visit historic sites, national parks, and scenic areas.  By taking along the head of the National Parks Service, dignitaries, and media, Lady Bird was able to shine a spotlight on the natural beauty that was in danger of being destroyed all over the country.

After leaving Washington, Lady Bird Johnson focused her attention on Texas.  She was the force behind developing ten miles of beautiful hike and bike trails around Town Lake in Austin.  In 1982, she teamed up with her friend, actress Helen Hayes, to found the National Wildflower Research Center.  In 1995, it was moved to 279 acres in southwest Austin and renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.   The center is dedicated to conservation, education, and beautification through the use of locally available plants and flowers.  It is now one of the country’s most credible research institutions, and is run by The University of Texas.

Lady Bird Johnson saw a need to preserve and protect our nation’s natural beauty before it was destroyed by industry.  Her imprint can be seen every spring, driving the roads of Texas, or visiting the nation’s Capital.  She was instrumental in making environment issues a priority for our country.  She lived a legacy foretold by her nanny when she was given the nickname “Lady Bird.”  Lady Bird Johnson truly left a lasting impact through her work, and because of her, we can still call our country “America the Beautiful.” [Carrie Klein, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]


Gould, Lewis L.  Lady Bird Johnson: Our Environmental First Lady.  Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999.

Johnson, Lady Bird and Carlton B Lees.  Wildflowers Across America.  Austin, TX: National Wildflower Research Center; New York: Abbeville Press, 1988.

Johnson, Lady Bird and Michael L. Gillette.  Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Loughmiller, Campbell, Lynn Loughmiller, and Lynn Sherrod.  Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide.  Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984.

Object: Photographic Print

I-0014c (2)

Photographic Print
19th Century

This object is a photographic print of Richard Allen (1830-1901) a political leader in Texas. Richard Allen was born a slave in Richmond, Virginia on June 10, 1830. He was brought to Harris County in Texas, where he was owned until emancipation in 1865. While a slave he became skilled in carpentry and designed the mansion of Houston mayor Joseph R. Morris.

Depiction of a bureau agent standing between armed groups of whites and freedmen.

Depiction of a bureau agent standing between armed groups of whites and freedmen. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

After emancipation Richard Allen became a contractor and bridge builder. The first bridge to be built over Buffalo Bayou is said to have been Allen’s work. Allen first entered the political scene when he became a voter registrar, in charge of distributing and accepting voter registrations. He later became an agent for the Freedmen’s Bureau. The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands or more popularly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau was established by the War Department in 1865 after the end of the American Civil War. The Freedmen’s Bureau was created to help former black slaves and poor whites in the American south. After the war many communities were left in ruins. The Bureau provided food, housing, medical aid, established schools, and offered legal assistance. The people who worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau were essentially social workers. Each district would send out assistant agents to communities in the south. However, once there they were exposed to ridicule and violence from whites which included terror organizations like the Ku Klux Klan.

The Ku Klux Klan or KKK for short was an organization founded in 1866 and in almost every southern state. The group largely rejected President Andrew Johnson’s reconstruction policies. The group ran a campaign of violence against Republicans, both black and white, hoping to reverse reconstruction and return to white supremacy in the South. 10% of black legislators who were elected during the 1867-1868 constitutional conventions were victims of violence from the KKK and some lost their lives. Due to the violence being spewed toward blacks, a movement to leave the south and head west toward Kansas became a popular.

Benjamin "Pap" Singleton

Benjamin “Pap” Singleton. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The movement was led by a man named Benjamin “Pap” Singleton, and the goal was to find a better life somewhere other than the south. Singleton was born a slave near Nashville, Tennessee. He was skilled in carpentry but never learned how to read or write. After attempting to escape from slavery several times he was finally successful in 1846 and headed north to Detroit using the Underground Railroad. Singleton witnessed the inequality that freedmen were facing and realized they would never get equality in the south. In 1874 Singleton founded a real estate company in the hopes of helping African Americans get land in Tennessee. This failed as many white land owners refused to bargain and sold the land for high prices. Singleton then turned his eye to Kansas, and after a few setbacks, the first wave of exodusters migrated to Kansas in 1879.

As for Richard Allen, after he led the short lived exodus movement he served as a delegate for the National Colored Men’s Convention. He also served as chairmen for black state conventions where African Americans voiced their concerns about civil rights, education, and economic issues. He became Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons once they organized in Texas. Richard Allen passed away on May 16, 1909. [Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Sources:

Athearn, Robert G. In Search of Canaan: Black Migration to Kansas, 1879-80. Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, 1978.

Cimbala, Paul A., and Randall M. Miller. The Freedmen’s Bureau and Reconstruction. New York: Fordham University Press, 1999. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=16387>.

Crouch, Barry A. The Freedmen’s Bureau and Black Texans. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992.

Muraskin, William A. Middle-Class Blacks in a White Society: Prince Hall Freemasonry in America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975.

Object: Commemorative Plate

I-0564a (2)

Commemorative Plate
Wood & Son, England
ca. 1910
Materials: Porcelain

This object is a commemorative plate with the image of Benito Juarez and Porfirio Diaz with the Mexican flag in the background. Benito Juarez and Porfirio Diaz played important roles in Mexican history during the 1800s. Both came from backgrounds connected to Mexico’s indigenous population. They would find themselves at the top of Mexican politics and eventually served as Presidents during the nineteenth and into the early twentieth centuries.

The Mexican-American War began in 1946 and marked the beginning of an aggressive campaign to expand the United States territory from coast to coast. Manifest Destiny had been a popular idea throughout the 19th century and was used in 1945 by John L. O’Sullivan, an editor for the Democratic Review. This idea was used to support the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico by the United States . By 1948 the war was over and the United States now claimed a third of Mexican territory.

Benito Juarez was born 1806 in Oaxaca, Mexico. Despite his upbringing in a peasant Zapotec family, Juarez gained the education and connections needed to begin his participation in politics by 1831 as a lawyer and liberal politician. He participated in the denouncement of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and ex-President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Later he was also against the Mexican-American War. By 1957, Benito Juarez had gained the people’s support and was democratically elected as the President of Mexico where he served until his death in 1872.

Depiction of the Battle of Puebla

Depiction of the Battle of Puebla. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Porfirio Diaz was born in 1830 in a poor mestizo, or part Indian family. Diaz joined the Mexican-American War at 16 although he never saw combat. An avid supporter of Juarez, he was brought under him as a protégé after the Mexican-American War. He supported Juarez’s regime as a prominent member in the military. During the French Intervention, when France took over Mexico and installed Maximilian of Austria-Hungary as a monarch, Diaz continued to play an important part in the military push against the French. He was present as the Battle of Puebla in 1862 which successfully pushed back the French from advancing on Mexico City and is celebrated today as Cinco de Mayo.

Porfirio Diaz would go on to become President from 1877 to 1880. After his handpicked successor failed him, he ran for reelection in 1884 and would soon become the dictator of Mexico until 1911. At that point his administration was opposed militarily by Francisco Madero which pushed Diaz into exile in France where he died in 1915. [Briana Miano edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Readings:

Garner, Paul H. Porfirio Díaz. Harlow, England: Longman, 2001.

Heidler, David Stephen, and Jeanne T Heidler. The Mexican War. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2006.

Miller, Robert Ryal. Arms across the Border: United States Aid to Juárez during the French Intervention in Mexico. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: American Philosophical Society, 1973.

Whepman, Dennis. Benito Juárez. New Haven, Connecticut: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.

Object: Bumper Sticker


Bumper Sticker
San Antonio
Materials: Paper and ink

In 1981 Henry Cisneros became the first Hispanic mayor of a major American city. This object is a bumper sticker used during Henry Cisneros’ campaign for mayor of San Antonio. Henry Gabriel Cisneros was born in a neighborhood that bordered the predominately Mexican West side of San Antonio, Texas in 1947. Henry was the son of Elvira and George Cisneros, Elvira’s father was Romulo Munguia a renowned journalist from Mexico. Henry attended catholic school at the Church of the Little Flower then at the Central Catholic Marianist High School. After graduating high school, Henry attended Texas A&M University in 1964, and graduated in 1968 with a Bachelors of Arts in City Management. He continued his education at Texas A&M and got a Masters degree in Urban Regional Planning and then got an additional Masters from Harvard University in urban economics. Henry, having learned from his parents that education merit led to a better life, received a Doctor of Public Administration from George Washington University.

Henry Cisneros’ political career began after he returned to San Antonio from Washington D.C and took a teaching position at the University of Texas San Antonio. Henry noticed that the Mexican American community had been neglected for far too long and most city council members were all from wealthy zip codes. Henry decided to run for city councilman and won making him the youngest city councilman at the time. During his time as a councilman he allied himself with groups whose focus was to develop funding for Latino communities.  He would serve on the city council for six years.

2015_1_1In 1981 Henry Cisneros decided to seek candidacy for mayor of San Antonio. He ran as and an independent and his campaign focused on the future San Antonio could have. Cisneros’ was able to appeal and unite wealthy conservatives of San Antonio as well as the Mexican American community. Gathering national attention during the campaign, Henry was featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, and Esquire. Cisneros was also listed as one of the 10 rising stars in politics. Henry won the election making him the first Mexican-American mayor since 1842. The last Mexican-American mayor of San Antonio had been Juan Seguin. At the time San Antonio was the 10th largest city in the country. Cisneros went on to get reelected three more times, winning by large margins including 94% of the vote in 1983. Cisneros was popular not only with the Hispanic community but with all ethnic groups in the area.

Henry was mayor of San Antonio for 8 years, during this time he focused on developing economic growth and promoted cooperation between all ethnic groups in San Antonio. During his time as mayor Cisneros was was able to convince both Sea World, and Fiesta Texas to invest in San Antonio. He was also able to get the city to approve construction of the Alamodome and helped to get Pope John Paul II to visit San Antonio during his tour of the United States. He was even named “Texas Mayor of the Century” in Texas Monthly.

Cisneros announced that he would not be running for another term in 1987. Following his time as mayor he then went on to become the chairman of a company. Cisneros also was the host of a television show called “Texans,” as well as a host for a radio show. In 1992 he served as an adviser on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. He later moved to Los Angeles and served as an officer of Univision Communications. Cisneros has since returned to San Antonio and established a firm to help with affordable housing. In 2015 he served as a chairman for the City of San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Cisneros is also the author of several books and has received multiple awards. [Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Sources:

Cisneros, Henry, Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain, and Jane Hickie. Independent for Life: Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging America. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2012.

Cisneros, Henry, and John Rosales. Latinos and the Nation’s Future. Houston, Tex: Arte Publico Press, 2009.

Wolff, Nelson W., and Henry Cisneros. Mayor: An Inside View of San Antonio Politics, 1981-1995. San Antonio, Tex: San Antonio Express-News, 1997

Object: Drawing


Jack “Herc” Ficklen
20th century
Materials: paper, ink

Known as one of the greatest commanders in U.S. history, this object is a drawing of Dwight D. Eisenhower also known as “Ike.” Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas in 1890 and would go on to be the 34th president of the United States. He is also the last president to be born in the 19th century. Dwight Eisenhower was the son of David Jacob Eisenhower and Ida Elizabeth (Stover) Eisenhower. The family moved to Abilene, Kansas  in 1892 and Dwight considered this his hometown. He attended Abilene High School  and graduated in 1909, but was not able to attend college due to financial reasons. Ike’s brother also wanted to attend college so the brothers made a deal that one would work while the other attended college. After his first year Ike’s brother wanted a second year so, at the urging of a friend, Ike applied to the naval academy because no tuition was required. Ike requested consideration for West Point or Annapolis from his U.S. Senator and although he won the entrance exam competition, he was too old for Annapolis.  Eisenhower accepted an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy of West Point in 1911, and graduated in 1915. Following graduation Eisenhower was stationed in San Antonio, Texas where he met his wife Mamie Geneva Doud.

1024px-Eisenhower_d-dayDuring World War I Ike served with infantry in both Texas and Georgia. He was denied an overseas assignment and was instead placed with a new tank corps and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. During this time Ike showed exceptional organizational skill and was later awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. However, he was disappointed because he did not see combat. He would however, have a big role to play oversea during World War II. Following WWI Eisenhower served as an aide to Douglas MacArthur and was stationed in the Philippines until 1939, right before the Nazi invasion of Poland. After the attack of Pearl Harbor, Eisenhower was called to D.C. to be a planning officer. He would command the Allied Forces landing in North Africa known as Operation Torch. He was also Supreme Commander on D-Day of the troops invading France, this was known as Operation Overload.

After the war Eisenhower became the President of Columbia University in New York City. However, he was then commissioned by President Truman to take command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Europe also known as NATO. In 1952 he was persuaded to run for President of the United States with the support of President Truman. He resigned his command at NATO and ran as a Republican, using the campaign slogan “I like Ike.” I_like_IkeEisenhower won the Presidency by a landslide becoming the 34th President of the United States. In November of 1956 he would be elected for his second term. Throughout his Presidency Eisenhower had to face issues dealing with ending the Korean War, containing Communism, and try to strengthen relations with the Soviet Union, as well as the civil rights issues present in United States. As President he was able to ensure a secure economy and kept many New Deal and Fair Deal programs. Perhaps his most enduring project was the creation of the Interstate Highway System, which was responsible for 41,000 miles of roads across the country. After the launch of Sputnik, Eisenhower launched a campaign to support space exploration, science and higher education. This would result in the creation of NASA.

Eisenhower left the White House in 1961 and although he received criticism from both sides he had favorable approval ratings overall. He retired to his home in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with his wife. After a long illness Dwight D. Eisenhower passed away on March 28, 1969. Today he is remembered for his role in WWII, ending the Korean War, and the creation of the Interstate Highway system. Throughout the United States multiple memorials can be seen dedicated in his name, and his farmhouse can still be visited. [Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources: 

Ambrose, Stephen E. Eisenhower. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983.

Eisenhower, Dwight D., and Robert H. Ferrell. The Eisenhower Diaries. New York: Norton, 1981.

Eisenhower, Dwight D., Alfred D. Chandler, Louis Galambos, and Daun Van Ee. The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1970.

Mieczkowski, Yanek. Eisenhower’s Sputnik Moment: The Race for Space and World Prestige. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013.

Object: Drawing


20th century
Materials: Paper, Pencil, Ink

This object is a drawing done by Jack “Herc” Ficklen of the 38th Governor of Texas, John Connally. Connolly served as governor of the state of Texas from January 15, 1963-January 21, 1969. Connally was born on a farm near Floresville, Texas on February 17, 1917. He attended Harlendale High School in San Antonio, but graduated from Floresville High School. Graduating from the University of Texas and then the University of Texas School of Law. It was at the University of Texas where he met his future wife Idanell (Nellie) Brill. When he passed the state bar exam, he began working as a legislative assistant to Representative Lyndon B. Johnson. It was during this time that the two formed a friendship that would last for many years.

connally-p01During WWII John Connally joined the United States Naval Reserve and served as a fighter director aboard a aircraft carriers. Connally was at 9 major air-sea battles in the Pacific. He survived 52 hours of consecutive kamikaze attacks in 1945. During his time in the military Connally rose up in the ranks all the way to the lieutenant commander. Upon returning home he worked in a number of different positions, including operating a radio station in Austin, Texas. He also served as Sid W. Richardson’s legal counsel. He was most notably known for managing five of LBJ’s political campaigns. He ran for governor in 1962 and won. He would remain governor until 1969. During his term as a governor, Connally signed a number of laws dealing with higher education. He also backed the entry of women into Texas A&M University that was previously an all male school. Connally also  promoted the World’s Fair in San Antonio called Hemisfair ’68.


Texas Governor Connally waving from the limousine carrying President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy and Nellie Connally.

On November 22, 1963 Governor Connally was on the Texas tour with President John F. Kennedy.  While on the motorcade through Dallas, Texas, shots rang out, fatally injuring President Kennedy and also hitting Governor Connally in his chest, neck, and wrist. At first in the chaos of what was happening, rumors spread that the governor had also passed away. His wife Nellie wrote notes about that fateful day stating how it affected them saying, “It was all I thought about, all I talked about. What if? Why? Why?” Governor Connally recovered slowly but surely, and even though he had a few doubts about what was found in the Warren Commission he agreed with most of it. John Connally would go on to become Secretary for the Treasury and even run for President of the United States. He passed away in 1993. [Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Sources:

Connally, John Bowden, and Mickey Herskowitz. In History’s Shadow: An American Odyssey. New York: Hyperion, 1993.

Connally, Nellie, and Mickey Herskowitz. From Love Field: Our Final Hours with President John F. Kennedy. New York: Rugged Land, 2003.

Reston, James. The Lone Star: The Life of John Connally. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.

Vickers, Sue Bitner. Hemisfair 1968. Thesis M.A. — University of Texas at Austin, 1968, 1968.


Object: Shoes

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Women’s exercise shoes
ca. 2001
Material: Rubber or synthetic material, leather

Laura Bush

There is a saying that  in order to truly understand someone you must first walk a mile in their shoes. This pair of Nike cross training shoes belonged to former First Lady Laura Bush. The shoes are white with red and blue accents, with the words “First Lady”  printed on the back of the shoes. Having been named one of the most popular First Ladies, there is much more to Laura Bush than meets the eye.

A native of Texas, Laura was born in Midland, Texas on November 4, 1946. At a young age Laura became fascinated by books and loved to read. In 1964 she graduated High School and went to Southern Methodist University where she received a Bachelors in Education in 1968. The future first lady was a teacher in Dallas, then Houston until 1972. In 1973 Laura received a Masters degree in Library Science from the University of Texas. Laura obtained a job at a Public Library in Houston and later at a school library in Austin. It was during her times as a librarian when Laura Bush learned the importance of reading and would shape her agenda when she became First Lady.

Laura met the future Governor of Texas and President of the United States at a barbecue thrown by friends. She first became a First Lady in 1995 when George W. Bush became governor of Texas. During this time as the First Lady of Texas Laura tried to stay out of the spot light. However, things changed when she became the First Lady of the United States. She would be First Lady from 2001-2009. The First Lady of the United States is an unofficial and unpaid position, never mentioned in the Constitution. Their duties have evolved since Martha Washington became the nation’s first First Lady, from being the hostess for gatherings at the president’s home into a much more public role. Over time the views and opinions of the First Lady on political matters have become increasingly important to the public. First Ladies have famously advocated for a number hotly contested political issues including: Prohibition, Woman’s Suffrage, and the Civil Rights movement.

Upon entering the white house as First Lady, having previously been a teacher Laura became an advocate for Education. She was a “key advocate of her husbands No Child Left Behind Act.” While First Lady of Texas, Laura had established the Texas Book Festival a fundraiser for public libraries. When she became First Lady of the United States Laura launched the National Book Festival in 2001.expand-bush The National Book Festival is still held today and authors from all over the country attend. Apart from focusing on education, Laura also focused on health issues like heart disease and cancer.

Another First Lady from the Lone Star State was Claudia Taylor (Lady Bird) Johnson. Lady Bird was married to the Lyndon B. Johnson who was also from Texas and served as First Lady from 1963-1969. Although, the role of the First Lady has changed over time, the public continues to be fascinated with the woman who stands beside the President of the United States. [Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Sources: 

Bush, Laura Welch. Spoken from the Heart. New York: Scribner, 2010.

Graddy, Lisa Kathleen, and Amy Pastan. The Smithsonian First Ladies Collection. 2014.

Johnson, Lady Bird, and Michael L. Gillette. Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History. 2012

Wertheimer, Molly Meijer. Inventing a Voice: The Rhetoric of American First Ladies of the Twentieth Century. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004.

Sneak Peek

The Exhibits and Collections staff is busy installing Faces of Survival. This exhibit was developed and curated by University of Texas at San Antonio graduate students, taught by Dr. Kolleen Guy. The exhibit discusses topics of genocide and the holocaust.  The show officially opens on April 15th, but you can get a sneak peek of our progress installing it below.

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Object: Drawing

I-0029g (1)
Mid Twentieth Century
Paper and Ink

This is a drawing of Lyndon Baines Johnson by artist Jack “Herc” Ficklen of The Dallas Morning News. Jack “Herc” Ficklen was born in Waco, Texas and worked for The Dallas Morning News from around 1930 till 1940 and again from 1946 till his retirement 30 years later. From 1940 to 1945, Ficklen served in the United States Army. Ficklen was a cartoonist that alternated with John Knott on the daily editorial cartoons. Jack “Herc” Ficklen continued to draw up until his death in 1980.

LBJ House

The LBJ House. Photo via johnsoncitytx.org.

Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908 in Stonewall, Texas, which is just outside Johnson City, Texas. Johnson started his political career in 1937 when he was elected to the House of Representatives. During World War II, Johnson served in the United States Navy as a Lieutenant Commander. In 1948 Johnson was elected to the Senate and became the youngest Minority Leader in the history of the Senate and the following year he became the Majority Leader. In 1960 Johnson became the Vice Presidential running mate for John F. Kennedy.  With JFK’s victory, Johnson served as Vice President until November 22, 1963 when Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson became the 36th President of the United States. Johnson won the 1964 Presidential election by a landslide, but in 1968 Johnson declined to run for office and left the Presidency in 1969. Johnson died outside Johnson City on January 22, 1973.

Johnson City, Texas is a small city in the Texas Hill Country about an hour west of Austin. Johnson City was named after James Polk Johnson who offered a 320-acre plot of land on the Pedernales River as the site for the new town in 1879. It was during the 1930’s that rural parts of Central Texas, including Johnson City, received modern utilities. Lyndon B Johnson, who had grown up in the rural community and was a relative of the founder of the city, sponsored the legislation for electricity to be made available in this area. While Johnson was President, Johnson City and the surrounding rural hill country was also able to upgrade their telephone service. When Johnson left office he made a gift of his personal property to the United States, which became the Lyndon Baines Johnson National Historical Park. [Jennifer McPhail]

Lyndon B Johnson – The Great Society

Additional Resources:
Caro, Robert A. 1982. The years of Lyndon Johnson. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Darden, Bob. 1983. Drawing power: Knott, Ficklen, and McClanahan, editorial cartoonists of the Dallas morning news. Waco, Tex: Markham Press Fund.

Ficklen, Jack, and Cindy C. Smolovik. 1987. Herc Ficklen collection register.

Peters, Charles. 2010. Lyndon B. Johnson. New York: Times Books.

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