Biography of Barbara Bush
Barbara Pierce Bush (born June 8, 1925) is the wife of the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She is the mother of the 43rd President George W. Bush and of the 43rd Governor of Florida Jeb Bush. Previously she had served as Second Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.
Barbara Pierce was born in Flushing, New York, attended Rye Country Day School from 1931 to 1937, and is an alumna of Ashley Hall School in Charleston, South Carolina. She met George Herbert Walker Bush at age 16, and the two married in 1945, while he was on leave during his deployment as a Naval officer in World War II. They would have six children together. The Bush family soon moved to Midland, Texas; as George Bush entered political life, Barbara raised their children.
As wife of the Vice President and then President, Barbara Bush has supported and worked to advance the cause of universal literacy. She founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy while First Lady. Since leaving the White House, she has continued to advance this cause.
Barbara Pierce was born at Booth Memorial Hospital in Flushing, Queens in New York City, and raised in the suburban town of Rye, New York. She was the third child of Pauline Robinson (1896–1949) and her husband Marvin Pierce (1893–1969), who later became president of McCall Corporation, the publisher of the popular women's magazines Redbook and McCall's. Her siblings include Martha Pierce Rafferty (1920–1999); James Pierce (1921–1993), and Scott Pierce (born 1930). Her ancestor Thomas Pierce, an early New England colonist, was also an ancestor of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States. She is the fourth cousin, four times removed of President Franklin Pierce.
Barbara attended Rye Country Day School from 1931 to 1937 and later boarding school at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina from 1940 to 1943. She was athletic as a youth and enjoyed swimming, tennis, and bike-riding. Her interest in reading began early in her life; she recalls gathering with her family during the evenings and reading together.