Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Skip to main content

With the news of former first lady Barbara Bush’s death, several members of the campus community have shared a couple of interesting anecdotes and photos.

Journalism and Electronic Media Professor Michael Martinez interviewed David Valdez, photographer for George H. W. Bush during his term as vice president, and will be including one of Valdez’s photos of Barbara Bush in a book he’s writing about presidential photographers.

Martinez said Valdez told him of a note he once received from the former first lady following the birth of Jeb Jr., son of Jeb and Columba Bush.

“We get up [to Washington, DC] and I make some prints, and a few days later I get a note from Barbara Bush,” said Valdez. “Barbara tells me, ‘I love the pictures you took of little Jebbie and “Gampi” [George H. W. Bush], and as long as you take pictures of my grandchildren you can go anywhere and do whatever you want to do.’”

George H. W. and Barbara Bush with family at their summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. The photo was collected in Michael Martinez’s research on presidential photographers. Photograph by David Valdez.
George H. W. and Barbara Bush with family at their summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. The photo was collected in Michael Martinez’s research on presidential photographers. Photograph by David Valdez.

Tucked among the Howard Baker Papers housed at the UT Libraries’ Modern Political Archives on the second floor of the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy is a 1981 photo of Barbara Bush with Lady Bird Johnson and Baker’s first wife, Joy Dirksen Baker, at the Senate Wives’ Luncheon.

Barbara Bush, Joy Dirksen Baker, and Lady Bird Johnson at the Senate Wives' Luncheon, 1981.
Barbara Bush, Joy Dirksen Baker, and Lady Bird Johnson at the Senate Wives’ Luncheon, 1981. Photo courtesy of the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

The Howard Baker Papers is a repository of more than 500 boxes of correspondence, memos, photographs, and other materials from the life and career of Baker, a UT alumnus. The collection covers Baker’s senatorial career (1967–1985), including his roles as Senate minority and majority leader and his time as chief of staff to Ronald Reagan. The collection is open to the public for research, and many of its photographs have been digitized and can be found online.

Barbara Bush is survived by her husband, former president George H. W. Bush; sons former president George W. Bush, Neil Bush, Marvin Bush, and Jeb Bush; daughter Dorothy Bush Koch; and 17 grandchildren.