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LBJ Senate Campaign Trail, 1941

LBJ Presidential Library

Sound | 1941

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  •  This is the beginning of Lyndon's campaign for the Senate, in the spring of 1941. 
  •  He's arriving in Austin.  Stepping briskly. 
  •  Herbert Henderson on the left.  He was our brain trust.  And Ray Roberts on the right and that's Charlie Morris, editor of the paper. Here's Herbert Henderson. 
  •  And there's Harold Young following him.  Either then or later he worked for Vice President Wallace. 
  •  A campaign billboard that was present all over the state of Texas. You remember the famous picture it came from, when he was shaking hands with Roosevelt and in the middle was Jimmy Allred and Allred was taken out. 
  •  Now here he is shaking hands with Carroll Keach, he's about to begin campaigning by car all over the state, with Carroll Keach to drive him and Herbert Henderson to go along and help him write speeches. He is leaving Temple, Texas, where he was in the hospital, at Scott and White clinic. At the very beginning of the campaign.  
  •  A huddle, John Connally on the left, now governor. Herbert Henderson. A very much slimmer Lyndon.  
  •  This is a rally in Austin. We are being met at the airport by a group of friends. And this is the bus that went all over the state. A caravan of airplanes often accompanied you, and those posters. 
  •  Ahh, now here's one of our opponents, Martin Dies. This is on the courthouse square of some little East Texas town. Nacogdoches, I believe. In a moment we'll see.  
  •  Look in a moment and you'll see how difficult it is to campaign across about 30 feet of concrete when you're trying to really look into the eyes of your audience. He probably was mad at his advance man.  
  •  Nacogdoches, that's right. You see, your audience in those days wasn't too humorous, and he's giving all of the old "Glad to see ya' partner."  
  •  Congressman Martin Dies was then at the height of his fame as head of the Un-American Activities committee. His name was known throughout Texas. 
  •  Look at the faces of the Texas voters as they file past. 
  •  Now here is another opponent, Mann, the young Attorney General, called "the Little Red Arrow," because he had been a famous football player. You will notice the same gesture repeated. He is on the steps of the courthouse at Marshall, my hometown.  
  •  Once more, take a look at the electorate as they listen with varying degrees of interest.  
  •  I'm happy to say he's since become one of our strongest friends and supporters. 
  •  And here is another opponent, W. Lee O'Daniel who flashed like a comet across the Texas political scene.  
  •  And this, this is on the Courthouse square at Marshall, also. You see, there his daughter will appear in a moment, taking up a collection, in a little barrel and these are the voters assembled here. There you know.  
  •  Old confederate veterans. In those days there was always one in every political crowd. 
  •  And this is his band. A famous word about it was he used to when he'd come to a question that he didn't know quite how to get into he'd say, "Strike up a piece!" And here comes "Strike up a piece, Leon!" 
  •  And here's a W. Lee O'Daniel himself, Pappy O'Daniel. Pass The Biscuits Pappy.  
  •  And that is uh the Confederate monument there, there was always one in every courthouse square. 
  •  That is his daughter who later went to Hollywood and married several times. Molly was her name. Very pretty girl. She's taking up the contributions.  
  •  There's the old veterans saying hello.  
  •  A solitary listener.  
  •  Now there is my little niece, Diana Taylor. She is going around distributing leaflets for Johnson. You will notice once more, the picture that we use so much with Jimmy Allred blacked out in the middle, bless him. He wouldn't mind, he was our greatest helper.  
  •  Now, here's a little plane that Lyndon flew all over Texas and he had just been on a trip to the valley as I recall and he is landing at Marshall, not much of an airport as you'll observe. 
  •  And he's being met by Cameron McElroy on the left. 
  •  And here he is with his band. We called her the Kate Smith of the South. This is also on the courthouse square at Marshall. It's just about sundown, that's why the light is so poor.  
  •  That is Harfield Wheaton, MC of the show on the right. There's the courthouse square at sunset. 
  •  And here's another one, we had 28 opponents in that race. This is one of the lesser ones, John C. Williams.  
  •  Too bad there wasn't enough light left because I'd be sure to pick out a lot of friends in the crowd.  
  •  Ah, look at the careful expressions on the face of the voters. 
  •  Now here on the courthouse steps at Denison, in the seekers district. Look at the mustaches. Mustaches and overalls and blue shirts. And sweaty faces. It was a hot day. 
  •  That is Mrs. Ridings. Hope Ridings Miller's mother, of Barnum.  
  •  There's the sound truck that went with us, or preceded us rather, all over the state. Sometimes there would be more that 20 speeches a day. It was a grueling pace.  
  •  And there he is shaking hands with all of the voters. There's a man telling him just how to do it.  
  •  And here are the state headquarters in Stephen F. Austin hotel in Austin. 
  •  Rose [Brode], Jean Lasseter.  
  •  And here is the stenographic pool. Very capably run.  
  •  And there's Betty Long, Mrs. Bob Long, one of my,  
  •  And there's John Connally, and Jake Pickle, now congressman, and Nellie Connally, now the First Lady of Texas.  
  •  Mary Rather our secretary for ages. 
  •  Doug Singleton of Houston. 
  •  John, weary at the end of a day's work.  
  •  Herbert Henderson's younger brother Charles. 
  •  Mrs. Johnson in the bed. In a moment you'll see her voting.  
  •  And a bunch of the girls waiting to receive us in Temple. Mrs. Johnson is in the hospital at Temple. 
  •  Harold Young.  
  •  And here's Lyndon being met by a group of young supporters.  
  •  Buck Hood.  
  •  Carroll Keach who drove us all over Texas, editor of a small-town newspaper now. Son-in-law of Same Fore- 
  •  And there I am. That hat and suit went all over Texas. 
  •  A night rally. Some of the gestures have persisted through the years. Weight was not his problem then. Sometimes he'd sweat down three or four suits a day.  
  •  Harfield Wheaton over on the right, the MC. All I did in those days was wait and look. This is in competition with a carnival, never try to do it.  
  •  I believe that this rally was in Dallas. 
  •  There's Herbert. 
  •  I think that, see how weary he is.  
  •  Alice Hopkins, Welly Hopkins on the left, wife's editor Mrs. Baldwin on the right. 
  •  There's Mrs. Johnson just out of the hospital, at Scott and White.  
  •  That little girl's presenting roses. 
  •  And that's Lyndon's two sisters, Lucia on the left, Josefa on the right. 
  •  And there's Mrs. Arthur Scott.  
  •  Mayor Tom Miller, there never was but one mayor like Tom Miller on the left. 
  •  And now back to a long line of cars. 
  •  Malcolm Barbell of San Antonio. 
  •  Here we are all on the stage, Mrs. Johnson, his two sisters and I.  For a big rally in I believe in San Antonio. There was not much air conditioning in those days and you'll notice the styles are different, too. 
  •  L.E. Jones in the back.  
  •  My old familiar hat and suit. 
  •  Ed Tate of San macros, great lawyer, great friend. 
  •  Dotty Muckleroy, with whom Lyndon had a date the first night we met. 
  •  L.E. Jones on the right. 
  •  There's Mr. Ed Cape at his summer retreat where we've had so many happy times. 
  •  Jean Boehringer Lasseter who introduced me to Lyndon. 
  •  My brother, T.J. Taylor of Jefferson, he was our county manager in Marion County in deep East Texas and every election that we were ever in. 
  •  His wife Sarah. 
  •  His business, the Jefferson Wholesale Grocery and some of his clerks and his wife. 
  •  The second on the left is now Mrs. Curtis Barnes who's with the foreign service and stationed all over the world. 
  •  One of the few negro voters in Marion County. He voted in every election. 
  •  And there's Dotty Muckleroy Johnson going in. 
  •  An old Texas newspaper man. 
  •  Mayor Reese Lockett of Brenham. 
  •  Roy Halpine of Houston.  The best campaigner there ever was. Here's Roy. He was our manager in Houston. Put in just about as many hours and as much vitality as Lyndon did. 
  •  There is a very weary candidate at the end of some long hours. 
  •  Back with our entertainers once more. Harfield Wheaton always managed somehow to be immaculate. Good showmanship too. Notice the flag. 
  •  Aunt Jesse, I believe. 
  •  Now, here we are in Blanco.  It is election day and Lyndon has stopped in Blanco to see some of the hometown folks. 
  •  Here we are walking up to the courthouse in Johnson City. 
  •  That was the sheriff, Cass Paris. 
  •  Here we are voting in the old county courthouse in Johnson City.  Notice the big X. 
  •  There's Lyndon with his mother. 
  •  And here am I.  At least I had a different blouse. 
  •  There's the sheriff, Mr. Cass Paris. He's telling him how it ought to have been done. 
  •  Lyndon and his mother on the front porch of the house where he spent his growing up years. 
  •  His cousin, Tom Martin, master of ceremonies. 
  •  There's uncle Tom Johnson. 
  •  Tom Martin's waving his arms. 
  •  There's the assembled citizenry of Johnson City, welcoming their hometown boy, the last day of the campaign.   
  •  Colonel E.O. Thompson. 
  •  And there on the platform with us is Dr. T.E. Evans, President of Southwest Texas State Teacher's College. Gave Lyndon his first job. Nobody got more enthusiasm out of that campaign than he did. 
  •  Tom Martin on his left. 
  •  It's the porch of the house. 
  •  And there is Mrs. Johnson making a speech and a very wonderful speech it was, I can remember it still.  
  •  The porch of the boyhood home in Johnson City where Lyndon lived from about 1913 until we married, except when he was off at college on a job. 
  •  There's Dr. Evans, how happy he was. 
  •  There's Aunt Frank, Mrs. Martin from whom we later bought the ranch house where we now live. 
  •  Mrs. Glidden,  the postmistress. 
  •  One of the old trail drivers. There was always an old trail driver at every one of our speeches in those days. There are no more now. 
  •  And now here is the barber shop in Johnson City. Once Lyndon, aged about 8 or 10, had a shoe shining job in just such a barber shop. I think it was across the street then. And most of his customers were returned servicemen in the First World War. 
  •  He put an ad in the Johnson City Record Courier, "Best Shine in Town," but his daddy didn't like it at all. 
  •  And there's Lyndon in front of Cass Paris cafe greeting some of the old timers. 
  •  And there's Corky Cox his little cousin. 
  •  And look at the headlines, this is the night of the election, Johnson leads in state. 
  •  And there's Lyndon with Carroll Keach, watching the returns. 
  •  And Lyndon's mother and his sister Rebekah on the left. His sister Lucia. 
  •  There's Lyndon, and there's me.  We're watching what's happening. 
  •  Bill Beeson on the right. 
  •  Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Cary, two of the few aristocrats, who were the wealthy people. 
  •  Ray Lee, newspaper editor. 
  •  [Olemae] Oddum, Mrs. Jamie Oddum. 
  •  We lived in the hotel for about three days, it was a long count. 
  •  On Saturday night we were so much ahead, there's John on the left, there's Senator Worth on the right, that the newspapers announced us elected. 
  •  The Texas Election Bureau, which is the Dallas News, gave out our election. We received over three thousand congratulatory telegrams. We worked toward hiring a staff. 
  •  There's Mr. Sam Fore of the smalltown newspaper. 
  •  There's Mrs. A.J. Worth. 
  •  There we are on the back porch of the Senator's home. 
  •  But to get back to the story, the lead narrowed. Some counties in deep east Texas, Martin Dies' district, began to come in on Monday with substantial differences. 
  •  Here I think we must be getting the news it's getting worse, and I think it's still getting worse. 
  •  It's narrowing on Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday O'Daniel pulled ahead about thirteen hundred and something. 
  •  There's Mary Rather, warm smile. 
  •  That's Gordon Fulcher, editor of the paper. 
  •  For about three days we lived in the hotel. 
  •  That's Mrs. Buck Hood, excellent feature story writer. 
  •  We're all putting on a brave front there. 
  •  The last sequence of the film is lost. It was just about my favorite, lost somewhere in the last 20 years, and 20 or more moves. 
  •  It was Lyndon in a ruffled seersucker suit, but a very jaunty smile and a jaunty walk, going out to catch a plane to return to Washington in July of 1941. About a month later he cast the vote in the House of Representatives to keep the draft at the  urgence of Speaker Sam Rayburn. The vote won by a margin of one. 
  •  But it was alright that we lost. Sometimes you are at the right place at the right time. Sometimes it seasons you and strengthens you and gives you an opportunity to learn. But I'll always remember the campaign of 1941 as just about my favorite campaign. 
 
TAMI Tags
  •  Herbert Henderson 
  •  Ray Roberts 
  •  Charlie Mars 
  •  Harold Young 
  •  Carroll Keach, friend, editor, and publisher 
  •  John Connally, before he was Governor of Texas 
  •  Martin Dies, Jr., candidate for U.S. Senate 
  •  Gerald Mann, Attorney General of Texas and candidate for the U.S. Senate seat, campaigns in Marshall, Texas 
  •  W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel campaigns for the U.S. Senate on the courthouse square in Marshall, Texas  
  •  Confederate Veteran 
  •  Molly O'Daniel, who later married Jack Rather, producer of "The Lone Ranger," "Lassie," and the East Texas film "Strike It Rich" 
  •  Diana Taylor, Lady Bird Johnson's niece 
  •  Cameron McInroy 
  •  LBJ's band with Hartfield Wheadon as emcee undefined 
  •  John C. Williams, candidate for U.S. Senate 
  •  Lyndon Johnson campaigns for U.S. Senate in Denison 
  •  Hope Riding Miller's mother from Barnum, TX 
  •  Stenographic pool 
  •  Betty Long, Bob Long's wife 
  •  John Connally, J.J. "Jake" Pickle, Nellie Connally 
  •  Mary Rather, LBJ's secretary 
  •  Doug Singleton of Houston 
  •  Charles Henderson 
  •  Rebekah Baines Johnson in the hospital in Temple, TX 
  •  Harold Young 
  •  Buck Hood 
  •  Carroll Keach 
  •  Johnson campaigns in Dallas 
  •  Welly and Alice Hopkins 
  •  Rebekah Baines Johnson and Lyndon Baines Johnson 
  •  Lucia and Josefa Johnson, LBJ's sisters and Mrs. Arthur Scott 
  •  Rally in San Antonio with Rebekah, Lady Bird, Lucia and Josefa and L.E. Jones 
  •  Ed Tate, San Marcos Lawyer 
  •  Dottie McIlroy 
  •  L.E. Jones, on the right 
  •  Ed Cape 
  •  Eugenia Boehringer Lasseter 
  •  T.J. Taylor, Lady Bird's brother and manager of Marion County, Texas 
  •  Jefferson Wholesale Grocery 
  •  Mayor Reese Lockett of Brenham 
  •  Roy Halpine, Houston Campaign Manager 
  •  Election Day in Blanco, TX 
  •  Lyndon Baines and Lady Bird Johnson voting in Johnson City  
  •  Tom Martin, LBJ's cousin 
  •  Lyndon Baines Johnson addresses a crowd from the porch of his boyhood home 
  •  Dr. C.E. Evans, President of Southwest Teacher's College 
  •  Rebekah Baines Johnson makes a speech 
  •  Dr. Evans 
  •  LBJ's aunt, Frank Martin, owner of what would become the LBJ Ranch 
  •  Johnson City Barber Shop 
  •  Corky Cox, LBJ's cousin 
  •  LBJ and Carroll Keach 
  •  Rebekah Baines Johnson 
  •  Lucia Johnson Alexander, LBJ's sister 
  •  Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Perry 
  •  Ray Lee, newspaper editor 
  •  Alvin J. Wirtz home 
  •  Mary Rather 
  •  Mrs. Buck Hood 
  •  Lady Bird describes the last scenes of the film which have been lost 
 
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  • About the video
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Lady Bird Johnson narrates this compilation of home movies taken during Lyndon B. Johnson's 1941 campaign for Senator. She introduces watchers to the campaign workers, fellow politicians, and Texas citizens encountered in the many towns in which they stopped. The campaign trail took the Johnsons throughout Texas; stops include Austin, Temple, Nacogdoches, Marshall, Dennison, and San Antonio, finally winding up in Lyndon Johnson's hometown of Johnson City, where he votes with his mother and awaits election returns with his family and friends.
Thirty-sixth president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, was born on a hill country farm near Stonewall, Texas on August 27, 1908 to Samuel Ealy Johnson, a former Texas legislator, and Rebekah Baines Johnson.  He attended Southwest Teachers College, now Texas-State University, graduating with a degree in history and social science in 1930. LBJ spent one year as principal and teacher in Cotulla, educating impoverished Hispanic elementary school students. LBJ became the secretary to Texas Congressman Richard M. Kleberg in 1931; the four year position helped him gain influential contacts in Washington. Johnson married Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor on November 17, 1934.
 
LBJ acted as Director of the National Youth Administration in Texas from 1935 to 1937. Johnson won his first legislative election in 1937 for the Tenth Congressional District, a position he held for eleven years. He was a firm supporter of President Roosevelt’s New Deal and in 1940 acted as Chairman of the Democratic Campaign Committee. In 1948, following his service as a Lieutenant Naval Commander during World War II, LBJ ran as the Democratic nominee for Senate. In a cloud of controversy, he narrowly defeated former Texas Governor Coke Stevens and easily beat his Republican opponent in the general election.  Before winning his second senate term, LBJ was elected Majority Whip in 1951, became the youngest ever Minority Senate Leader in 1953, and was voted Majority Leader in 1954. Johnson unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960 but was selected to be Vice-President under John F. Kennedy. 
 
Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as Commander and Chief aboard Air Force One following President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963 and won reelection in 1964. President Johnson passed landmark legislation with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Debate over military efforts in Vietnam intensified in late 1963 when the President stated that the United States would not withdraw from Southeast Asia. Escalation of the war against North Vietnam brought disapproval from Democrats, claiming the efforts were misguided, and from Republicans who criticized the administration for not executing sufficient military vigor. Antiwar protests, urban riots, and racial tension eroded Johnson’s political base by 1967, which further dissolved following the Tet Offensive in January 1968. On March 31, 1968, President Johnson announced that we would not seek a second Presidential term.
 
After returning to Texas, Johnson oversaw the construction of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Throughout his political career, LBJ was an influential figure in Texas affairs; his policies brought military bases, crop subsidies, government facilities, and federal jobs to the state. After suffering a massive heart attack, former President Johnson died at his ranch on January 22, 1973. In February of the same year, NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston was renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, in honor of one of the country’s most influential Texans. 
 
Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor was born in Karnack, Texas on December 22, 1912. Lady Bird, the nickname given by nursemaid Alice Tittle, attended high school in Marshall and junior college at Dallas’ St. Mary’s Episcopal College for Women. In 1933 through 1934, she received a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. 
 
Mutual friends introduced Lady Bird to congressional aide and rising political star, Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ proposed on the couple’s first date and the two were married a month later on November 17, 1934. Lady Bird financed her husband’s first congressional campaign for Austin’s Tenth District using a portion of her maternal inheritance. During World War II, Lady Bird ran the congressional office while LBJ served in the US Navy.  In 1943, Lady Bird purchased Austin Radio station KTBC. The station proved an integral part of the LBJ Holding Company and became the main source of the Johnson family’s fortune. 
 
LBJ’s political career gained momentum in the post war years, and in 1960, he became Vice President to John F. Kennedy. Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as Commander and Chief aboard Air Force One following President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963. As first lady, Lady Bird initiated the Society for a More Beautiful National Capitol and worked with the American Association of Nurserymen to promote the planting of wildflowers along highways. In 1964, the first lady traveled through eight southern states aboard her train, “The Lady Bird Special,” to foster support for LBJ’s presidential re-election and the Civil Rights Act. She was influential in promoting the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, referred to as “Lady Bird’s Bill,” and the Head Start program .
 
Following the death of LBJ in 1973, Lady Bird turned her attention to Austin. The Town Lake Beautification Project transformed Austin’s downtown lake, renamed Lady Bird Lake in 2007, into a useable recreation area. On December 22, 1982, Lady Bird and Helen Hays founded the National Wildflower Research Center outside of Austin. The Wildflower Center was established to increase awareness and research for North American flora.  During her lifetime, the former first lady received the highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1988. Lady Bird died of natural causes on July 11, 2007, survived by two daughters, seven grandchildren, and  ten great-grandchildren. 
The thirty-eighth Texas State Governor, John Bowden Connally Jr., was born on a farm near Floresville, Texas, on February 27, 1917. Connally graduated from the University of Texas in 1941 with a law degree and was subsequently admitted to the State Bar of Texas. He began his political career as a legislative assistant to Representative Lyndon B. Johnson in 1939. The two retained a close but often torrid friendship until LBJ’s death. After returning from U.S. Naval combat in the Pacific Theater, Connally joined an influential Austin law firm, served as LBJ’s campaign manager and aide, and became oil tycoon Sid W. Richardson’s legal counsel. Connally’s reputation as a political mastermind was solidified after managing five of LBJ’s major political campaigns, including the 1964 presidential election. In 1961, Connally served as Secretary of the Navy under President John F. Kennedy.
 
Wealthy financiers like Sid Richardson and a strong grass-roots network of supporters helped Connally win his first gubernatorial election in 1962. The three-term governor fought to expand higher education by increasing teachers’ salaries, creating new doctoral programs, and establishing the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas Historical Commission. In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed Connally to the foreign-intelligence advisory board. He was named the sixty-first Secretary of Treasury in 1971. Connally became one of the President’s principal advisors and headed the Democrats for Nixon organization, finally switching to the Republican Party in 1973. Connally is also remembered nationally for being in the car with President Kennedy during his assasination in Dallas in 1963, when Connally received wounds in his chest, wrist, and thigh. 
 
The former Texas governor announced in January 1979 that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination. His campaign was abandoned after media attacks over a controversial public speech and bank partnership. Financial troubles befell Connally by the mid 1980s after a real estate development partnership with former Texas Representative Ben Barnes collapsed. John Connally died on June 15, 1993 and is interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.