Leading the United States in one of its first nation-wide beautification projects was Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson, wife of 36th President Lyndon B. Johnson. Shortly after beginning her role as First Lady in 1963, Mrs. Johnson began her beautification efforts locally in Washington, D.C. She sought to improve the city’s environmental culture by partnerships between public and private entities, landscape and building architects, community leaders, city planners, and schools to help reduce litter, build parks, plant trees, restore historic buildings, and preserve natural lands surrounding the city. [MOU1]

The Burpee Company took part in several beautification programs in the late-1950s-1960s, some of which were involved with Mrs. Johnson’s initiatives. In this activity, students are asked to study letters sent between the Burpee company and other organizations as well as publicity material from these initiatives. Particular attention should be paid to the variety of people and organizations involved, what each party was contributing to the campaign, and dates, mapping out this dynamic approach to gardening for social purpose.

  • Box 344, Philadelphia More Beautiful, 1959; Capitol Beautification Program, 1962-1967; Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 1965; Beautifying America, 1966-1968