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LBJ love letters: Romance in a time without Twitter

LBJ love letters: The correspondence between the 26-year-old future president and Lady Bird were made public for the first time Thursday — Valentine's Day — at the LBJ Presidential Library. The love letters will be available to view online.

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Lyndon B. Johnson is pictured in this photo which he sent, signed, to Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor in 1934. Love letters released by the LBJ library document correspondence between Johnson, then a Congressional aide, and Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor in 1934, a few months after they first met.

REUTERS/LBJ Presidential Library/Handout

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Days after the congressional aide met the University of Texas history and journalism graduate in Austin, he boldly proposed marriage.

Claudia Alta Taylor, the 21-year-old rancher's daughter known to her friends as "Bird," was intrigued but thought Lyndon Johnson's proposal was much too impulsive. Her clearly smitten suitor, however, was persistent.

"It is an important decision," he wrote to her in one of the nearly 90 love letters the pair exchanged during their 10-week courtship in 1934. "It isn't being made in one night ... but your lack of decision hasn't tempered either my affection, devotion or ability to know what I want."

She replied that his proposal and repeated insistence "sort of put me on the spot, didn't it, dear? All I can say, in absolutely honesty, is — I love you, I don't know how everlastingly I love you — so I can't answer you yet."

The correspondence between the 26-year-old future president and the woman the world would come to know as Lady Bird are available for public review for the first time starting Thursday — Valentine's Day — at the LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin.

A few of the letters were previously released but not the entire collection, which also will be posted online.

"We've had several requests from researchers to release these," Claudia Anderson, the library's supervisory archivist, said Wednesday. "It just seemed like a good time to do it."

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