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History Happy Hour: Washington's Iron Butterfly

During the 1960s, Elizabeth "Bess" Clements Abell forged her own path in Washington by helping family friends Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson. Abell's Secret Service code name, "Iron Butterfly," exemplified her graceful but firm management of social life in the Johnson White House. After Johnson's administration ended, she maintained her importance in Washington, DC, serving as chief of staff to Joan Mondale and cofounding a public relations company. Donald A. Ritchie and Terry L. Birdwhistell will draw on Abell's own words and those of others known to her to tell her remarkable story on History Happy Hour.

History Happy Hour is a biweekly virtual program hosted by the White House Historical Association. Join us as experts weigh in on a variety of historical topics, share their insights, answer audience questions, and enjoy presidential-inspired libations.

Did you know members of the Association have access to all previous History Happy Hour episodes? Become a member here.