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Dec 10, 2018 Washington, D.C. —
The White House Historical Association today released the latest episode of The 1600 Sessions podcast, “A White House Wedding: A Conversation with Lynda Johnson Robb.” Released the day after the 51st anniversary of her wedding, Lynda Johnson Robb, former First Lady of Virginia, daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson, and one of few to marry in the White House, tells fascinating stories about her wedding. She also shares memories of life in the Executive Mansion, and of her father, including the day he became president.
Host Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association asks Mrs. Robb where she was and what she remembers about the day in November of 1963, when her father became president of the United States. “It was a horrendous day. I was in Austin Texas…I didn't have a radio, no less a television in my dorm room. And on the radio they were telling about the president being shot. And we were all just kneeling on the floor and crying, and I didn't know what had happened, I didn't know whether my parents were all right. There were reports that my father had a heart attack….”
Robb also talks about her White House wedding. On December 9, 1967, Lynda Johnson married Charles Robb, a Marine Captain and then-White House social aide, in a ceremony in the East Room. Johnson Robb tells of how they met: “I loved to play Bridge, and after a state dinner, I would ask if there's anybody who wanted to go upstairs and play Bridge...Chuck started doing that. We met with the press not knowing anything about it.”
On how her father the president handled the significance of their eventual wedding: “I have to tell you, it was traumatic for my father. He was really sad, and the night before [the wedding]...sad about giving up his first born. And we have wonderful pictures of mother, and she's kissing him on the cheek and telling him, ‘it's going to be all right.’ ” Just three months after their wedding, Charles Robb left for Vietnam, which was a “very, very difficult time” for the newlywed couple and for the president.
In an emotional recounting of November 22, 1963, she vividly recalls the day her father became president after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. She also candidly talks about discussions she had with her father about the Vietnam War, given that her husband was off fighting. However, Mrs. Robb recalls life in the White House, and her wedding within its walls, fondly: “The night before, my father made a toast to me. And he had lots of pieces of paper and said, ‘I'm going to read to you some of the Secret Service reports about the courtship of Lynda Johnson and Charles Robb...November 18th, Chuck Robb enters White House at 6:30. Leaves at 12:30 that night.’ And he had all of these things. And he said, ‘I'm going to tear up these papers and make them into wedding confetti!’ and of course we all laughed. And then, Daddy told about the first time he saw me, when I was born.”
“Their wedding is one of only 18 to have occurred in the White House,” White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin notes. “The first White House wedding was Dolley Madison's sister, Lucy Payne Washington, who married Supreme Court Justice Thomas Todd in 1812. The first child of a president to get married in the White House was Marie Hester Monroe in 1820. In addition, President Grover Cleveland was married to Frances Fulson in 1886 in the White House.”
The 1600 Sessions
In this podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians, and eyewitnesses to history about America’s most famous residence and office—the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.
The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher. To hear the full episode, visit The1600Sessions.org.
About the white house historical association
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.
To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.