RIP Liz Carpenter.
March 21, 2010 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Liz Carpenter, Texas humorist, women's rights crusader and aide to Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, dies at 89

Co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus, she was a descendant of five generations of Texans, including a 17-year-old relative who died at the Battle of the Alamo. A great-great uncle wrote and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Carpenter scribbled the 58 words that Lyndon Johnson delivered to the nation when he returned to Washington from Dallas after the assassination of President Kennedy: "This is a sad time for all people. We have suffered a loss that cannot be weighed. For me, it is a deep personal tragedy. I know that the world shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy and her family bear. I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help and God's."

Ann Richards once said, "(Liz is) the tilt-a-whirl at the State Fair with all the lights on and the music. The only difference between Liz and a tilt-a-whirl is that, with Liz, the ride never comes to an end."

Farewell to the "Foot-Washing, Psalm-Singing, Total Immersion Texan"
posted by ColdChef (18 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
“I went to Washington in 1942 with my journalism degree in hand and my virtue intact — and I still have a journalism degree.” (source, among others)

posted by grouse at 9:12 AM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I once picked Liz Carpenter up from her house and drove her to a fundraiser, and then back home. She was a sweet old lady, feisty and humorous.

When I drove her home that night she invited me into her house. "Honey, you gotta see the view from my bedroom. I bought this house for the view. I walked to the back of her house, past the rows of decorated walking canes (bedazzled!), past the couch with the needlepoint pillow ("Uppity women unite!"), and into her bedroom. She pulled back the curtains, and there was the Austin skyline. Her house was situated somewhat high on a hill just outside of downtown, and it provided for a gorgeous view at night.

We sat there a few minutes, she asking me questions about my life and what I wanted to do with it, confidently telling me that I have a level head on my shoulders and that I'll do fine in life, etc etc. She had an energy that could be felt when she was in a room, even at a fundraiser with hundreds of others. She'll be missed.

posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:14 AM on March 21, 2010 [9 favorites]

Awh, another fantastic Texas woman gone. Damn it, we need all the fantastic uppity women we can get. Ms. Carpenter will be missed.
posted by dejah420 at 10:47 AM on March 21, 2010

posted by eatdonuts at 10:49 AM on March 21, 2010

"She manages to phrase issues the way people experience them, rather than using all those words that end in t-i-o-n and deaden your brain." —Gloria Steinem
posted by clavdivs at 11:04 AM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by Smart Dalek at 11:07 AM on March 21, 2010

Awh, another fantastic Texas woman gone.

Yeah, but she lived a long time and got things done.
posted by pracowity at 11:21 AM on March 21, 2010

She was a hell of a gal and I'm glad she made it to 89.
posted by languagehat at 12:20 PM on March 21, 2010


Does anyone know what her nieces and nephew ( the ones she wrote about in Unplanned Parenthood) are doing now?
posted by brujita at 12:29 PM on March 21, 2010

posted by immlass at 1:36 PM on March 21, 2010

posted by aldus_manutius at 6:52 AM on March 22, 2010

May I live long enough to see another generation of such Texas women arise ... she (and they!) are sorely missed.
posted by aldus_manutius at 6:53 AM on March 22, 2010

posted by dog food sugar at 7:03 AM on March 22, 2010

posted by MexicanYenta at 9:16 AM on March 22, 2010

May I live long enough to see another generation of such Texas women arise ... she (and they!) are sorely missed.

Amen to that. Molly, Ann, Barbara Jordan, and, in a more quiet way, Lady Bird, and now Liz? We're left with whom, Kay Bailey Hutchison?? Carole Keeton Rylander (or whatever her name is now)???

There aren't enough dots in the world.

I once had the pleasure of briefly meeting Liz Carpenter and Lady Bird Johnson at the same time, in the back of Lady Bird's limo. It was striking how even a brief glimpse of them revealed their unique and polar opposite personalities. I wanted to climb in the back seat with them and go for a ride because, hell, that would have been a good time.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:03 AM on March 22, 2010

You can watch the LBJ speech here. He starts talking at about 1:10. Those powerful 58 words/7 sentences are the whole speech.
posted by Xalf at 6:39 PM on March 22, 2010

Looks like the LBJ library has better video of the speech as well as a PDF of the speech with handwritten alterations. Here's a link to all of their material. I'm looking forward to having the time to watch the video of a talk she gave on presidential humor.
posted by Xalf at 6:54 PM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh darn. Here's the link to all their material. I'll stop posting now.
posted by Xalf at 6:55 PM on March 22, 2010

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