Liz Carpenter

1000 Barton Springs Rd Austin

Austin History Center
Written By Austin History Center

The Austin History Center's mission is to procure, preserve, present and provide the historical records that make up Austin's unique story.

Dubbed the funniest woman in politics, Carpenter arrived in Austin at the age of seven.

At Austin High School she became editor of the school paper, the first steps in a journalism career that would touch the lives of many of the female groundbreakers in US politics.

After earning her degree at UT-Austin, Liz and her husband founded the Carpenter News Service, which reported on the White House and Congress for Texas newspapers. She was ardent political reporter for 16 years and then press secretary for Lady Bird Johnson, but she often wrote speeches for LBJ as well.

In November 1963, she penned the words Lyndon B. Johnson spoke to a nation stunned by the assassination of John F. 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." -- Lyndon B. Johnson, November 22, 1963

She worked to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed, which, she said, “will pass in a breeze when two or three people in the Senate move on to that great steaming cauldron below.”

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When her husband died unexpectedly at the age of 52, she returned to Austin after serving for four decades in DC.

“Family roots… the love for Texas… brought me home.” -Liz Carpenter, 1976

In 2008, this fountain, beloved by children, was named in honor of Liz Carpenter by the Austin City Council. It's not only a great place to cool down after a long day, it's a good rendezvous point for those heading to the Butler Hike & Bike Trail, or looking to take in all the statues and views of the Colorado River from Town Lake Metro Park. 

It also makes for a great picnic location with a stunning view of Austin.

In the words of James Michener, author of Pulitzer Prize winning book “Tales of the South Pacific":

“Texas never had a truer daughter.”

Cover photo credit lbjlibrarynow via Instagram.

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