History

Texan Liz Carpenter was Called the Funniest Woman in Politics

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Notable Texans are committed to history every day. One of these people earned her rank even before death. Liz Carpenter was born on September 1, 1920, and became a well-known writer, speechwriter, journalist, media advisor, and political humorist. A fifth-generation Texan who was born in Salado, then moved to Austin at the age of seven, Carpenter was often named the “funniest woman in politics.”

She majored in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, making her mark at The Daily Texan newspaper, as well as the first female vice president of the student body and a member of Texas Orange Jackets. Beginning in 1942, Carpenter covered the White House and Congress for the Austin American-Statesman, reporting on administrations from Franklin D. Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy.

Texan Liz Carpenter was Called the Funniest Woman in Politics

Photo: @breejohnsonphoto via Twenty20

Liz married Les Carpenter on June 17, 1944, after his discharge from the United States Navy during World War II. Together, they raised two children and ran the Carpenter News Bureau. In 1960, Carpenter joined the staff of Lyndon B. Johnson in his campaign for the Vice Presidency. After a successful election, she became the first woman executive assistant to the vice-president. Johnson once quipped: “Liz would charge hell with a bucket of water.”

In addition to publishing numerous books, Liz Carpenter was a founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus, appointed by President Jimmy Carter as Assistant Secretary of Education for Public Affairs, and by President Clinton to be on the White House Conference on Aging. She is in the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. Once, she even performed a show with Governor Ann Richards and comedian Lily Tomlin at the Paramount Theatre. After a long and successful career, Carpenter died in Austin, Texas on March 20, 2010. Today, the Liz Carpenter Award is annually awarded for the best scholarly book on the history of women and Texas.