Lyndon Johnson’s go-to gift

President Lyndon Johnson met with Pope Paul VI on Dec 23, 1967. The two spoke for over an hour and then exchanged gifts. The Pope gave Johnson a sixteenth-century painting of the Nativity. Johnson, in return, gave the Pope a small bust of himself, Lyndon Johnson.

Pope Paul VI admiring the LBJ bust he just received

It struck people at the time (and ever since) as odd for Johnson to give a bust of himself as a gift to the Pope. But, in fact, the Pope wasn't the only recipient of this bust. It was Johnson's go-to gift for just about everyone: world leaders, congressmen, white house aides, etc. He traveled with a box of them, so he would always have one at hand.

The busts were replicas of a lifesize bust created by sculptress Jimilu Mason. In case you'd like to give one as a gift, they're available for purchase from the Johnson Presidential Library — only $150 each.

More info: Dead Presidents blog

Jimilu Mason poses with her bust of LBJ

Arizona Republic - Jan 14, 1968

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 06, 2021
     Category: Art | Statues and Monuments | Gifts, Presents, Tributes, and Other Honoraria | 1960s

I am totally NOT surprised by this. What is a surprise is that some other presidents (I won't name names) haven't done the same thing (unless they have, and I just don't know about it).
Posted by Patrick on 10/06/21 at 07:24 AM
I remember a Bob Hope "autobiography" where he described little holes under the desk while he visited the White House. He put it down to LBJ drilling for oil.
Posted by KDP on 10/06/21 at 01:02 PM
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