In 1983, Governor Jock McKernan declared February 18-19 Literacy Volunteers Week. Barbara Bush, then the wife of the Vice-President, came to Bangor. Literacy Volunteers hosted a tea at the Isaac Farrar Mansion.
“Everything I worried about”—crime, hunger, poverty—”would be better if more people could read, write and comprehend,” Barbara Bush wrote in her autobiography. She advocated for literacy from the time her young son Neil was diagnosed with dyslexia until her death.
Family literacy was her cause as First Lady (1989-93). Shortly after her husband’s election, she created the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. It has raised $110 million to support literacy nationwide.
With strong Maine connections, Mrs. Bush made several appearances in the state to promote literacy. She died in Maine in 2018.