- Second woman to be married to one president and be the mother of another (Abigail Adams was the first); Barbara Bush was married to President George H. W. Bush and the mother of President George Bush. Barbara is also the distant relative of President Franklin Pierce.
- Founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, raised money for charities including the United Negro College Fund, and volunteered at The Washington Home.
- Barbara published Millie’s Book as Dedicated to Barbara Bush, a collection of photographs that amassed $800,000 in royalties in 1991 (more than her husband had earned that year), donating the net proceeds to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
- Sent a powerful message when photographed hugging Aids-infected infants and adults during a time of heightened fear and stigma surrounding the disease.
- Barbara, unlike her predecessors, did not attempt to mold herself to traditional beauty standards. She refused to diet or dye her hair, and was the oldest woman to assume the role of first lady at 63 years old. (Anna Harrison was 66 when President Harrison was inaugurated, but she never moved to the capital).