Richard M. Nixon Library & Birthplace
With the guidance of Julie Nixon Eisenhower, the privately run Richard M. Nixon Library & Birthplace retained Gerry Warburg and Gregg Hartley, both then at Cassidy & Associates, to help lay the groundwork for transferring the Library into the federally run Presidential Library System.
President Nixon had been the only president since Franklin D. Roosevelt, who first established a public repository for presidential materials, not to be included in the federally operated Library. Thirty years after he left the White House, President Nixon still had many critics in Congress who had the potential to obstruct any efforts to secure the Library’s place in the Presidential Library System. The team initiated a campaign directed at members of the California delegation, and senior Members of Congress and the Senate, some of whom had been members of the Senate Watergate Committee or had been elected in the backlash to Watergate and were vocal critics of the former President, to convince them now was the time to admit the privately-run Library into the System. Winning their support would be crucial to amend the 1974 Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) that required Nixon Presidential materials remain within the Washington metropolitan area at the National Archives and Records Administration’s Steny Hoyer Archival Center in College Park, MD. Receiving permission from the Department of Justice and support from the White House and the Archivist of the United States were also essential to moving the process forward.
After a series of negotiations with a bipartisan coalition of House and Senate Leadership and committees of jurisdiction, senior White House officials, and the Archivist of the United States, Congress inserted language in the FY 04 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill to allow for the eventual transfer of Richard Nixon’s presidential materials to a library that would ultimately be operated by NARA.
Next, a multi-phase process of renovating the Library to meet NARA architecture and design standards for presidential libraries was required. Over a period of three years, the team worked to secure support for the inclusion of $15,000,000 in NARA’s Presidential Library System’s account and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Economic Development Initiative account to fund construction and staffing needs at the Library.
The last piece of the puzzle included a final agreement between the Library and NARA for the Library’s official inclusion into the Presidential Library System and the hiring and transferring of NARA staff to the Library in Yorba Linda. In 2007, control of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace was officially transferred to the federal government. Upon completion of new construction and renovations to the Museum in 2010 to meet architecture and design standards for presidential libraries, the Nixon presidential materials began moving to the Yorba Linda facility to be joined with the President’s pre- and post-presidential collections. With completion, all of President Nixon’s records are united in one facility with full access guaranteed to historians by professional archivists working within the NARA system.