First Lady's Press Office Files, White House Central Files, 1969-1974
Title: First Lady's Press Office Files, White House Central Files, 1969-1974
Collection Number: 5964897
Creator/Collector: First Lady's Press Office
Extent: 56 linear feet, 10 linear inches; 130 boxes
Repository: Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
Abstract: The First Lady’s Press office contains information relative to the activities of the Press Office staff. These activities included conducting press briefings, dissmeninating press releases, compiling news summaries, and working with various media outlets to publicize events and promote the image of Mrs. Nixon and members of the First Family.
Language of Material: English
Collection is open for research. Some materials may be unavailable based upon categories of materials exempt from public release established in the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974.
Most government records are in the public domain; however, this series includes commercial materials, such as newspaper clippings, that may be subject to copyright restrictions. Researchers should contact the copyright holder for information.
First Lady's Press Office Files, White House Central Files, 1969-1974. Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
These materials are in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration under the provisions of Title I of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-526, 88 Stat. 1695) and implementing regulations.
The First Lady’s Press Office was responsible for communications with the press corps regarding the activities of Mrs. Nixon and the First Family. Gerry Van der Heuvel served as the First Lady’s Press Secretary from January to October 1969. She was followed by Constance Stuart, who served from October 1969 to the spring of 1973. Upon her departure, her assistant, Helen Smith, took over as Press Secretary until the end of the Nixon administration. The office held bi-weekly press briefings and produced press releases. The office was responsible for organizing press coverage for various events, trips, and activities, as well as fielding requests by members of the press for interviews with the First Family.
The First Lady’s Press office contains information relative to the activities of the Press Office staff. These activities included conducting press briefings, dissmeninating press releases, compiling news summaries, and working with various media outlets to publicize events and promote the image of Mrs. Nixon and members of the First Family. There were three Press Secretaries during the Nixon administration: Gerry Van der Heuvel, Constance “Connie” Stuart, and Helen Smith. Materials in this collection predomintately reflect the Press Office under the direction of Connie Stuart. In addition to her role as Press Secretary, Stuart also served as a staff director. As a result of this dual role, many of the materials deal with administrative matters, scheduling, appointments, correspondence, and the planning of trips and social events. As evidenced in the files, her staff worked closely with various offices throughout the White House and the government. These offices include, but are not limited to, the Department of State and the United States Information Agency, the Visitors Office, the White House Police, the Social Entertainments Office, and the Chief Usher’s Office. This collection is comprised of eight series: the Chronological Files series, the Events series, the Subject Files series, the Press Briefings series, the Press Releases series, the Staff Files series, the Miscellaneous Files series, and the Audiovisual Materials Files series. The Events series is broken down into several subseries: the Trips Files, the Christmas Files, the Church Services Files, the Dinner Files, the Evenings at the White House Files, the Inauguration Files, the Prince Charles and Princess Anne Visit Files, and the Wedding Files. The Miscellaneous Files series is broken down into Background Information, Press Coverage, and Publications. The types of materials in this collection include press releases, press briefing transcripts, memoranda, notes, reports, telegrams, and speeches, among others. These files also include a very large volume of newspaper clippings and magazine articles that were kept by the office. In order to gain a better understanding of this collection, one would benefit from reading the transcript of Connie Stuart’s Exit Interview. Related materials can be found in the White House Central Files, Staff Members and Office Files of Sanford Fox, Gwendolyn King, Susan Porter, and Lucy Winchester.