Jon Crispin's Notebook

Nixon Library

Posted in History, Jon Crispin, museums, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 27/06/2017

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, CA opened shortly after Cris and I got together.  Her mom, Dorothy Smith, was one of the early employees and worked at the ticket desk and on occasion, the gift shop.  (We have an amazing set of Camp David whiskey glasses thanks to her.)

Nixon Library

 We hadn’t visited in over 20 years and thought it might be time to check it out again.  (And it is not too far from the In-N-Out in Fullerton.)  My memories of it were quite positive, as I thought it told Nixon’s story in an objective and realistic manner.

The hallway above leads to a reproduction of the East Room where he gave his farewell speech to his staff.

Nixon Library

The exhibits provide a good sense of context about what was going on in the sixties.

Nixon Library

Here he is in all his glory.  This is such an iconic photograph.  I always thought that the “Nixon’s The One” slogan left a lot of room for ambiguity.  I like how LBJ appears to be  giving him the hairy eyeball in this shot.

Nixon Library

Great examples of Nixon election ephemera are spread throughout the museum.  What is up with the “Protest! and Win! with Nixon”?

Nixon Library

Here I am sitting at a recreation of Nixon’s desk in the fake oval office.  This is kind of funny for me.  My childhood friend Mike Hogan’s uncle, Vice Admiral Robert Bruce Brown was the Surgeon General of the Navy and lived at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.  Mike and I used to visit in the summer and Admiral Brown once took us to the White House for a tour.  One of his best friends was LBJ’s physician and we got the whole behind the scene look.  LBJ was out of town, but we saw his beagles Him and Her.  Later, as we walked past the Oval Office we were asked if we wanted to sit at the desk, which of course we did.  Still wish I had photographic evidence of that occasion.

Nixon Library

Here are some more great buttons.  Right on, Mister President!

Nixon Library

An entire section of the museum is dedicated to the Viet Nam war.

Nixon Library

Including a giant pile of correspondence from people both opposed to, and in favor of the war.

Nixon Library

Here’s the Colt .45 that Elvis gave to Nixon.  There is an amazing and totally bizarre story behind this gift.  Totally Elvis!

Nixon Library

These fake balloons are meant to be from the convention after he accepted the nomination (for the second time, I think).

Nixon Library

I had completely forgotten what a total ass kicking McGovern got in 1972.  This map pretty much says it all.  I was so bummed on election night after having driven from Springfield, Ohio to Meadville just to vote for George.  I am pretty sure I got totally wasted that night.

Nixon Library

But then came Watergate.  I wonder if the White House phone number is still 202 456 1414.  I like the special buttons for Chapin, Haldeman, and Rosemary Woods.  “Hey Rosemary, can you erase some of that tape for me?”

Nixon Library

“Sure Mr. President, no problemo”

Nixon Library

And let’s throw in some dirty tricks too!

Nixon Library

There are some very good recordings of the taping system for all to hear.  And if you are a researcher, the library component of the facility has the entire collection.  Amazing.

Nixon Library

There is something about this photo of Bork.  It reminds me of a promotional still from a bad 1970s era TV show.  After both Richardson and Ruckelshaus resigned instead of carrying out the order to fire Cox, Bork carried it out.  I think it must be one reason the long knives came out when he was nominated to the Supreme Court.  The political world hasn’t really been the same since.

Nixon Library

There are a few more cool exhibits toward the end of the walk-through.  Here is Cris hangin’ with Pat and Dick at the Rose Parade.

Nixon Library

I like this life size cutout in front of the door of his first law firm.

Nixon Library

The gardens are really beautiful.  Off in the distance is the house where Nixon and his brothers were born.  When Cris and I were first together in Placentia, we used to drive over to see it before the site became a museum.  It was then occupied by the custodian of the elementary school (now gone) where Cris got her polio vaccine sugar cube. It had a sign on it that said “Private Residence”.  It is amazing that most of the furniture inside now is original to the family and to the house.

Nixon Library

You can also go into the actual helicopter that flew him from the White House lawn when he resigned, although it was closed when we were there due to the heat.

  Thanks for following, and making it to the end of this long post.  More suitcases soon.

5 Responses

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  1. Katie said, on 27/06/2017 at 5:29 pm

    This was a great post. Thanks so much for letting us go to the museum/library with you and Cris.

    • joncrispin said, on 28/06/2017 at 11:40 am

      Hi Katie, thanks. Really missing seeing you over the past few years, and would love to catch up sometime. / I am beginning to approach colleges and universities about presenting the suitcases. Know anyone at UC Santa Cruz? It would make a great excuse for me coming out to Northern CA.

  2. Karen said, on 28/06/2017 at 9:54 am

    Love this. Love it even more that this post went directly to my JUNK MAIL. None of your other posts have. HA!

  3. Carolyn Rogers said, on 08/07/2017 at 2:30 pm

    This was really interesting and informative.
    Thank you.
    (Volunteered at Willard State ages ago–’56 or ’57–under auspices of Cornell United Religious Work)

    • joncrispin said, on 09/07/2017 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks Carolyn. Are you still in Central New York? I’d love to talk sometime. Best, Jon


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