Between 1940 and 1973, six American presidents from both political parties—Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Nixon—secretly recorded on tape just under 5,000 hours of their meetings and telephone conversations. The Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Program is a unique effort aimed at making these remarkable historical sources accessible.
Our newest additions to our LBJ series (with W.W. Norton) are now available. Edited by Guian McKee, Kent Germany, and David Carter, these volumes were given a Starred Review in Publishers Weekly (April), which said the volumes constituted "a significant record of American history in the making, and for anyone fascinated by LBJ or the inner working of the White House, this is an invaluable record." You can buy them here.
Click on the link below to hear highlight clips from the volumes.
The JFK Library has released a new tape from September 18, 1963, in which President Kennedy and NASA∇ Administrator James Webb discuss the race to the moon. The Library's press release is reproduced below.
A roundup of recent press coverage of PRP's work, including New York Times, National Journal, and Texas Monthly.
On Thursday, April 28 at 7:00pm, the National Archives in Washington, D.C. will host a special program to mark the Miller Center's release of the highly-anticipated seventh and eighth volumes in its award-winning print series, The Presidential Recordings: Lyndon B. Johnson. Free and open to the public, this event will be held at the National Archives' McGowan Theater and will feature Pulitzer Prize winning author Taylor Branch and the editors of the volumes.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is visiting the White House today to meet with President Obama. The United States and Australia have shared a close relationship since World War II, and top level discussions are quite frequent. We've added a couple of new transcripts to our previously compiled highlights from the mentions of Australia on the White House Tapes.
Today marks the 46th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when Civil Rights activists marching from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights were confronted with brutal and violent law enforcement tactics. In this virtual exhibit, former PRP intern Alice Anne Stephens looked at LBJ's handling of the aftermath of this pivotal moment in the Civil Rights struggle. Click on the link to hear LBJ's frustrations in dealing with Alabama Governor George Wallace, who LBJ came to regard as "a very treacherous guy" and a "no-good son-of-a-bitch": "The President, the Wildcard, and the Link," by Alice Anne Stephens.
On June 11, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson tells Sen. Richard Russell, “We’re doing just fine except for this damn Vietnam thing.” On June 29, FBI∇ Director J. Edgar Hoover∇ engages in a smear campaign against the mother of a missing civil-rights worker, telling Johnson, “She’s a Communist, you know.” These are among the conversations that are included in major releases of Johnson White House tapes by the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Program.
With such an impressive and distinguished record, Thurgood Marshall became an ideal candidate to help with LBJ's efforts to break down racial barriers to promotion to top government positions. Johnson appointed Marshall as Solicitor General in 1965 and made it clear then that after Marshall built up more experience in that office that he hoped to be able to appoint him to the Supreme Court before the end of his presidency. But before he did so, he wanted to be sure that there could be no criticism whatsoever that Marshall did not have the necessary experience. As he told Roy Wilkins, the Executive Director of the NAACP, "I want to build him up where he's impenetrable when he becomes a Supreme Court justice."
We've posted some new transcripts from the JFK Dictabelts. These are of telephone calls from March 1963. Topics include Everett Dirksen's calls for a Senate investigation into the Bay of Pigs invasion, Philip Graham's criticism of COMSAT, and the political sensitivities of a proposed IRS reorganization plan.
To coincide with the centennial of Ronald Reagan's birthday, we're posting a few new transcripts with and about Reagan from the Nixon tapes. At the time of these calls, Reagan was the Governor of California and a rising star of the national Republican Party.
Sargent Shriver has passed away. The founding Peace Corps director, director of LBJ's War on Poverty effort, and vice presidential candidate appears often on the LBJ tapes and occasionally on the JFK tapes. Click on the links to listen to fascinating conversations from the LBJ tapes with and about Shriver.
Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King plays a prominent role on the JFK and LBJ tapes. We've previously compiled sets of conversations related to Dr. Martin Luther King and presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Click on the Read More link to hear the conversations.
To help mark the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and Caroline Kennedy, President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, today unveiled the nation’s largest online digitized presidential archive, providing unprecedented global access to the most important papers, records, photographs and recordings of President John F. Kennedy’s thousand days in office.
It is with much pleasure that we can announce that the Presidential Recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson Digital Edition has been published by the University of Virginia Press in their prestigious Rotunda digital imprint. The edition currently consists of three series: War on Poverty, 1964 (edited by Guian McKee); Civil Rights, 1964 (edited by Kent Germany); and Vietnam, 1964-65 (edited by Marc Selverstone and David Coleman). The entire edition is fully searchable, accessible via a timeline view, and each transcript page includes the original audio.
Ted Sorensen has died. A close adviser and speechwriter for John F. Kennedy, Sorensen did not stay long into Johnson's term, but LBJ respected his advice and sought his counsel on several important matters. In this clip, LBJ describes him as "the smartest man I've met in this White House."