Pat Nixon’s Red Cross Uniforms
This year, our nation recognizes the 50th anniversary of Pat Nixon becoming First Lady.
Pat Nixon was a First Lady of many firsts who rose from the humblest and harshest of beginnings to positively impact millions of people in our nation and around the world as she substantively changed the role of the First Lady to include that of official U.S. representative and diplomat.
“People are my project,” she said on more than one occasion as she championed volunteerism by lending her significant support to worthwhile organizations across the country; indeed, she personally chaired many prominent national organizations and took an active interest in furthering their missions.
The photo above shows Mrs. Nixon wearing a white Red Cross uniform with Mrs. Everett and Mrs. Martin as the three admire a Presidential Signature flag in 1959.
The photo above shows Mrs. Nixon seated next to Mamie Eisenhower at a Senate Ladies Luncheon given in honor of the First Lady, April 24, 1956.
Mrs. Nixon wore this white uniform while volunteering for the Red Cross. She began her volunteer days with the Red Cross in the early 1940s as a secretary, and continued to volunteer her time to the agency’s causes.
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives and Records Administration, 1981.1168, 1979.65
Mrs. Nixon’s Red Dress and Coat
The photo above show Mrs. Nixon with Gallaudet University President, Edward C. Merrill, and KDES/MSSD students, Bill Barber and Nathan Fay (at far right) at the Groundbreaking Ceremony on October 17, 1973, Model Secondary School for the Deaf, Gallaudet University. Designed by Adele Simpson, the red suit is a sleeveless dress with double-breasted jacket with black velvet collar and cuffs.
Richard Nixon Estate, RN.1994.17.1-.2
Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun
Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun, the highest decoration of the Peruvian Government, presented personally to Mrs. Nixon as a gesture of appreciation for her trip to Peru and her efforts on behalf of the refugees of the earthquake.
Gift of Senora Consuela Gonzalez de Velasco to First Lady Pat Nixon,
Pat Nixon embarked upon many goodwill tours to represent her husband in various parts of the world. One of her most memorable efforts took place in June of 1970 when she flew to earthquake stricken Peru. While flying on Air Force One, another jet flew in nine tons of relief supplies gathered by volunteers. Peru’s First Lady Consuelo Velasco met Mrs. Nixon in Lima. After supplies were transferred to a cargo plane, both first ladies flew to the Huascaran Mountain to deliver the supplies where the earthquake stuck. The President of Peru, Juan Velasco set aside political differences for her courage and awarded Mrs. Nixon the Grand Order of the Sun, one of the America’s oldest established civilian awards since 1821.
Photo: Pat Nixon in Peru
Traditional Liberian Dress
On January 1, 1972, Mrs. Nixon left for an eight-day trip to Africa, the first visit of a First Lady to that continent and Mrs. Nixon’s second foreign assignment on her own.
While in Monrovia, Liberia, Mrs. Nixon lead a United States delegation for the inaugural of William R. Tolbert Jr. as the 19th President of Africa’s oldest independent republic.
On display is Mrs. Nixon’s Liberian dress and headpiece.
Gift of His Excellency William R. Tolbert Jr., to First Lady Pat Nixon
Mrs. Nixon’s White House Portrait Gown
The photos above show Mrs. Nixon on September 21, 1972, at a function in Los Angeles for the American Cancer Society. Mrs. Nixon also wore this gown on a state visit to Liberia on January 3, 1972, and posed for her official White House portrait in it.
Designed by Alfred Bosand of New York, the ankle-length gown of organza fabric is overstitched throughout with blue and silver machine embroidery. The empire style waistline is delineated by a two-inch band. With a scoop neck, the bodice is embellished with faux pearls and sequence.
Richard Nixon Estate, RN.1994.2
Explore the special Christmas display, All-Aboard, America! featuring four spectacular layouts of model trains whistling over bridges, through snow-capped mountains and stopping in miniature towns and cities.
Take photographs with the beautiful Pat Nixon White House Gingerbread House — custom-baked to look like President Nixon’s birthplace!
NEW THIS YEAR: Enjoy a 20-foot tall Nixon White House Christmas tree — decked out in red, white and blue.
The showcase reflects President Nixon’s love of trains that began in his Yorba Linda childhood. In his Memoirs, he recalled,
“In the daytime, I could see the smoke from the steam engines. Sometimes at night, I was awakened by the whistle of a train and then I dreamed of the far-off places I wanted to visit someday.”
A key component for a democratic form of government, such as that of the United States, continues to be the right to free speech. During the most difficult moments in American history, this very notion has been challenged. The Vietnam War and the passions it evoked presented historic challenges to the principles and perceptions of free speech and what it truly entails.
In the spring of 1970, President Richard Nixon made the decision to authorize the United States military to cross over the border from South Vietnam into Cambodia. This decision was made to advance attacks to sanctuaries in Cambodia used by the North Vietnamese military in their war against the South. On April 29, 1970, President Nixon appeared on national television to discuss his reasoning for this action. The announcement reignited dissent against the war and led to unintended consequences no one could have imagined.
In the aftermath of the President’s speech, various groups made plans that included a protest against the war in Washington D.C. and on various college campuses across the United States. A group of thirty-seven college presidents sent a letter that arrived at the White House on May 4 imploring Nixon to end the fighting in Southeast Asia. That same afternoon, news relating to protests and violence slowly made its way to the Oval Office. The National Guard firing on a group of protesters at Kent State University, killing four and wounding nine, seemed inconceivable. Eleven days later, two more student protesters were killed and twelve wounded at Jackson State University.
In the aftermath of Kent State, 450 colleges and universities went on strike. Governor Reagan shut down the entire state university and college system in the state of California. These events, when combined with the proposed “Huston Plan,” which would give the intelligence agencies the ability to use wire taps and open private mail in an attempt to combat rising internal dissension, gave the impression that the right to free speech in America was under attack.
Fortunately, the Huston Plan never became policy and violence against protests like those of May 1970 proved to be isolated events. Dissent and protest against the war and government policies continued and became emblematic of each American citizen’s right to speak freely on the issues most important to them.
The ability to engage in a free and public debate remains a cornerstone of American democracy.
The 1968 Presidential campaign occurred during one of the most tumultuous times in American history. In an environment teeming with anger, violence, and hostility, Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace each sought the attention of American voters and the right to lead the United States into an unknown future.
The Vietnam War and the resulting protests, along with the political assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, contributed to these historic and difficult times. The animosity towards American participation in Vietnam pushed the incumbent President, Lyndon B. Johnson, to announce his withdrawal from the Democratic primaries and the race for the presidency. As a result, the Democratic Party nomination opened up and two peace candidates, Senator Robert Kennedy of New York and Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota, competed in the remainder of the primaries following New Hampshire. After the assassination of Robert Kennedy following his primary victory in California, Hubert Humphrey became the favorite of establishment Democrats and earned the nomination in Chicago in the midst of riots protesting the war in Vietnam.
On the Republican side, Richard Nixon focused on issues such as law and order and won every primary he entered. He easily won the Republican nomination during a quiet convention in Miami, Florida. George Wallace, the former Governor of Alabama and a staunch segregationist, ran for President as an Independent. His support came mainly from the South and workers in industrial areas of the North and Midwest.
In the midst of all these trials and tribulations, Nixon - in a reversal of the 1960 election results - won a close election over Humphrey in the Electoral College – 301 to 191. Wallace finished third with 46 Electoral College votes.
More than 20 formal gowns and pieces of apparel of American First Ladies are on display at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in a new exhibit, Why They Wore It: The Politics & Pop Culture of First Ladies’ Fashion, which breaks new ground by exploring — for the first time — how each First Lady used her favorite styles to advance her own — and her husband’s — agenda, by embracing special causes and promoting political positions.
This new, highly-visual, originally-curated exhibit at the Nixon Library will dig up a time capsule to peel back a veil on the presidential election that capped one the most divisive, colorful, and consequential years in American history.
The three final presidential candidates will present you with their contrasting visions for America — and America's role in the world — culminating in the chaotic Democratic National Convention in Chicago and Richard Nixon's hairbreadth victory that November.
April 1 to May 29, 2017
2016 marked the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights - the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.
The National Archives and Records Administration or NARA recognized the importance of the anniversary with the creation of the "Amending America" project for learning more about the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments to the Constitution.
The "Amending America" exhibit, National Conversations on #RightsandJustice, and free eBooks are among the available resources that explore how, why, and when the Constitution has been amended "in order to form a more perfect union" for all.
Amending America eBooks include:
- Amending America exhibition catalog
- Putting the Bill of Rights to the Test Workbook for students
- Congress Creates the Bill of Rights focusing on the leadership of James Madison in creating the Bill of Rights
Click HERE to learn more about NARA's "Amending America" project and amendments to the United States Constitution.
Ever wondered how the process to amend the Constitution works? Watch this short "Amending America: How Do We Amend?" video:
Would you like to see the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other historical documents in person? Visit the NARA building in Washington, DC to view the Charters of Freedom in the Rotunda. LEARN MORE HERE
The 26th Amendment
The 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, was certified on July 5, 1971. President Richard M. Nixon and three of the "Young Americans in Concert" (Julianne Jones, Joseph W. Loyd, Jr., and Paul S. Larimer) witnessed the certification of the amendment by Robert Kunzig, Administration of General Services. President Nixon and the three young people also signed as witnesses.
On May 22, 1994, President Richard Nixon was posthumously awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Recognized by the United States Congress as one of America's most prestigious awards, it is conferred annually by the Ellis Island Honors Society on 100 Americans who are committed to using their time, talents, and resources to help those less fortunate than themselves, and who have distinguished themselves in their own ethnic group while exemplifying the values and spirit of America.
President Nixon's Ellis Island Medal of Honor will be on display at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, from Friday, June 22, through Wednesday, July 4.
On Friday, June 29, the Pacific Symphony's performance of Peter Boyer's acclaimed "Ellis Island: The Dream of America" will be nationally broadcast on PBS' "Great Performances." To celebrate this "first" for Orange County, a free-to-the public pre-screening program will be held at the Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University at 8:00 p.m. In addition to viewing the entire program "on the big screen," a brief panel discussion will feature Boyer; Nasser Kazeminy, Chairman of the Ellis Island Honors Society; Carl St.Clair, Pacific Symphony Conductor; and others. A number of Ellis Island Medalists will be in attendance.