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Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Collection of Pins to be exhibited at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Collection of Pins to be exhibited at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, Yorba Linda, California.


YORBA LINDA, Cal., (June 24, 2015)
The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum will host an exhibition of over 200 pins and brooches from the collection of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The exhibition Read My Pins:  The Madeleine Albright Collection, will be on display from July 11 to September 27, 2015 in the Library’s Hall gallery. The exhibition showcases distinctive jewelry worn by Secretary Albright to communicate a message during her diplomatic tenure.
Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection illustrates how jewelry conveys meaning in a diplomatic, political and social setting. The exhibition examines the collection for its historic significance as well as the expressive power of jewelry and its ability to communicate through a style and language of its own.
In 1997, Madeleine K. Albright was named the first female Secretary of State, and at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. While serving under President Bill Clinton, first as U.S ambassador to the United Nations, and then as Secretary of State, Albright became known for wearing brooches that purposefully conveyed her views about the situation at hand. “I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal,” Secretary Albright has said. “While President George H.W. Bush had been known for saying ‘Read my lips,’ I began urging colleagues and reporters to ‘Read my pins.’"
The collection that Secretary Albright cultivated is distinctive and democratic - sometimes demure and understated, sometimes outlandish and outspoken - spanning more than a century of jewelry design and including fascinating pieces from across the globe. The works on view are chosen for their symbolic value, and while some are fine antiques, many are costume jewelry. Read My Pins... explores the stories behind these works and their historical and artistic significance. The exhibition is accompanied by a book, Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box, published by HarperCollins.
Michael Ellzey, Director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum says: “Secretary Albright’s collection is deep in overtones and nuances, which collectively demonstrates her profound thoughts regarding diplomacy. Her collection encompasses jewelry from the exquisite to the unsophisticated, but all of the pieces have subtle meanings which grew from a diplomatic point of view or from the personal side.” He adds, “We are delighted to show Secretary Albright’s jewelry collection and share the meaning of these personal items to our visitors.”
As part of her public persona, Secretary Albright’s pins chart the course of an extraordinary journey, carving out a visual path through international and cultural diplomacy. The brooch that started Secretary Albright’s unusual use of pins as tools in her diplomatic arsenal, happened after Saddam Hussein’s press referred to her as an “unparalleled serpent.” Secretary Albright wore a golden snake brooch pinned to her suit for her next meeting on Iraq. Read My Pins... will feature the famous snake brooch among many other pins with similar stories - some associated with important world events, others gifts from international leaders or valued friends.
The exhibition will also showcase a group of Americana, which is at the center of the Madeleine Albright collection. From a prior exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design, Brooching It Diplomatically, there is a silver pin made for Secretary Albright, a silver brooch that shows the head of Lady Liberty with two watch faces for eyes, one of which is upside down - allowing both her and her visitor to see when it is time for an appointment to end. As demonstrated in this clever work, Read My Pins explores Madame Albright’s ongoing impact on the field of jewelry design and collecting.

On July 21, 2015, Secretary Albright will discuss her activities during the Clinton Administration in a conversation with Library Director Michael Ellzey. The conversation will cover topics regarding Dr. Albright’s experiences as the first female Secretary of State in this nation’s history as well as the unique role her pins played in conveying important diplomatic messages. This event will also include a question and answer session to be followed by a reception for the former Secretary of State and a book signing.
Madeleine Albright is a Principal of The Albright Group LLC, a global strategy firm, and Chair and Principal of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. Dr. Albright was the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. In 1997, she was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as a member of the President’s Cabinet.
She is the first Michael and Virginia Mortara Endowed Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She chairs both the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and the Pew Global Attitudes Project and serves as president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. Dr. Albright co-chairs the UNDP’s Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, serves on the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Trustees for the Aspen Institute and the Board of Directors of the Center for a New American Security.
Dr. Albright earned a B.A. with Honors from Wellesley College, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government, as well as a Certificate from its Russian Institute.
Dr. Albright is author of three New York Times best-sellers. Her autobiography, Madam Secretary: A Memoir, was published in 2003. In 2006, Dr. Albright published The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs. Her latest book, Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership was published in 2008.

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection will be accompanied by a beautifully illustrated book Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box by HarperCollins publishers. The publication, authored by Secretary Albright, reveals the full story behind the collection, and illustrates its best examples.


Generous support for this exhibition was provided by Bren Simon and for the exhibition catalogue by St. John Knits.

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is one of thirteen Presidential Libraries operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Nixon Library is located at 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda, CA, and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the exceptions of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The Museum is fully handicapped accessible. For more information, call 714-983-9120 or go to



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