Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States (1969-1974), and his wife Pat Nixon are buried in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

The library, which is located in Yorba Linda, California, on grounds originally held by President Nixon’s family, is one of 13 managed by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The 9-acre (3.6-hectare) complex in Yorba Linda is located at 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard and includes the Richard Nixon Birthplace, a National Historic Landmark where Nixon was born in 1913 and spent his boyhood.

The private Richard Nixon Foundation maintained the library and museum as the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace from its dedication on July 19, 1990, to July 11, 2007. The structure was renovated extensively in 2016 and now has new, multimedia museum exhibits; it is jointly maintained by NARA and the Richard Nixon Foundation.

Historically, all presidential papers were considered the president’s personal property. Some stole them when their periods expired, while others destroyed them. When he presented them to the National Archives in 1939 as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first to make them available to the public. However, the Watergate incident and Richard Nixon’s subsequent resignation exacerbated matters.

In September 1974, Richard Nixon reached an arrangement with the head of the General Services Administration, Arthur F. Sampson, to turn up most of his presidential documents, including tape recordings of White House talks. The recordings, however, were to be destroyed after September 1, 1979, if commanded by Nixon, or by September 1, 1984, if not instructed by Nixon. Concerned that Nixon’s recordings would be lost, Congress repealed the Nixon-Sampson Agreement by passing the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, which President Gerald Ford signed into law in December 1974. It applied exclusively to Nixon-era materials, requiring NARA to assume possession of the papers and handle them as soon as practicable. Nixon was to receive private materials.

President Nixon’s White House papers and tapes were kept by the National Archives as a result of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, and hence could not be transferred to a facility at Yorba Linda. The Nixon Library was built entirely with private funds. The facility was anticipated to cost $25 million to build. Julie Nixon Eisenhower, the youngest daughter of President and Mrs. Nixon, broke ground in December 1988.

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Next Point of Interest: The Richard Nixon Birthplace