Nixon Library leaderless after Nixon Foundation objects to NARA's candidateHistorians in the News
Sharp differences between the private Richard Nixon Foundation and the National Archives have led to long delays in choosing a leader for the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum.
The most recent serious candidate dropped out in the fall after deciding the position would not be a good match. To date, the library – under federal jurisdiction – has been without a director for more than 2 1/2 years.
In a twist, the acting director lives and works 3,000 miles away from the library.
Ron Walker, chairman of the Richard Nixon Foundation’s board of directors, said he reviewed the application from the National Archives’ preferred candidate, Mark Atwood Lawrence, an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, and was concerned about his perspective on Vietnam.
“It was just different,” Walker said. “I’m not going any further on that.”
The position has been vacant since the departure of Tim Naftali, the library’s first and only federal director. Naftali’s tenure was fiercely at odds with the foundation, led by the family and close supporters of the 37th president.
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