Timothy Naftali: Named Director of Nixon Presidential Library and MuseumHistorians in the News
In making the announcement, the Archivist said, "As the Nixon Library prepares to join the other 11 Presidential libraries that are part of the National Archives system, I am very pleased that Timothy Naftali has agreed to take on this important new position. Professor Naftali's experience, energy, and vision will invigorate this new national resource and help the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum quickly become a major center for research and learning. As the representative of a younger generation of scholars, he will be able to set a new tone for a national center to study the Nixon era. With the eventual transfer of 44 million pages of textual records and the more than 3,000 hours of Presidential tape recordings of the Nixon Administration which are currently housed at the National Archives College Park facility, the Nixon library will prove to be a treasure trove for historians and the general public who are interested in the life, legacy and era of President Nixon."
Since 1999, Professor Naftali has directed the Miller Center's Presidential Recordings Program, where he oversees the team of scholars and staff responsible for transcribing, annotating and interpreting hundreds of telephone conversations and meetings secretly recorded by Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon in the White House.
"I am honored to be entrusted with bringing together the vast historical records of the Nixon administration in Yorba Linda and ensuring that they are open and accessible for current and future generations," Naftali said. Among other projects, Naftali intends to undertake diverse public programming such as independent film making in the 1970's and conferences on such topics as Vietnam and Sino-American relations. He also will initiate a Nixon oral history project, a major updating of the library's museum, the creation of a significant multimedia website for the library, and a fellowship program, so that scholars from around the country can more easily visit the collections in Yorba Linda.
"With the Reagan library just down the road and several excellent colleges and universities nearby," Naftali observed, "the Nixon Presidential Library will strengthen Southern California's reputation as a major intellectual hub for the study of twentieth century American politics and society and of the Cold War."
"As a distinguished Cold War historian and an eloquent advocate of public history, Tim Naftali is an ideal choice as the first director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum," said John H. Taylor, executive director of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation, which opened the private Nixon Library in 1990. "We look forward to welcoming him and his colleagues to Yorba Linda, and we pledge to support his exciting ideas for programs and exhibits."
"We are pleased that the National Archives has looked to the Miller Center for leadership of this important national assignment," said Gerald Baliles, director of the Miller Center and former Governor of Virginia.
"Tim Naftali's strong academic credentials, expertise on Cold War issues and guidance of the Presidential Tape Recordings program at the Miller Center provide unquestioned indicators of his energetic leadership of the nation's newest presidential library. We congratulate Dr. Naftali and wish him well."
Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor, said "Tim Naftali is an excellent choice to head the Nixon Presidential library. In my association with Mr. Naftali, on the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group and the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, I found him to be an outstanding scholar and an energetic advocate for the people's right to know. I congratulate Allen Weinstein on his choice."
"Tim Naftali has been a great addition to the Miller Center," said former Governor of Virgina A. Linwood Holton, Jr. who was instrumental in the founding of the Miller Center. "While we are sad to lose him, we are proud that this brilliant scholar will lead the Nixon Presidential Library when it becomes a part of the National Archives," he added. For the past six years, Professor Naftali has served as an historical consultant to the Nazi War Crimes and Imperial Japanese Government Records Interagency Working Group, which has been responsible for the declassification of millions of pages of material on Nazi and Japanese war crimes and war criminals. From 2003 to 2004, he served as a contractor to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission).
Professor Naftali, who is 44, has also taught history at Yale University and the University of Hawaii.
He is the author of numerous articles and of the widely-read books, including "One Hell of a Gamble": Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy,
1958-1964 (with Aleksandr Fursenko) and Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism. Professor Naftali, who has just completed a new history of the Cold War in the Khrushchev years, is currently working on a short biography of George H. W. Bush and on an international study of why and how terrorist organizations stop.
Educated at Yale University and Johns Hopkins University, Professor Naftali received a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University in 1993.
Nixon Library Background:
In January 2004, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that provided for the establishment of a federally-operated Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California. The legislation amended the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974, which mandated that Nixon's Presidential Materials were to remain in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Under this new legislation, the materials may now be moved to a federally operated facility outside of the Washington, D.C., area.
The Nixon Library, which was built with private funds in 1990, is located at 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd. in Yorba Linda, CA. The library currently houses approximately 6.2 million pages of documents; 19,000 still photographs; 150 original reels of film; 900 audio recordings of RN speeches (1950-1968); 3,000 books; and assorted collections of original political cartoons, campaign posters, and political memorabilia.
The current core collection is Richard Nixon's private pre-Presidential papers, including campaign files, 1946-1968; Congressional and Senatorial files, 1947-1952; foreign correspondence files, 1947-1968; special correspondence files, trip, and appearance files for 1963-1968; and two major runs of research subject files: 1960 and 1968. As part of the agreement with the Nixon Foundation, the political materials relating to Nixon's Presidency and the post-Presidential materials will be added to the collection.
The National Archives will move more than 2.2 million feet of motion picture film, 350,000 photographs, 4,000 videotapes, more than 3,000 hours of tapes of which more than 2,017 hours are currently open to the public and 46 million pages of Presidential materials. Currently 7 million pages of records are available to the public including almost all of the White House Special Files, a large portion of the National Security Council Files, and some of the White House Central Files. The Nixon Presidential Materials Project also has 30,000 artifacts and Presidential gifts that will be moved to the Nixon Library.
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