Timothy Naftali: Nixon Library Appointment Applauded

Historians in the News

On 10 April 2006, Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein announced the appointment of presidential historian Timothy Naftali to serve as the first director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. Naftali, who is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center for Public Affairs, will assume his duties on 16 October 2006.

Educated at Yale University and Johns Hopkins University, Professor Naftali received a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University in 1993. Since 1999, he 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.

According to Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor, "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."

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."

Currently, there are some 44 million pages of textual records that will be placed under Naftali's stewardship. More than 3,000 hours of presidential tape recordings of the Nixon Administration currently housed at the National Archives College Park facility also will be transferred eventually to the Yorba Linda facility.

In accepting the position, Naftali stated, "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." Among his initial projects, Naftali will focus on is a conferences on Vietnam and Sino-American relations, will initiate a Nixon oral history project and create a significant multimedia website.

comments powered by Disqus