Blogs > HNN > Lynn Nofziger reviewed Gerald W. Gawalt & Ann G.Gawalt's "First Daughters: Letters Between U.S. Presidents & Their Daughters" (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2004)

Dec 27, 2004 3:45 am


Lynn Nofziger reviewed Gerald W. Gawalt & Ann G.Gawalt's "First Daughters: Letters Between U.S. Presidents & Their Daughters" (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2004)




The Gewalts (he is curator of presidential papers in the Library of Congress) have compiled a collection of letters exchanged between presidents and their daughters. Reviewer Lynn Nofziger, once an advisor to President Ronald Reagan, finds “much that is interesting and delightful.”

Ordinarily, many politicians who reach the White House have already developed well-deserved nasty reputations. Still, “you’d never know it from reading their letters to their daughters,” writes Nofziger. Two modern presidents, Nixon and Lyndon Johnson, both the object of tough, often well-earned criticism, sent warm and loving letters to their daughters, which “belies their political reputations.” Theodore Roosevelt illustrated his letters with artwork. George Washington advised his 17 year old granddaughter, that, “a sensible woman can never be happy with a fool.” John Adams cautioned his daughter that, “The morals of our country are a sacred deposit and let every youth or either sex, beware that no part of the guilt of betraying it belongs to him.” And Rutherford B. Hayes worried about his daughter, telling her “You must curb your rebellious spirit” and afterwards in the same letter, pleading, “make us all happy by your Considerate and discreet conduct.”

Nofziger notes that neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush has any letters in the book. Perhaps next time, he concludes, “if by then letters haven’t been totally superceded by phone calls and e-mail.”

Washington Times, December 5, 2004


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