The Presidential Tapes at the Miller Center

One of the reasons I love teaching American history during the post-WWII period is it affords me the opportunity to utilize a wide range of online primary sources.   One of my favorite  sites is the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings.  Students can listen to the White House tapes of every president from Franklin Roosevelt onward and they provide a unique opportunity to listen in on "history-in-the-making."  One of my favorite recordings is a telephone conversation between Lyndon Johnson and the president of the Haggar Pants Company in August 1964 shortly after the incident in the Gulf of Tonkin.  Apparently, Johnson needed new slacks and as president of the United States he decided to order directly from a fellow president.  My students always get a kick out of this one.

Today we listened to a few Nixon tapes, one in which he discusses John Kerry’s 1972 congressional testimony with Kissinger and Haldeman [Haldeman was such a sleaze] and the other in which Nixon speculates that Mark Felt is leaking information to Bob Woodward during the Watergate investigations.  You can spend hours listening to these tapes. 


2 comments… add one
  • Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for this link. It is one of the many great resources for folks who teach the 20th century.


  • I must say I enjoyed these too. I’m afraid I’m addicted. Listening to LBJ speak to Sen. Eastland who considered the Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney disappearances a “publicity stunt” and then turning around and having to tell Mrs. Schwerner and Mr. Goodman they found the car gives me chills.

    I’ve only heard the story hundreds of times but putting voices to it just makes it so much more real.


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