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Nixon love letters show a softer side of the former president

March 12, 2012 |  4:27 pm

Richard and Pat Nixon in 1952

Love letters exchanged by Richard Nixon and his wife, Patricia, during their two-year courtship were unveiled this week at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda.

Two letters went on display Sunday and four others will eventually rotate with them as part of an exhibit celebrating Patricia Nixon’s 100th birthday, said Jonathan Movroydis, spokesman for the Richard Nixon Foundation, which is co-sponsoring the exhibit.

The letters are encased in glass along with Patricia Nixon’s engagement ring and a copy of a playbill from the production of “The Dark Tower,” where they met.

Nixon's letters to his future bride are lengthy, eager and passionate. In one, he writes, referring to himself in the third person:

“And when the wind blows and the rains fall and the sun shines through the clouds (as it is now) he still resolves, as he did then, that nothing so fine ever happened to him or anyone else as falling in love with Thee – my dearest heart.”

The letters are dated from 1938 to 1940, when the couple married. Patricia Nixon died in 1993 in New Jersey, one year before her husband. The centennial exhibit titled "People Were Her Project," is  on display and is expected to run through October, Movroydis said.

Taken together, the couple's correspondence paints a portrait of a passionate courtship between two people who “both wanted to travel and make a mark,” said exhibit curator Bob Bostock.

Though it seems Nixon at the time never imagined that amorous declarations would one day be displayed for the world to see:

“No one shall see my writing on this stationery but you,” he wrote, “because you see I have so much to write to you and so many times I have to send you notes!”


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Photo: Richard and Pat Nixon in 1952. Credit: Los Angeles Times