Both of President and Mrs. Nixon’s daughters were in Yorba Linda to celebrate what would have been their mother’s 100th birthday and to unveil People Were Her Project, an interactive, highly visual, and powerful exhibit about one of the most admired First Ladies in American history.
Joining Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower at the grand opening ceremonies were actor, commentator, and former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein, the Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, Julie’s husband David Eisenhower, Tricia’s son Christopher Nixon Cox, plus thousands of friends and supporters of the Nixon Foundation.
On display through September, People Were Her Project is a storybook presentation about Mrs. Nixon’s life: from her humble beginnings in the small mining town of Ely, Nevada to her years in the White House, where she was known for championing volunteerism and representing her country as the President’s Ambassador of Goodwill.
“She was beautiful. She was smart. But above all, she worked,” said Stein in his remarks at the First Lady’s East Room birthday celebration. “Most people don’t know this, but when she met Mr. Nixon at an amateur production of a play, he fell so in love with her that he would drive her on dates to meet other men just to spend more time with her. That was because Richard Nixon worked, too.”
she made it available to the public more than ever before: hosting tours in the evenings, making it accessible to the disabled by providing wheelchair ramps, and foreign speakers by translating guide pamphlets.
Another feat – only to be surpassed by former First Lady and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – is being the most traveled First Lady in American history, joining her husband, and sometimes journeying alone, in over 83 countries throughout her lifetime, connecting with people everywhere she went.
“My mother belonged to Tricia and me … but we always understood too that she belonged to the American people, because she decided to be a full partner to my dad,” Julie Nixon Eisenhower said during the ribbon cutting ceremony, “whether it was campaigning in the back of a station wagon… whether it was being in Beijing or Moscow or South America or Africa or whether she was just in a crowd of people with everyone crushing to see her and touch her.”
Tricia Nixon Cox concluded her remarks saying that her parents’ achievements made a positive difference in the world.
“My mother’s favorite expression was ‘onward and upward’ which to her meant do something good today so that tomorrow will be even better.” Tricia said.
“She inspired everyone who knew her, especially the love of her life, my father.”
Jonathan Movroydis is the Director of Communications at the Richard Nixon Foundation.