“Hollywood movie plots cannot compare to their real love story.” That’s how historian Heath Hardage Lee described the relationship between Richard and Pat Nixon as the featured guest on The White House Historical Association’s History Happy Hour.
The virtual program titled “Pat and Dick Nixon: Love Letters from World War II” gave a personal and little-known view into the relationship of the Nixons as newlyweds separated by war. Personal documents including never-seen-before letters and the handwritten will penned by Richard Nixon before leaving for active duty in the Pacific give a first-hand glimpse into the relationship between the young couple who had just married in 1940.
By watching, you will not only get to see the President and First Lady from a new perspective as their letters reveal their endearing affection for each other but you will also learn that Richard Nixon’s views on women’s equality were forward-thinking from a young age.
Heath is currently working on a biography of First Lady Pat Nixon and she shared the importance of primary sources, like these letters, in seeing the true picture of what is going on, which can often be contrary to what you learn from secondary sources.