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Richard Nixon Timeline

Thirty-Seventh President of the United States

Early Years

January 9, 1913

Richard Milhous Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California to Frank and Hannah Milhous Nixon, he was the second born of five brothers.

1922

Frank Nixon sold the family home and lemon grove in Yorba Linda, and moved the family to nearby Whittier, California.

1930

Richard Nixon finished 3rd in his high school class and won numerous awards, including the Harvard Club California award for outstanding all-around student, which earned him a scholarship to Harvard University. Due to the family’s limited finances, Nixon had to forgo the scholarship and instead attended Whittier College. 

1934

At Whittier College, Richard Nixon was elected student body president, founder and president of the Orthogonian Society, joined the debate team, acted in several plays, and was on the football team.

Family / Military Service

1937

At Whittier College, Richard Nixon was elected student body president, founder and president of the Orthogonian Society, joined the debate team, acted in several plays, and was on the football team.

1938

Met his future wife, Pat Ryan, at a Whittier Community Players tryout for the play, “The Dark Tower.”

June 21, 1940

Married Pat Ryan at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California.

June 21, 1940

Married Pat Ryan at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California.

1942

Began work as an attorney at the Office for Price Administration (OPA) in Washington D.C. where he witnessed first-hand the problems of government bureaucracy. The experience greatly influenced the policies Nixon would later develop during his political career.

August, 1942

Richard Nixon was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

January – July 1944

Richard Nixon received a battle-station assignment for the South Pacific, first at Bougainville and then at Green Island. While in Bougainville, he opened a “Nick’s Hamburger Stand” for flight crews on their way to battle missions. He also developed a skill for poker, which quickly became a great diversion while on active duty. 

September 1945

Richard Nixon was urged by Republican leaders in Whittier to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

January 1946

Richard Nixon was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy with the rank of lieutenant commander.

February 21, 1946

Richard and Pat Nixon welcomed their first daughter, Tricia.

Political Career

November 1946

Richard Nixon defeated five-term veteran Democratic Congressman Jerry Voorhis and was elected to represent California’s 12th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

November 1946

Richard Nixon was appointed by the Speaker of the House to a special committee, led by Representative Christian Herter of Massachusetts. Nixon was tasked with traveling throughout Europe and preparing a report on the Marshall Plan.

1948

Richard Nixon worked as lead committee member in the investigation of accused Soviet spy Alger Hiss, which ultimately uncovered Hiss’ role in the Communist Party and conviction on charge of perjury.

1950

Richard Nixon was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating Democratic Congresswoman and one-time Hollywood starlet Helen Gahagan Douglas.

July 11, 1952

The Republican National Convention ratified by acclamation Dwight Eisenhower’s choice of Richard Nixon as his Vice Presidential running mate.

September 23, 1952

Richard Nixon gave his famous televised Checkers’ Speech, refuting false charges of fiscal impropriety, retaining his position as Vice Presidential candidate to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and gaining nationwide support.

November 4, 1952

General Eisenhower was elected President of the United States. Richard Nixon was elected as his Vice President.

Spring 1953

At the request of President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon—along with Pat Nixon—made a two-month goodwill trip to over 30 countries throughout Asia and the Middle East.

September 1955

President Eisenhower suffered from a heart attack. In his absence, Vice President Nixon presided over regular Cabinet and National Security Council meetings.

Spring 1958

Vice President and Mrs. Nixon made a goodwill trip to South America, visiting Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. In Caracas, Venezuela, the Vice President and Second Lady narrowly escaped death after a violent communist mob attacks this motorcade.

July 24, 1959

Vice President Nixon went head-to-head with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on the merits of freedom versus communism at the American Exhibition in Moscow in what became famously known as the “Kitchen Debate.”

1960

Vice President Nixon runs for President of the United States. His opponent was Senator John F. Kennedy. The two candidates participated in the first televised debates in American history. Kennedy defeated Nixon by the smallest popular-vote margin in American history.

1962

Richard Nixon wrote his first book, “Six Crises.” He ran for governor of California against the incumbent Governor Pat Brown and lost.

1963-1967

During his years as a private citizen, former Vice President Nixon traveled across the globe and met world leaders, and campaigned tirelessly across the country for Republican candidates in the 1964 and 1966 elections.

August 8, 1968

Richard Nixon was nominated as the Republican candidate for President and pledged to bring the nation together.

November 5, 1968

Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States, beating Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Alabama Governor George Wallace in the general election.

Presidency

January 20, 1969

Richard Nixon was inaugurated as the Thirty-Seventh President of the United States, declaring in his inaugural address,”The greatest honor that history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.”

February 1969

Richard Nixon made his first foreign trip as President to Europe, where he visited France, Great Britain, Belgium, and the Vatican.

July 20, 1969

President Nixon made the longest long-distance phone call in history, as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took mankind’s first steps on the moon.

July 25, 1969

President Nixon announced his new foreign policy doctrine in Guam that called for the United States to act within its national interest and keep all existing treaty commitments with its allies.

August 8, 1969

President Nixon gave his first major address on domestic policy announcing plans for welfare reform and returning greater authority to state and local governments.

November 3, 1969

President Nixon received overwhelming support from the “silent majority” following a televised address announcing his plan to honorably end the Vietnam War.

January 1, 1970

President Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act, and launched several environmental initiatives including the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, the Mammal Marine Protection Act, and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

April 30, 1970

In a nationally televised address, President Nixon announced military incursion into Cambodia, where communist sanctuaries were aiding the North Vietnamese and Vietcong.

Fall 1970

President Nixon peacefully and effectively ended school segregation, leading Daniel Patrick Moynihan to say: “There has been more change in the structure of American public school education in the past month than in the past 100 years.”

June 12, 1970

President and Mrs. Nixon’s daughter Tricia married Edward Finch Cox in the Rose Garden at the White House.

July 15, 1971

President Nixon announced on national television that he had been invited to the People’s Republic of China, ending a quarter of a century of hostility between the U.S. and China.

October 12, 1971

A joint announcement was issued in Washington and Moscow confirming that President Nixon would visit the Soviet Union three months after returning from China.

February 21-28, 1972

President Nixon made a historic trip to China, meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai, and agreeing on a roadmap to peaceful relations through the Shanghai Communique. President Nixon called it ”the week that changed the world.”

May 21-27, 1972

President Nixon journeyed to the Soviet Union and signed the historic agreement on the limitation of strategic arms with Premier Leonid Brezhnev. He became the first President to visit the Soviet Union.

November 7, 1972

President Nixon was re-elected with largest mandate in American history, winning 49 out 50 states, and nearly 61 percent of the popular vote.

January 27, 1973

The United States, South Vietnam, Viet Cong, and North Vietnam formally sign “An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” in Paris.

February 1973

American POWs captured during the Vietnam War begin to return home.

May 24, 1973

The President and Mrs. Nixon host the largest dinner ever held at the White House for all the POWs who returned from Vietnam.

June 22, 1973

Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev visited the United States for the Summitt II talks. A Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement is signed.

October 1973

President Nixon provided massive American military aid to Israel during the Yom Kippur War, ensuring the survival of Israel.

Early 1974

President Nixon initiated the Middle East Peace process through “Shuttle Diplomacy”.

June 1974

President Nixon re-engaged the Middle East as the first president to visit Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

August 8, 1974

President Nixon announced his decision to resign as President of the United States due to the Watergate scandal.

August 9, 1974

President Nixon bid farewell to White House staff and returned to his home in San Clemente.

Post Presidency

1975-1994

Richard Nixon worked tirelessly as America’s Elder Statesman, advising his successors Ronald Regan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.

Summer 1977

With over 45 million people watching, the Nixon-Frost interview became the most-ever watched political interviews in history.

1978

Richard Nixon released his memoirs RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, which sold more than 300,000 copies, becoming the best selling presidential memoir ever.

1980

Richard Nixon finished his third book The Real War, which greatly influenced President Reagan’s foreign policy.

October 1981

Richard and Pat Nixon moved to Saddle River, New Jersey.

1982

Richard Nixon finished his fourth book, Leaders.

1984

Richard Nixon finished his fifth book, Real Peace.

1987

Richard Nixon finishes his sixth book, No More Vietnams.

1988

Richard Nixon finished his seventh book, 1999: Victory Without War.

July 19, 1990

President Nixon attended the dedication of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace with four Presidents and their First Ladies, and 50,000 friends and supporters.

1990

Richard Nixon finishes his eighth book, In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat, and Renewal.

Summer 1990

Richard and Pat Nixon Nixon moved to Park Ridge, New Jersey.

1992

Richard Nixon finished his ninth book, Seize the Moment: America’s Challenge In A One-Superpower World.

June 22, 1993

First Lady Pat Nixon died at home in Park Ridge, New Jersey, at the age of 81. She was laid to rest four days later at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.

January 1994

On the 25th Anniversary of his first inauguration, President Nixon opened the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom, a Washington foreign policy think tank based on pragmatic and principled realism.

1994

Richard Nixon finishes his tenth and final book, Beyond Peace, which was published posthumously.

April 22, 1994

President Nixon died at 81 in New York City.

April 27, 1994

President Nixon was laid to rest at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California, next to First Lady Pat Nixon and just yards away from his birthplace and boyhood home. Presidents Bush, Reagan, Carter, and Ford attended the funeral, as did then-Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole. Rev. Billy Graham officiated the ceremonies which tens of millions observed on television. In his eulogy, Senator Dole said that the second half of the 20th century would be known as “The Age of Nixon.”