National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Presidential Recordings Project

refer to caption


President Richard Nixon.


University of Virginia

Additional information at

This project is part of a larger effort by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs to transcribe, annotate, and publish the presidential recordings made during the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. These six American Presidents created nearly 5,000 hours of secretly recorded conversations. These exchanges took place in the White House and in the Executive Office Building, at Camp David and at the LBJ Ranch, and during travel. From Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose infrequent recordings yielded only 8 hours of taped material, to Richard M. Nixon, whose voice-activated system captured 3,400 hours of discussion, the White House tapes constitute a unique and irreplaceable source for the study of U.S. history and American government.

Fully annotated transcripts are available through subscription from the Presidential Recordings Digital Edition (PRDE) . Published by Rotunda the digital imprint of the University of Virginia Press PRDE comprises a searchable XML database that permits precise discovery for dates, phrases, participants, and topics. PRDE also permits users to browse the conversations through a series of facets or constraints, and allows staff to update or correct transcripts should new information become available.

PRDE incorporates digitized and XML-encoded versions of all PRP transcripts previously published in letterpress editions with W. W. Norton. These include eight volumes of Johnson transcripts (2003–2011) and three volumes of Kennedy transcripts (2001). PRDE also includes born-digital transcript volumes on Nixon’s First Week of Taping, Nixon and Arms Control, and Nixon’s Telephone Tapes: 1971. In addition, it includes transcripts published in conjunction with Ken Hughes’s two books—Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate (Virginia, 2014), and Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, the Vietnam War, and the Casualties of Re-election (Virginia, 2015)—and Nicole Hemmer’s Atlantic article on Vice President Spiro Agnew. All transcripts published in conjunction with these interpretive works are available in PRDE free of charge. Other curated selections of PRDE transcripts are available free of charge on the Miller Center’s website.

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