June 17, 2011 — The Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs has been awarded $130,000 by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The grant will allow researchers to conclude their study of the secret presidential recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson and begin work on those of the Richard M. Nixon administration.
The NHPRC is affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration and supports efforts to preserve and publish documentary sources relating to the history of the United States.
Listen to the UVA Today Radio Show report on this story by Carl Briggs:
The funds will make a vital contribution to the Presidential Recordings Program's new digital editions. The editions are produced in partnership with the University of Virginia Press' digital imprint, "Rotunda," the home to the Founding Fathers Papers, the Dolley Madison Papers and Emily Dickinson's Correspondences. (Rotunda projects are freely accessible from the virginia.edu domain, but there is a charge for non-U.Va. access.)
The digital edition provides an unprecedented inside look at how Johnson dealt with the Vietnam War, the War on Poverty and civil rights. This grant will allow the Presidential Recordings Program to carry the edition through to the end of the Johnson administration and into the future Nixon digital editions. Miller Center scholars, staff and student interns are currently working on the new annotated transcripts for those editions, which are scheduled to be complete by July 2012.
"We are honored and grateful to continue our long-standing collaboration with the NHPRC, especially as we continue our transition to the wonderful opportunities afforded by digital publication with U.Va. Press," said David Coleman, who chairs the Presidential Recordings Project.
In April, W.W. Norton published volumes seven and eight of the Presidential Recordings Program's print series, "The Presidential Recordings: Lyndon B. Johnson." The volumes include more than 1,000 pages of annotated transcripts of conversations Johnson had between June 1 and July 4, 1964. Events during this period include the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the disappearance of three civil-rights workers in a case that became known as "Mississippi Burning."
The Miller Center's Presidential Recordings Program is a unique effort to make the secret White House recordings created by six presidents from 1940 through 1973 accessible through historical research and expertly annotated transcripts.