Heirloom dishes in white

Preparing House eaves for painting

The Presidential historical materials of the White House Gift Unit are in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration under the provisions of Title I of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 (44 U.S.C. 2111 note) and implementing regulations. In accordance with the act and regulations, archivists reviewed the file group to identify personal and private materials (including materials outside the date span covered by the act) as well as nonhistorical items. These materials have been returned to former President Nixon.

Materials covered by the Act have been archivally processed and are described in this register. Items which are security classified or otherwise restricted under the act and regulations have been removed and placed in a closed file. A Document Withdrawal Record (GSA Form 7279 or NA Form 14021) with a description of each restricted document has been inserted at the beginning of each folder from which materials have been removed. A Document Control Record marks the original position of the withdrawn item. Employees of the National Archives will review periodically the unclassified portions of closed materials for the purpose of opening those which no longer require restriction. Certain classified documents may be declassified under authority of Executive Order 13526 in response to a Mandatory Review Request (NA Form 14020) submitted by the researcher.

  • Linear feet of materials: 30
  • Approximate number of pages: 60, 000

Organization Note

The White House Gift Unit (WHGU) was established during the Eisenhower administration to deal with the increasing number of items presented to the Chief Executive and his family by foreign officials and U.S. citizens. Under the direction of Lucy Ferguson (1969-1972) and Marge Wicklein (1973-1974), the White House Gift Unit during the Nixon years grew in size and responsibility.

The unit's primary task continued to be the documenting of gifts or gift-like items presented to the First Family. These items were received by the WHGU in one of several ways: directly from the White House Mail Room as they arrived and were unpacked; from the Congressional Liaison Office and members of the White House staff who accepted them on behalf of the President; from the Office of Protocol in the Department of State; and from the First Family.

When the items were in the unit's physical custody, its first job was to fill out a special printed 3" x 5" card that was designed to give the WHGU some measure of control over the gift collection. During the Nixon administration, the WHGU used four color-coded cards to indicate either the type of gift or the recipient. Four basic colors signified the following: white (the President), yellow (First Lady and daughters), pink (foreign gifts, including head of state and individuals), and green (WHGU office copy of all domestic gifts). After a gift was properly logged in, WHGU personnel...

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