Miller Center

About the Presidential Recordings Program

The Presidential Recordings Program was established by the Miller Center in 1998 to make the secret White House recordings accessible through transcripts and historical research. These recordings constitute an extremely rich historical resource, but one that cannot be unlocked without considerable time and experience in working with the tapes. Once unlocked, the tapes can, are, and will make significant contributions to our understanding of recent political history and how the U.S. government works. To that end, the PRP brings together historians, journalists, and a talented team of student interns to work with these materials to transcribe, annotate, interpret, and share them.

The PRP's work is funded in part by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Scholars & Staff

Marc Selverstone, Director of Presidential Studies and University of Virginia Associate Professor.

David Coleman, Chair of the Presidential Recordings Program and University of Virginia Associate Professor.

Pat Dunn, Editor.

Patrick Garrity, Research Associate.

Kent Germany, Non-Resident Research Fellow.

Ken Hughes, Academic Researcher.

Erin Mahan, Non-Resident Research Fellow.

Keri Matthews, Program Administrator.

Guian McKee, University of Virginia Associate Professor.

About This Site

This site was originally launched in February 2003 as a way to share our work and the tapes' sound files. The launch of the website marked the first time that the sound files themselves were available online, freely, en masse, for download, a service that the National Archives still does not provide. This audio collection comprises several thousand hours of sound files for all six presidential recordings collections: Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.

Just as importantly, this site provides a central portal for transcripts, research materials, and news related to the White House tapes. The site now includes thousands of pages of transcripts and related historical resources, along with classroom materials.

We're particularly grateful to the presidential libraries and the National Security Archive for their help in procuring various materials for this site.

For help using resources found on this site, visit the help page

Collaboration

The Presidential Recordings Program works with secondary and undergraduate educators to help them incorporate the secret White House tapes into their classroom activities. If you are interested in having a PRP scholar work with you and your colleagues, please contact Marc Selverstone at selverstone@virginia.edu.

Here are some examples of programs we have conducted or contributed to:

  • “The Presidency During Wartime,” Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 12/07/06. Presentation to Charlottesville area teachers as part of “The Virginia Experiment: Growing Seeds of Democracy in Four-Hundred Years of American History,” a project funded by a U.S. Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.
  • “History and Imagination,” Newport News, VA, 11/2/06.Presentations to Newport News teachers, coordinated by the National Council for History Education and funded by the Newport News Public Schools and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
  • “The Presidency During Wartime,” Roanoke Higher Education Center, Roanoke, VA, 10/3/06. Presentation to Roanoke area teachers as part of its “Perspectives, Identity, Legacy: Democracy in American History Education” project, funded by a U.S. Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.
  • “U.S. Involvement in World War II,” Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Abingdon, VA, 7/13-14/06. Two-day, one-credit seminar for teachers from Russell and Scott Counties as part of “The Foundations Project,” sponsored by UVa’s Center for the Liberal Arts and Virginia Center for Digital History, and funded by a U.S. Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.
  • “The Cold War,” Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 6/26/06–7/01/06. One-week, one credit seminar for teachers from Virginia Beach as part of its “Where History Occurs” project, sponsored by UVa’s Center for the Liberal Arts and Virginia Center for Digital History, and funded by a U.S. Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.
  • “Modern Leadership and Foreign Policy Since 1945,” High Point University, High Point, NC, 6/12-16/06. Presentations to Davidson County (NC) public school teachers as part of its “Foundations First” project, sponsored by a U.S. Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.
  • “The American Presidency,” Lafayette Parish School System, Lafayette, LA, 3/24-25/06. Presentations to public school teachers as part of its “Frontiers of American History” project, sponsored by a U.S. Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.
  • “A Crisis of Credibility: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Dilemmas of Vietnam,” Virginia Beach City Schools, Virginia Beach, VA, 12/13/05. Presentation to public school teachers as part of its “Where History Occurs” project, sponsored by a U.S. Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.
  • “Peeling Back the Curtain: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Secret History of Cold War Liberalism,” Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, 11/10/05. Public presentation to students and faculty in the Departments of History and Political Science.
  • “Presidents and Politics: The White House Tapes,” RESA, Kenansville, NC, 11/2/05. Workshop for U.S. history teachers on the secret tape recordings made by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.
  • “The White House Civil Rights Tapes,” American University, Washington, D.C., 10/17/05. Workshop for Prof. Jim Percoco’s “Methods and Materials in Secondary Education (Social Studies EDU-540(002)" on the secret tape recordings made by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.
  • “The U.S. in World Affairs, 1914-2005,” Davidson County Board of Education, Lexington, NC, 8/10-12/05. National Council for History Education colloquium for Davidson’s “Foundations First” project, funded by a Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.
  • “The Cold War and Civil Rights,” Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 6/26/05-7/02/05. Week-long seminar for secondary-school and undergraduate teachers, sponsored by UVa’s Center for the Liberal Arts.
  • “Eavesdropping on Escalation: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Vietnam Tapes,” Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 1/15/05. Colloquium for Virginia secondary-school teachers on the Vietnam-related secret recordings of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.
  • “Presidential Leadership in Times of Crisis,” City Hall Academy, New York, NY, 11/12-13/04. National Council for History Education colloquium, funded by a History Channel “Save Our Schools” Grant.
  • “Voices From the 20th Century,” Thorne Bay, Alaska, 10/22-25/03. National Council for History Education colloquium for the Southeast Island School District’s “Teaching American History Improvement Project,” funded by a Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.
  • “The Origins of the Cold War,” Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Abingdon, VA, 11/8/03. Lecture on origins of the Cold War for participants in Russell County’s “The Foundations Project,” sponsored by a Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.
  • “The Cold War Years,” Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Abingdon, VA, 5/16/03. Workshop on early Cold War history for participants in Russell County’s “The Foundations Project,” sponsored by a Department of Education “Teaching American History” Grant.