Searching the Presidential Recordings
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Please click Johnson Recordings Search Page to search the Johnson conversations.
The database allows for both subject and personal name searches. For example:
- A search on McNamara would return all conversations between Johnson and Robert McNamara.
- A search on Vietnam would return all conversations about Vietnam.
- A search on McNamara and Vietnam would return all conversations between Johnson and Robert McNamara about Vietnam.
Results will be returned in a list of hyperlinks and will look like:
- 1359 ROBERT MCNAMARA 1/14/64 11:35A WH6401.13 PNO 18
Clicking on the link will open a .pdf document that will describe the conversation (i.e. length, speakers, subject). The database does NOT provide access to the actual audio recording. To listen to the recording, make note of the citation number (1359 in the example above) and the tape number (6401.13 in the example above) and return to our site to download the recording--please note that recordings from 1963 will not have citation numbers.
The Scripps Library presents the Nixon recordings by location of the original recording. The locations are broken into 5 groups:
- White House Telephone Recordings (White House Tape #s 1 - 46)
- Cabinet Room Recordings (White House Tape #s 47 - 129)
- Camp David Recordings (White House Tape #s 130 - 244)
- Executive Office Building Recordings (White House Tape #s 245 - 449)
- Oval Office Recordings (White House Tape #s 450 - 949)
Within each group, the recordings are generally organized chronologically by the original White House Tape number assigned by the U.S. Secret Service, which maintained President Nixon's taping system. The nature of Nixon's recording system complicates research on the recordings. Recordings from the same day will often occur in more than one of the above groups. Thus, a researcher looking for material from a particular date may find it necessary to listen to recordings from multiple groups (e.g. the first day Nixon recorded--April 16, 1971--is captured on Tape # 47, a Cabinet Room recording, and Tape # 450, an Oval Office recording). Please visit the following link for an overview of the organization of the Nixon tapes.
In order to facilitate access, archivists divided the tapes into numbered conversations; generally, there are a numerous conversations per tape. A conversation number is made up of the tape number followed by a number indicating a specific conversation on that tape (e.g. conversation number 50-3 would be the third conversation on tape 50.) To access conversation number 50-3, a researcher would download tape 50 and move through the recording until he or she reached the third conversation on the tape. Below are two .pdf documents listing all of the available Nixon recordings by conversation number and by date.
Complicating this process is the length of the original White House tapes. Typically these tapes are 6 hours in length. The Scripps Library is presenting these recordings in 2 hour increments. Thus Tape 50 in the above example will be presented on our website in three parts. Depending on the length of the conversations on tape 50, conversation 50-3 could be on Part a, Part b, or Part c. A researcher can use the corresponding tape subject log (outline of the conversation) to assist in locating the desired conversation(s).
Researchers, in addition, may find the following documents useful in their research. The three indexes point researchers to specific White House tapes (e.g. looking up Dean Acheson in the Name Index indicates that Acheson is either involved in or is mentioned in White House Tape #s 3, 6, 11, etc...). Similar searches can be done by geographical location or by acronym. Once you have identified which White House tapes may be of interest, you can refine your search by checking the tape log for that particular tape. Tape logs include general outlines of each conversation containing references to the people, places, and subjects being discussed in a specific conversation. On this site, tape logs are organized with the corresponding audio files.
A number of abbreviations for personal names occur in the Conversation Lists above. The Abbreviation document below deciphers many of these abbreviations (e.g. the document indicates that GRF stands for Gerald Ford).