Special Oral History Projects
The Miller Center has conducted a number of special oral history projects and symposium. These projects are described below. Please follow the links to interview transcripts and/or video and audio recordings of the sessions.
The Presidential Oral History Program conducted the "Falklands Roundtable" in conjunction with the Institute of Contemporary British History (ICBH) on May 15 and 16, 2003, in Washington, D.C.
On three occasions in the summer of 2003 interviewers spent a full day with Washington attorney Lloyd Cutler to record an oral history of Cutler's life and times. The subjects discussed in these interviews included Cutler's reminiscences of his days growing up in New York City; his service in World War II; his work in the wartime and postwar intelligence community; the development and growth of his law practice; his service on a wide variety of governmental and private commissions; and his associations with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. These interviews complement the two earlier oral history interviews with Cutler in connection with his service as White House counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton.
Russell Riley directed the project. Joining him on the interview teams were Timothy Naftali, Stephen Knott, and Darby Morrisroe of the Miller Center, and Daniel Ernst of the Georgetown University Law School.
On September 12–13, 2003, the Miller Center's Presidential Oral History Program sponsored a roundtable symposium on White House congressional relations. The featured guests at this group oral history were seven former White House congressional liaisons, representing every president from Richard Nixon through Bill Clinton.
This first-of-its-kind symposium was intended to supplement the Center's continuing work on individual presidents by providing a forum for considering White House congressional relations comparatively, over a significant span of modern American political history. The results were approximately eight hours of candid insider accounts of how presidents attempt to extend their influence on Capitol Hill.
The seven former assistants to the president for legislative affairs in attendance were: Max Friedersdorf (Nixon, Ford, Reagan); Frank Moore (Carter); William Ball III (Reagan); Frederick McClure (Reagan, Bush 41); John Hilley (Clinton); Lawrence Stein (Clinton); and Charles Brain (Clinton).
The lead interviewers for the symposium were Richard Neustadt (Harvard University, emeritus); Russell Riley (Miller Center, Virginia); James Thurber (American University); and James Young (Miller Center, Virginia).
On June 20-21 2008 the Miller Center convened a symposium of former speechwriters from the administrations of: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush (41), and Clinton.
On June 12-13, 2009, the Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs hosted a White House Domestic Policymaking Symposium, bringing key figures in the White House domestic policy operation from every administration since Richard Nixon to examine how domestic policy is developed and sold from the White House, as well as the lessons from domestic policy successes and failures.
Ronald Reagan listed the 1981 and 1986 tax laws as the two biggest economic policy achievements of his presidency, yet both were achieved by bipartisan majorities at a time of deep partisan division. This symposium, conducted under the auspices of the Jack Kemp Oral History Project, illuminated the recollections and reflections of those who were key to these landmark legislative initiatives. The inside story behind the enactment of these laws provide valuable lessons for today.
Morton Kondracke, director of the Jack Kemp Oral History Project, led the discussions. Russell L. Riley, co-chair of the Presidential Oral History Program, served as host. The symposium took place on April 18, 2011.