Secret White House Tapes / Help and background on the tapes

Help and background on the tapes

For visitors who are new to the tapes, we recommend exploring our selection of featured recordings, a subset of the tapes that are especially important or entertaining from a historical perspective.

Visitors with a clear topic of interest or research question should proceed to our complete archive of tapes.

A guide to each president's recordings

Our collection of presidential recordings spans six administrations - from Roosevelt to Nixon. Each of these presidents had a distinct strategy for selecting when and where his conversations would be recorded. Understanding how each president conceived of his tapes is crucial for through investigation of the presidential recordings. Additionally, the editorial policies that guided the post-hoc collection and documentation of the recordings varies from administration to administration.

The links below point to documentation on each administration's use of presidential recordings, as well as the editorial practices that underpin the collections themselves.

nixion at a rally

Learn more about the Nixon recordings and how to search them

johnson on the phone

Learn more about the Johnson recordings and how to search them

John F. Kennedy

Learn more about the Kennedy recordings and how to search them

Eisenhower

Learn more about the Eisenhower recordings and how to search them

Truman

Learn more about the Truman recordings and how to search them

Franklin Roosevelt

Learn more about the Roosevelt recordings and how to search them