The Watergate Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

A substantial part of the collection consists of newspaper cuttings and newspapers, such as the Washington Post, painstakingly covering the events from the apprehension of the five burglars to the resignation of Richard Nixon. Also included in the collection are the Committee of the Judiciary publications and documents printed for the use of the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities.

While most of the material relates to the Watergate Scandal some covers other aspects of Nixon's presidency, such as the ending of the Vietnam conflict. As a result of the enormous body of evidence built up during the trials, the material focuses on a wide range of issues such as: presidential campaigns; the laws of impeachment; proceedings at the White House including Nixon's day-by-day itinerary and conversations with his aides at the Oval Office; details on Nixon's San Clemente estate; Gerald Ford's pardon and Nixon's reply. Primary persons covered by the collection include: Richard M. Nixon; Henry Kissinger; H.R. 'Bob' Haldeman; Charles Colson; John Ehrlichman; E. Howard Hunt; Gordon Liddy; and the Attorney General R.G. Kliendienst, as well as John Sirica, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The content can be summarised as follows:

  • Material relating to the Vietnam war and eventual truce
  • Newspaper cuttings and newspapers chronicling the events of the Watergate scandal from the robbery to Nixon's resignation, and aftermath
  • Profiles of the chief protagonists
  • Publications issued by the Committee of the Judiciary
  • Publications on the Presidential Campaign Activities of 1972 issued for the use of the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities
  • President Nixon's day-by-day itinerary throughout 1974BBC programmes on the Watergate Scandal
  • US elections 1972

Administrative / Biographical History

The Watergate Collection focuses mainly upon the malpractices and political scandals associated with the presidency of Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-94), thirty-seventh president of the United States of America (1969-74), which eventually led to his resignation.

In June 1972, five burglars were arrested at 2.30 a.m. during a break-in at the Watergate Hotel, where the offices of the Democratic National Committee were also to be found. Later that same year, in October, FBI agents established that the Watergate burglary was part of an on-going campaign of political spying and sabotage being organised by CREEP (Committee for the Re-Election of the President). This linked the incident immediately to President Nixon. Despite this, on November 11, Nixon was re-elected in the biggest landslide victory in American political history.

In March 1973, James W. McCord (security director for CREEP, convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping in the Watergate incident) made allegations of cover-up and obstruction of justice that pointed to the involvement of the President's closest advisers in the Watergate break-in.

In an effort to distance himself from the burgeoning scandal Nixon promised (April 1973) 'major new developments' in the investigation arising from the appearance of White House staff before the Senate Watergate Committee. The White House also issued a statement claiming that the President had no prior knowledge of the Watergate incident. Nixon announced the dismissal of several of his close advisers, namely Haldeman and Erlichman. The Attorney General Richard Kleindienst also resigned.

As the Senate Watergate Committee gathered more evidence it became increasingly obvious that Nixon had in fact been informed of the burglary. Nixon meanwhile refused to testify before the Committee and declared that he would not grant access to Presidential documents, claiming Executive Privilege. In July 1973 the Senate Committee demanded that Nixon should hand over a range of White House tapes and documents. But Nixon persisted in his stance of non-compliance. Meanwhile, other aspects of Nixon's life, such as improvements to his San Clemente estate in California, also came under review.

By early 1974 it was clear that Nixon was under threat of impeachment. He submitted transcripts of the White House tapes (which recorded his conversations with his aides) to the House Judiciary Committee. And on 24 July, the Supreme Court, in the case known as United States v. Nixon, by a unanimous vote of 8-0 upheld the Special Prosecutor's subpoena, ordering Nixon to make the tapes available for the Watergate trials of his former staff.

In late July 1974, the House Judiciary Committee adopted three Articles of Impeachment charging Nixon with obstruction of the investigation of the Watergate break-in, misuse of power and violation of his oath of office, and failure to comply with the House subpoenas. The following month Nixon released transcripts of conversations occurring between him and Haldeman only six days after the Watergate break-in. These tapes, subsequently known as The Smoking Gun, revealed that not only was Nixon well informed on the involvement of White House and CREEP officials in the break-in, but he also had ordered the FBI to abandon its investigation.

Around the country there were calls for Nixon's resignation. On August 8, Nixon addressed the US at 9.00 p.m. and announced that he would step down from office as President. The following day he departed from the White House. Gerald Ford was immediately sworn in as President. On September 8, Ford made a surprise announcement granting 'full, free and absolute' pardon to Nixon for 'all offences against the United States' committed between January 20, 1969 and August 9, 1974.

Arrangement

The material is not ordered into any numbered sequence nor is it arranged in any sequence or chronological order. Some files are stored in boxes, together with batches of newspapers and newspaper cuttings. Most files are loose.

  • Box containing files, entitled as follows: 
    • White House releases 1972, Nixon, Kissinger et al
    • Vietnam related material
    • Vietnam Truce
    • Cambodia, Laos
    • National Committee for a Citizens' Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam
    • Vietnam, statements and interviews - Kissinger, Nixon, Laird et al
    • Elections 1974
    • Massacre at Mylai, Vietnam
    • Indochina Refugees
    • Newspaper cuttings 1970-73
    • P.O.W.s
    • Paris Peace Talks (1972) 1973
  • Box containing files, entitled as follows:  
    • Attorney General Richard G. Kliendienst
    • Waterbuggers et al: files on Colson, Chapin, Ehrlichman, Haldeman
    • On ex-president Nixon and Ford's pardon to Nixon
    • The Milk Deal
    • Hughs Money Scandal
    • The EOB tape of June 20 1972 (Report on a Technical Investigation)
    • The Washington Post July 1974
    • Inquiry into the alleged involvement of the CIA in the Watergate and Ellsberg matters
    • US Court of Appeals 12 October 1973
    • Elections 1970
    • U.S.I.S. Feature on the 1972 Elections
    • The I.T.T. matter
    • Dirty Tricks, Espionage etc and improvements to Nixon's estate
  • Box containing files, entitled as follows:  
    • Watergate: miscellaneous US newspaper and magazine items (excluding the Washington Post) 3 February 1973 to 6 January 1975
    • Watergate: miscellaneous British newspaper and magazine items, 25 January 1973 to 12 September 1974
    • Washington Post (1 of 2) within 7 February to 30 May 1973
    • Watergate Seven Indictments
  • Loose files, entitled as follows:  
    • Pentaspy
    • Newspapers - Watergate May 1973
    • Newspapers - Watergate, Ervin Hearings
    • Impeachment - Analyses of, Grounds for etc
    • Impeachment - Judiciary Committee
    • Transcripts of recordings of meetings between the President and Haldeman, Colson, Ehrlichman et al
    • Newspapers (Washington Post 1973-74), and CIA and Watergate Mitchell/Stans Trial
    • October Fire-Storm and Aftermath
    • Vesco, newspaper cuttings
    • Cuttings (American newspapers) 1 Mar 1971 to 8 July 1973
    • Cuttings (American newspapers) 11 July 1973 to 17 August 1974 (Watergate)
    • John Deah
    • Legal briefs, letters etc concerning tapes
    • Special Prosecutor's Office
    • Nixon on Watergate
    • Newspaper cuttings Watergate January to end of April 1973
    • Newspaper cuttings Watergate 1972
    • Watergate - Time and Newsweek comment and analysis
    • Elections 1972
    • Money scandals
    • Watergate Indictments
    • Newspaper cuttings - verdicts
    • Ellsberg Burglary Trial
    • Newspaper cuttings - Watergate profiles
    • Egil Krogh
    • Hunt
    • Watergate Committee - Hughes Rebozo and related matters
  • Three files of Select Committee hearings (transcripts)
  • Videos: BBC TX Version VHS PAL - Watergate programmes: 
    • 17.12.1993 - Break-in
    • 20.12.1993 - Cover up
    • 17.02.1994 - Scapegoat
    • 01.02.1994 - Massacre
    • 01.02.1994 - Impeachment
  • Publications: 
    • Submission of Recorded Presidential Conversations, April 30, 1974
    • CQ Guide to Current American Government, Fall 1973
    • CQ Guide to Current American Government, Fall 1974
    • Watergate - Chronology of a Crisis - Volume 1 (2 copies) - Congressional Quarterly
    • Watergate - Chronology of a Crisis - Volume 2 - Congressional Quarterly
    • Examination of President Nixon's Tax Returns for 1969 through to 1972 (2 copies)
    • Presidential Campaign Activities of 1972 - Legal Documents relating to the Select Committee Hearings part 1 and 2
    • Draft of Final Report, part 1
    • Draft of Final Report, part 2
    • Draft of Final Report, part 3
    • Presidential Campaign Activities of 1972 - Phase I: Watergate Investigation - Books 1 to 9
    • Presidential Campaign Activities of 1972 - Phase II: Campaign Practices - Books 10 to 12
    • Presidential Campaign Activities of 1972 - Phase III: Campaign Financing - Book 13
    • Presidential Campaign Activities of 1972 - Milk Fund Investigation - Books 14 and 15
    • Department of Justice publications - Legal Aspects of Impeachment, an overview plus appendices
    • Transcripts of Eight Recorded Presidential Conversations
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book I
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information submitted on behalf of President Nixon: book I
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book II
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information submitted on behalf of President Nixon: book II
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book III, part 1
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book III, part 2
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information submitted on behalf of President Nixon: book III
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book IV, parts 1, 2, 3
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information submitted on behalf of President Nixon: book IV
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book V, Part 1 and 2
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book VI, Part 1, 2
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book VII, Part 1, 2, 3, 4
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book VIII
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book IX, Part 1, 2
    • Committee of the Judiciary, statement of information: book X Impeachment, selected materials
    • Impeachment of Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States
    • Dr Kissinger's Role in Wiretapping
    • Committee of the Judiciary, testimony of Witnesses: books 1, 2, 3
    • Weekly compilation of Presidential Documents - Volume 10, covering all 1974
    • G.W. Higgins, The Friends of Richard Nixon (Boston and Toronto, 1974)

Conditions Governing Access

By written application to either the Librarian or Deputy Librarian. A letter of introduction may be required and prospective users will be obliged to sign an undertaking outlining the terms and conditions of access to the research materials.

Acquisition Information

Professor Hugh Brogan, Department of History, University of Essex.

Note

This record was compiled by David Borg-Muscat, UK Data Archive, using entries from:

The Albert Sloman Library's Watergate Collection's checklist.

Albert Sloman Library (2000) A Note on Special Collections, (University of Essex: Albert Sloman Library), p. 5.

Record entered by Nadeem Ahmad of Qualidata, UK Data Archive, University of Essex.

Other Finding Aids

A record for all materials in the Special Collection is available via the Albert Sloman Library, Special Collections web page.

Conditions Governing Use

No part of the Special Collections material may be reproduced, published, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the Albert Sloman Library. This may be obtained by application to the Librarian or Deputy Librarian.

Appraisal Information

In consultation with academic colleagues, the library special collections acquisitions staff evaluate collections by assessing their relevance to the teaching and research interests of the University.

Custodial History

Patrick Brogan passed on his papers to his brother Professor Hugh Brogan, Department of History Department, University of Essex before these were deposited with Special Collections, Albert Sloman Library.

Accruals

Additional material continues to be added.

Additional Information

University of Essex: Albert Sloman Library.