At a Glance


Teaching Watergate? Introduce students to the Nixon tapes with more than 2,000 hours of recordings.

Luke A. Nichter

Photo, Nixon standing with Lyndon Johnson, 1971, NARA

In February 1971 to July 1973, President Richard Nixon secretly began recording phone conversations and meetings, compiling thousands of hours of tape. Created in 2007 by a Texas A&M University history professor, this website intends to provide "the most complete digitized Nixon tape collection in existence."

At present, only a fraction of the recordings are available. Visitors may listen to MP3 versions of over 500 conversations organized by primary conversation participant; 29 conversations organized by topic themes; and more than 2,000 hours of conversations organized by the date of their release to the general public.

Though the site promises that all recordings will eventually be accompanied by full transcripts, accompanying material is spotty. Some recordings are accompanied by corresponding entries from the presidential daily diary, some by general outlines of the recording's topics, and a handful by full transcripts. The recordings vary in quality, from fully audible to inaudibly faint or noise-obscured.

The website is not searchable (the search engine on the home page searches the web at large). As it stands, it may be useful to educators as a casual introduction to the recordings for students, but locating specific content (to accompany lesson plans or complement events being taught in class) would require significant time.