President Nixon


This portrait of General Robert E. Lee a week after surrendering to General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the American Civil War - April 16, 1865


These Armed troops blocking off a road near an explosion at an oil factory near Texas City, Texas on April 17, 1947


“Cab Stand” in Madison Square Park, New York circa 1900


Elvis Presley meets secretly with President Nixon in 1970


“An Oasis in the Badlands”, Red Hawk of the Oglala Sioux on horseback, circa 1905


Women painting World War II propaganda posters in Port Washington, New York, on July 8, 1942


See all of the 25 stunning colorized photos here. 


November 17th 1973: Nixon says “I am not a crook”

On this day in 1973, 40 years ago today, US President Richard M. Nixon told a group of Associated Press reporters during a televised question and answer session in Orlando, Florida that “I am not a crook”. This came in the context of the revelations about illegal activities by his administration in what came to be known as the Watergate scandal. It was named for the building complex which contained the Democratic National Committee headquarters which Nixon officials broke into to find out about their electoral strategies. By 1974, it became clear that Nixon had knowledge of the illegal activities, after the Supreme Court ordered he release tapes of his Oval Office coversations. He resigned in August in order to avoid almost certain impeachment.

“People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got”


May 31st 2005: Deep Throat revealed

On this day in 2005 Vanity Fair revealed the identity of the secret informant on the Watergate scandal, Deep Throat, as former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt. In the early 1970s, Felt provided Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with information regarding President Nixon’s involvement in the scandal, which led to the President’s resignation in 1974. The article was written by Felt’s lawyer and after its release his identity was confirmed by the Post’s reporters from the time. Felt’s family convinced him to reveal himself for the potential book deals and money it would raise them. Felt died on December 18th 2008.

“I’m the guy they used to call Deep Throat.”
- Mark Felt in Vanity Fair, 2005


January 9th 1913: Richard Nixon born

On this day in 1913, the future 37th President of the United States Richard Milhous Nixon was born. Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California and later represented his state in the House of Representatives and the Senate as a member of the Republican Party. He made a name for himself in Congress for his role in the anti-communist House Un-American Activities Committee, especially in the infamous Alger Hiss case, and this led to his becoming Vice-President from 1953 to 1961 under President Eisenhower. After a closely fought campaign, he lost the 1960 election to Democrat John F. Kennedy, but later won the presidency in 1968. As President, Nixon initially increased US involvement in the ongoing Vietnam war and extended the military operations into neighboring Cambodia, but he eventually ended American involvement in the war in 1973. Nixon also made history by visiting the communist nations of China and the Soviet Union, thus easing tensions between the Cold War camps. In domestic affairs Nixon is notable for his support of affirmative action policies for African-Americans and his establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. However, Nixon’s previous record in office has been overshadowed by the fact that in 1974 he became the first and only US President to resign from office. This occurred after revelations about the Watergate scandal, which refers to the illegal activities carried out his administration, including the wiretapping of political rivals, and a subsequent cover-up. He was formally pardoned by his successor Gerald Ford, and tried to rehabilitate his image until he died from a stroke in 1994 aged 81.

Carpet Bombings

After the Soviet invasion in 1979, Afgan rug makers strayed from the mostly geometric forms they had depicted for centuries, and began weaving figurative designs. These images were not traditional either—they were flags, helicopters, tanks, grenades, and other accoutrements of the soldiers they wanted as their customers. Initially the Western market ignored these creations, which did not fit with their concept of what “authentic” Afgan rugs should be.

But eventually dealers and scholars took notice, and now an exhibition featuring some spectacular examples of this hybrid genre has arrived at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. This rug, woven between 2001-2007, depicts President Najibullah, who led Afghanistan when the Soviet army withdrew in 1989, as a puppet managed by a hand with a hammer and sickle. The figures riding on camels across the bottom of the rug are refugees.

Curators stress they have not decoded much of the iconography on these carpets. The weavers, who came from ethnic regions with their own distinctive materials, iconography, and techniques, had shared styles in refugee camps and elsewhere, meaning that the old categories for sorting and interpreting their work are no longer useful. And these days, weavers are just as likely to be influenced by images from television or foreign magazines as they are by historical antecedents.

“People see these things and jump to the conclusion that it’s protest art,” says Penn Museum curator Brian Spooner. “I don’t think we have any evidence at all. I think it’s also that people try and please the international customer.”

The weavers the museum worked with offered the staff a carpet with an image of President Nixon as a gift, Spooner recounts. “That didn’t go down very well here,” he says. “So we compromised, and they wove us a small carpet with the museum logo on it.”

Photo © Textile Museum of Canada.