The Presidency: Taking Notes for History

The Presidency/Hugh Sidey

For a year and a half, Oregon's Senator Mark Hatfield, history buff and former professor, urged Ronald Reagan to sit down with presidential biographers to talk about preserving the record of his White House years. Last week on Valentine's night the minisummit was held around the Hatfield dining-room table in Georgetown. Four noted biographers, the Librarian of Congress and their wives spooned homemade strawberry ice cream and counseled Reagan to cling to every scrap of evidence for history's sake.

Curse the telephone, chimed the writers, with one reservation. Theodore Roosevelt wrote 150,000 letters,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!