Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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The Legacy of Watergate

During their March 2007 visit to the Ransom Center, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein discussed their archive of reporting on Watergate.

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ALICIA DIETRICH: Can you talk about why your Watergate papers are at the Ransom Center here at UT?

CARL BERNSTEIN: I had thought early on that somehow our papers, individually or together, ought to go somewhere. It was unclear to me how we could do it together, because Bob, at the time, had some notion what he wanted to do with his, and then a gentleman named Glenn Horowitz told me about this amazing place, and I said, "This is quite remarkable. This sounds like it's the perfect place." And at the same time, Glenn came down and saw Bob, and for the first time Glenn said, "Look, do it together."

BOB WOODWARD: Because Carl had a separate filing system, I had a separate filing system, and that they needed to be merged.

CARL BERNSTEIN: We were both, first of all, knocked out by this incredible collection and the attention that it's received and the care of records and materials. But then, in Larry Faulkner and Tom Staley, we found two people who understood what our values were in terms of protecting our sources and our methodology and helped us come up with a way to continue that methodology into the archivistic process. And that obtains today as papers are released upon the death of our sources. We were both, I think, really struck by, right away, the commitment of Tom and Larry to this notion.

BOB WOODWARD: In fact, we realized that when we got done with the process that they would ensure the protection of sources better than we could—than something just floating around in the attics...

CARL BERNSTEIN: We could. If something happened to us. Well, that was the other consideration was what was gonna happen? What if something happened to us, and I can't identify this, and he can't identify that?

BOB WOODWARD: And so it got us to turn over the vast bulk of the material to the Ransom Center here, but then we have a temperature-controlled, humidity-controlled space and archive-like vault out in Virginia where we have the papers and information from sources who still are alive. Now, we would not have done that had we not realized that we're getting old and we better set up a process. And it was Faulkner and Staley who really came up with the idea that we retain in this vault in Virginia control over the material until the sources die.