Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2005 Newsletter

Watergate Secrets Open to Public

Photograph

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein view the
Watergate exhibition.

Photograph

Dr. Larry Faulkner, Bob Woodward, Carl
Bernstein, and Director Tom Staley.

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Watergate personnel diagram created by
Woodward and Bernstein's research assistant
Al Kamen, 1974.

The Ransom Center opened the Woodward and Bernstein Watergate Papers, thousands of pages of interview notes, memos, and other materials, on February 4.

The materials reveal the work of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they investigated the Watergate scandal. Key information was obtained by the journalists from members of Nixon's administration, including Nixon's chief lawyers, principal aides, a Cabinet member, and even his barber.

More than 75 document boxes of materials were opened, revealing for the first time the identities of nearly 100 now-deceased sources and the information they disclosed.

The materials consist of interviews, memos of phone conversations, story drafts, notes, research documents, and correspondence created by the reporters while covering Watergate for the Washington Post and researching for the book and movie versions of All the President's Men.

There are also far lengthier interviews with sources who had been reserved and defensive before Nixon left office, but later opened up to the reporters for their book The Final Days.

Under the terms of Woodward and Bernstein's agreement with the university, the identity of unnamed sources used in stories for the Washington Post and their two books about the Nixon presidency will be revealed only after the death of each source.

To preserve the integrity of the files as much as possible, and due in part to the chronological nature of the reporting by Bernstein and Woodward, files including material relating to multiple sources, some of whom are alive, will be released only after all sources identified in these notes and documents are deceased.

Among those living sources is the figure identified as "Deep Throat" in the reporters' first book, All the President's Men, which was published in spring 1974. The book describes him as someone in a sensitive position of the executive branch during Watergate, and his identity is not being disclosed at this time.

The University of Texas at Austin acquired the Watergate papers of Woodward and Bernstein for $5 million, an acquisition entirely financed by donors.

As part of the agreement, Woodward and Bernstein are to contribute $500,000 to establish an endowment to support research and academic programs on the collection.

An online exhibition highlights a selection of the materials found in the papers.

To celebrate the opening of the papers, the university hosted the symposium "The Legacy of Watergate: Opening the Woodward and Bernstein Papers" on February 4.

Symposium participants included Bernstein; Woodward; Richard Ben-Veniste, former chief of the Watergate Task Force of the Watergate Special Prosecutor's Office; David Greenberg, historian and author of Nixon's Shadow: The History of an Image; Joan Hoff, historian and author of Nixon Reconsidered; Stanley Kutler, author of The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon; Anthony Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who covered Watergate; Richard Reeves, syndicated columnist and author of President Nixon: Alone in the White House; Bob Schieffer, CBS News correspondent; and John Taylor, executive director of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation.

The University of Texas at Austin is indebted to the following donors who made it possible to bring the Woodward and Bernstein Watergate Papers to the Ransom Center: The Cain Foundation, Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP, Guaranty Bank, Christopher M. Harte, Hobby Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph D. Jamail, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, Audre and Bernard Rapoport, RGK Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Judy S. and Charles W. Tate, University Co-Op, Martha Ann Walls, and Larry Faulkner. 

-Jen Tisdale


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