Miller Center

Richard Nixon: Family Life

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Richard and Pat Nixon were married in 1940, and she supported him throughout the ups and downs of his long political career. The Nixons had two children-Patricia "Tricia" and Julie-who were both grown when Nixon became President. Julie married David Eisenhower, one of Dwight Eisenhower's grandsons, in 1968, and Tricia married Edward Cox in the Rose Garden of the White House in 1971.

Nixon was very close to his family, especially during the Watergate scandal and after his resignation. Both Nixons were devoted grandparents, who moved back east in 1980 in part to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

Nixon was generally an introvert and a formal man, who often seemed socially ill at ease. He had few close friends with whom he could really relax. Still he charmed many people in the American public, especially those who admired his humble beginnings and his every-man appeal. He was a hard worker and an avid reader. During his years in the White House, he enjoyed escaping to Camp David; Key Biscayne, Florida; and San Clemente, California.

Nixon was a good piano player and liked to relax with family and friends around the piano, inviting guests to sing along with him to popular songs. He was an avid walker, and after leaving office, he took up golf, which helped his physical recovery after his surgeries in 1974. He was also a knowledgeable fan of football and baseball, so much so that he often used sports metaphors when talking about important political and diplomatic issues.

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Ken Hughes

Mr. Hughes coordinates the team of scholars reviewing and transcribing President Richard M. Nixon’s White House tapes, as part of the Presidential Recordings Project at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.