This week on Q&A, part two of our discussion with historian and author Timothy Naftali. He talks about the oral history project he conducted during his tenure as Director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. Naftali details the challenges he faced as the first federal director of the museum which was privately run for seventeen years.The museum became a federal facility administered by the National Archives and Records Administration in 2007. He suggests there are sometimes conflicting interests between preserving a president’s legacy and detailing and displaying historical facts. Between himself and his assistant, Paul Musgrave, there were over 140 interviews performed in various locations throughout the country. Most of the oral histories are available on the library’s website nixonlibrary.gov as well as c-span.org. Naftali discusses interviews with White House Special Counsel Charles Colson and Acting Attorney General Robert Bork. He relates how he came to be an employee of the National Archives and director of the library. Part 1 of this interview aired January 6, 2013 and is available at c-span.org.
Timothy Naftali received his undergraduate degree in history from Yale University, an M.A. in international economics from the Johns Hopkins University, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He was the director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum from 2007 until 2011. He taught history at several universities. He was the director of the Miller Center presidential recordings program at the University of Virginia. He has written four books, two of them co-authored with Alexander Fursenko on the Cuban Missile Crisis and Nikita Krushchev.