Nixon, Julie (1948—)
Nixon, Julie (1948—)
American first daughter and author. Name variations: Julie Nixon Eisenhower. Born on July 5, 1948, in Whittier, California; second daughter of Richard M. Nixon (1913–1994, U.S. president, 1969–74) and Pat Nixon (1912–1993); graduate of Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, 1970; Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., M.A. in elementary education; married David Eisenhower (a lawyer), on December 22, 1968; children:Jennie Eisenhower ; Alex Eisenhower; Melanie Eisenhower .
Julie Nixon was born in Whittier, California, on July 5, 1948, the daughter of Richard Nixon and Pat Nixon and the younger sister, by two years, of Tricia Nixon . Julie's birth gave her mother a second reason to worry about raising a family while supporting her husband's political aspirations. While Julie frequently cried when Pat left her for the campaign trail, she later flourished in the public spotlight, developing into a charming and articulate speaker. During the Watergate debacle, it was in fact Julie who became her father's defender, prompting journalist Nora Ephron to write: "In the months since the Watergate hearings began, [Julie] has become her father's … First Lady in practice if not in fact."
Like her sister, Julie attended a variety of schools, both public and private, in California, New York, and Washington. She decided to attend Smith College after visiting the Northampton campus during a family vacation in Massachusetts, although her mother had hoped she would attend a coeducational college to "have some fun." In college, Julie reconnected with David Eisenhower, whom she had not seen since the 1957 inauguration of his grandfather, President Dwight D. Eisenhower. She and David, a student at nearby Amherst, fell in love and married on December 22, 1968, less than a month before Richard Nixon took the oath of office as president. (During the previous six months, the two of them had traveled to 33 states campaigning.) The newlyweds returned to a new apartment in Northampton, where they lived while completing their college degrees. Julie found her adjustment to married life hampered by the constant presence of the Secret Service, but even more so by the anti-Nixon sentiment on the Smith campus, which was fueled by the nation's continuing involvement in Vietnam. The couple did not even attend their 1970 graduation ceremonies because officials at both Smith and Amherst could not guarantee their safety. They celebrated the occasion instead at Camp David.
While David served in the Navy for three years, Julie joined her family in the White House and worked on a master's degree in elementary education at nearby Catholic University of America. When David returned, he entered George Washington University Law School, and the couple took up residence in nearby Bethesda, Maryland. From 1973, Julie worked at Curtis Publishing Company, which owned The Saturday Evening Post, Holiday, and four children's magazines.
From the earliest days of Watergate, Julie Nixon became the family spokesperson in her father's defense, and by the time of the president's resignation, she had given over 125 interviews throughout the country. "She was not only accessible to the media but asked for some speaking engagements and TV appearances herself, knowing in advance that questions would be asked about Watergate," writes Lester David. "Always she was charming, poised, attractive, and agile-minded. They loved her everywhere." On May 7, 1974, at the height of the crisis, Julie and David conducted an interview in the East Garden, at which time she told the media that her father intended to "take this constitutionally down to the wire." "The media," she said, "must be reassured from members of the family that my father is not going to resign." Julie and her sister Tricia continued to believe that their father should not give up the fight, although in the end other opinions prevailed.
Julie Nixon continued to support her parents throughout the legal battles of the post-resignation period, and during both her father's illness and surgery and her mother's stroke, which occurred shortly after David's graduation from law school. On August 15, 1978, almost as a salute to her mother's recovery, Julie gave birth to the Nixons' first grandchild Jennie. (The Eisenhowers had two more children, Alex and Melanie, who, with Tricia's son Christopher, brought the tally of Nixon grandchildren to four.) In 1986, Julie paid tribute to her mother with the publication of Pat Nixon, The Untold Story, which, in addition to shedding light on the enigmatic first lady, provides an insider's look at some of the extraordinary events that shaped the country's history.
David, Lester. The Lonely Lady of San Clemente: The Story of Pat Nixon. NY: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1978.
Eisenhower, Julie Nixon. Pat Nixon: The Untold Story. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1986.