Nixon, Tricia (1946—)

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Nixon, Tricia (1946—)

American first daughter. Name variations: Patricia Nixon; Tricia Nixon Cox. Born Patricia Nixon on February 21, 1946, in Whittier, California; eldest daughter of Richard M. Nixon (1913–1994, president of the U.S., 1969–74) and Pat Nixon (1912–1993); attended Horace Mann Elementary School, Washington, D.C.; attended Sidwell Friends, a coeducational private Quaker school in Washington; graduated from Finch College, New York City, in 1968; married Edward Cox (a lawyer), on June 12, 1971: children: Christopher Cox (b. March 14, 1979).

The eldest of the two daughters of Richard and Pat Nixon , Tricia Nixon was born in February 1946, during her father's first run for Congress. Her early days were spent in the care of her paternal grandmother Hannah Nixon , so that Pat could return to the campaign. Throughout her childhood, Tricia lived in and out of the public eye, as her mother sought to keep the lives of her children normal amid the demands of the political arena. Of the two Nixon daughters, Tricia was "introverted," as Pat put it, and later dubbed "The Thinker," while younger sister Julie was known as "The Talker." Tricia's education reflected the family's transitory lifestyle, and she required considerable adjustment to each new classroom environment. She completed her education at Finch College in Manhattan, commuting each day while living at home. A modern European history major, she was elected class president in her junior year and was a member of the academic honor society.

Tricia was still living at home when the Nixons took up residence in the White House in January 1969. (Julie had just married David Eisenhower and was living in Massachusetts.) Tricia soon became "assistant first lady," presiding over a number of events in her mother's absence and uncharacteristically hosting a television tour of the family quarters of the White House with Mike Wallace. More meaningful to her at the time was her volunteer work under the auspices of the Urban Service Corps, which involved tutoring two students from one of Washington's inner-city schools.

As the petite, pretty, unmarried daughter of the president, Tricia's presence in the White House was carefully monitored by the press. In 1970, she ended speculation by announcing her engagement to Edward Cox, a young man from a prominent New York family whom she had met at a school dance in 1963. While Edward completed his second year of law studies at Harvard, Tricia and Pat planned the elaborate White House wedding which took place in the Rose Garden on June 12, 1971, under the scrutiny of an impressive array of guests and scores of reporters. After the wedding, the couple settled in New York City, where Edward took up the practice of law.

Following her marriage, Tricia stayed out of the public spotlight, although she returned to Washington for family holiday gatherings and was present during the crucial events of the Watergate scandal. As the drama unfolded, Tricia commuted between New York and Washington as much as possible to be with her parents, although, unlike Julie, she was never comfortable speaking out publicly on Watergate issues. Tricia continued to provide behind-the-scenes support during and after her father's resignation, and throughout his subsequent illness and her mother's stroke in 1976. On March 14, 1979, Tricia gave birth to a son Christopher, who along with Julie's three children brought great joy to the Nixons' later years.


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.