Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Subscribe to Email Updates



Contact Us

Tag: Pat Nixon

Facial Hair Friday: Hang ten, Pat Nixon!

First Lady Pat Nixon talking with surfers near Border Field, CA, on August 18, 1971. (Nixon Presidential Library)

Some time ago, a Facebook fan expressed thanks that we would never combine our First Ladies Friday with our Facial Hair Friday. To which we replied, never say never! Of course, the facial hair in this photograph is not on First Lady Pat Nixon, but that scraggly surfer goatee is in very close proximity to Pat, so we are going to count it as a two-for-one.

The First Lady had just finished a land-grant ceremony at Border Field, CA, to create a new park area at the U.S.-Mexico border for the Legacy of the Parks Program. Border Field State Park is 15 miles south of San Diego, CA. When the U.S.-Mexico War ended in 1848, delegations from both countries began surveying the boundary at this location in 1850. Border Monument number 258 can be seen from inside the park, but it no longer can be reached because there are border fences on both sides. When the First Lady was there, there was only barbed wire, and she was able to reach out and greet the Mexican citizens who had gathered on the other side.

The park is in the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. Threatened and endangered birds like the Western Snowy Plover and the Light-footed Clapper Rail now live … [ Read all ]

“Panda”monium at the National Zoo

Ling-Ling munches on her snack on her first day in the new Panda House at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, April 16, 1972. (Nixon Library)

Ling-Ling munches on her snack on her first day in the new Panda House at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, April 16, 1972. (Nixon Library)

Springtime in Washington, DC, makes people think of cherry blossoms—and pandas. While keepers and panda fans anxiously wait for signs that the National Zoo’s Mei Xiang may be expecting a cub, we remember the first pandas to live at the zoo.

President Richard Nixon’s historic trip to China in February 1972 opened diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries and was one of the most successful achievements of his administration. The result that sticks most keenly in the popular memory, though, is the arrival of two chubby black and white furry goodwill ambassadors—Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing.

When pandas’ arrival date was set, President Nixon asked  First Lady Pat Nixon to head up the delegation to welcome the pandas to the National Zoo. [Listen to his telephone call to her. It’s the last item in the list.] Mrs. Nixon had been captivated by the pandas at the zoo in Beijing and was delighted to officially accept the nation’s own pair.

On April 16, 1972, she officially accepted the gift of the People’s Republic of China and declared, “I think ‘panda-monium’ is going to break out at the zoo.” She was right. Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing were the top attractions … [ Read all ]