As a crucial figure in shaping Pepperdine University and the development of the community, Margaret Martin Brock’s contributions were praised by numerous people around her. A specific individual that recognized her for her philanthropic and community efforts was President Richard Nixon, and the letters exchanged between the two prominent individuals is still a cherished collection by the University today. The compilation of letters between President Richard Nixon and Margaret Martin Brock from 1953 to 1994 highlighted her accomplishments, his thankfulness for her support, and also recognized their long lasting friendship that developed over the years.
This time period also focused on President Richard Nixon’s efforts to lead the United States in its period of social unrest, through times of technological advancement and wars. His achievements can be seen through the collection of the letters, as Brock and Nixon constantly wrote to congratulate one another on their achievements and served as each other’s support systems during times of hardships. One crucial event that Nixon was most known for is his role in the Watergate Scandal, which caused the downfall of his Presidential candidacy and led him to become “the first American President to resign from office” (Britannica). The scandal involved Nixon and other presidential aides hiring burglars, who recorded and stole secret matters discussed in the White House. He was also accused of hiding his knowledge of the break-in at Democratic Party Headquarters in the Watergate office, instructing “the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to impede the FBI’s investigation of the crime” (history.com). Throughout these tumultuous times of investigations, especially during the years of 1973-1974, Margaret Martin Brock expressed her sympathy towards President Nixon and his family. This is shown through the letters that were exchanged between them during the period of the Watergate hearings. Although the letters of comfort sent by Brock are not available, her kind words were recognized through the letters that Richard and Pat Nixon returned to her, thanking her for her constant kindness and support throughout the hearings. They expressed their gratitude for the flowers she sent and continuous supportive responses throughout the hard times of his press conferences regarding the scandal.
Another topic recurring throughout the letters is Brock’s constant support for Nixon throughout his decisions as President. Brock was an active participant in the Republican Party, and supported Nixon throughout his efforts as President. In December 1972, he thanked her for helping him “win one of the greatest landslide victories in American political history”, clearly attributing his presidential victory to her support (Nixon). Not only did she support him in his presidency, but even throughout the time of the Vietnam War, Nixon thanked her for her constant support in his difficult military decisions or other ways he had to deal with the war. He expressed gratitude for her efforts in speaking up and making suggestions in different political matters throughout his Presidency. Their close friendship meant that he was able to confide in her about his thoughts of Vietnam, which can be seen in the letter from February 28, 1985. He congratulated her on her growth and accomplishments, such as being elected as a delegate to the national convention.
Lastly, the friendship between Margaret Martin Brock and President Nixon and his family is shown through her continual dedication, even after his passing. During his lifetime, Nixon and Brock maintained a very close relationship, which was shown through the two sending each other Christmas cards, Brock sending her condolences after Nixon’s father’s passing, and also through birthday cards, not just to Nixon but also to his wife, Pat Nixon. Pam Nixon passed away in July 1993, while Nixon himself passed away on April 22, 1994. Brock sent condolences to Richard Nixon in light of his wife’s death, and even furthered her caring nature by reaching out to Julie Eisenhower as well. She constantly reached out to Nixon’s children Julie and Tricia, as well as Nixon himself during his illness in April 1994 and after his funeral on April 28, 1994. Brock sent letters to people such as the Reagan family, the Bush family, Jimmy Carter, Pete Wilson, and more after the funeral and for including thoughtful eulogies during the ceremony. These letters show how connected Brock felt to the Nixon family as the loyalty of their friendship lasted past Nixon’s death. Although their extremely close relationship can be seen throughout all of their letters, the depth of friendship between them are seen in her efforts through her letters after his death as well.
Margaret Martin Brock and President Richard Nixon both consistently praised one another for their accomplishments, and unconditionally supported one another. Both people were extremely considerate of each other and eager to hear back from the other in terms of life updates and inquiries. Each letter was extremely personal and very clearly recognized the other person’s strengths, such as Nixon recognizing Brock for financial and current political events occurring around her. Their shared passions for the Republican Party and public policy drew them closer together, and the letters between them reveal the depth of their desire to promote the individual welfare of the American people. Due to their shared interests and concerns over specific issues, it is evident through their letters that Nixon and Brock had been crucial parts of each other’s lives in terms of friendship while also helping each other in political aspects.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Richard Nixon". Encyclopedia Britannica, 29 Sep. 2020, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Richard-Nixon.
History.com Editors. “Watergate Scandal.” HISTORY, 25 Sept. 2019, www.history.com/topics/1970s/watergate.
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994, “1972 December 30 - Richard Nixon to Margaret Brock,” Margaret Martin Brock Project, Spring 2020, https://margaretmartinbrock2020.omeka.net/items/show/101.