COLLECTION FINDING AID
MARGITA E. WHITE PAPERS, 1975-76
White House Assistant Press Secretary;
Director, Office of Communications
The collection includes separate chronological files of memoranda and correspondence concerning various aspects of the work of White and her staff, and a fragmentary subject file relating to the organization and operation of the Communications Office, including a significant file of notes taken at White House senior staff meetings.
2.0 linear feet (ca. 4,000 pages)
Margita E. White (accession number 92-12)
Open. Some items are temporarily restricted under terms of the donor's deed of gift, a copy of which is available on request, or under National Archives and Records Administration general restrictions (36 CFR 1256).
Ms. White has donated to the United States of America her copyrights in all of her unpublished writings in National Archives collections. The copyrights to materials written by other individuals or organizations are presumed to remain with them. Works prepared by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duties are in the public domain.
Prepared by William H. McNitt, July 1992
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Margita Eklund White
June 27, 1937 - Born in Linkoping, Sweden
1959 - B.A. in Government, University of Redlands, California (Magna Cum Laude)
1960 - M.A. in Political Science, Rutgers University
1960 - Assistant to the press secretary, Richard Nixon Presidential Campaign
1961-62 - Administrative assistant, Whitaker and Baxter advertising agency, Honolulu
1963 - Minority press secretary, Hawaii House of Representatives
1963-64 - Research aide, U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater; research associate, Republican National Committee
1965-66 - Research assistant and writer, Free Society Association
1967-69 - Research assistant to columnist Raymond Moley
1969-73 -Assistant to Herbert G. Klein, Director of Communications, The White House
1973-75 - Assistant Director for Public Information, United States Information Agency
1975-76 - Assistant Press Secretary; Director, Office of Communications, The White House
1976-79 - Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
1979-82 - Director, then Vice Chair, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.
1979-88 - Communications consultant and corporate director
1988- - President, Association for Maximum ServiceTelevision, Inc., and corporate director.
The Margita White Papers concern her work as White House Assistant Press Secretary between January 1975 and July 1976. During the early months of her service, she worked as deputy to Gerald Warren, Director of the Office of Communications. When he left the White House in the summer of 1975, she succeeded him as Director.
The Office of Communications handled relations with media beyond the White House Press Corps. It provided editors and broadcasters across the country with copies of speeches, reports, fact sheets, and other information on administration programs. It also coordinated administration public relations campaigns, acted as White House contact for media organizations and individual newspapers and radio and television stations, monitored public affairs activities in the Executive Branch agencies, arranged special briefings, set up media interviews with public officials, produced the daily news summary, and compiled briefing books for the President's media encounters. For more information on the work of the office see the finding aid to the Gerald Warren and Margita White Files. Also helpful is John Maltese's book Spin Control: The Office of Communications and the Management of Presidential News (University of North Carolina Press, 1992).
This small collection supplements the Warren and White Files by adding chronological files of outgoing memoranda and correspondence produced by the office and a small number of subject files. The chronological files concern all aspects of the work of this office and include documents drafted by Gerald Warren, Randall Woods, James Shuman, Margaret Earl, and Sandra Wisniewski, in addition to Margita White. The subject files concern office organization, personnel matters, and a sex discrimination case filed by a former news summary staff member.
Of special note are White's two folders of handwritten notes on White House senior staff meetings, June 1975 to July 1976. These are not minutes, but notes on topics raised at the meetings with occasional details on the discussion. Since no formal minutes on these meetings exist, White's notes do give researchers some sense of what went on at senior staff meetings.
The most important related collection is the Gerald Warren and Margita White Files (14 feet) which give a much more complete record of the work of this office. The Library also holds the files of David Gergen, who headed the Office of Communications after White's departure, and the files of James Shuman, who edited the news summary and prepared briefing books for the President's media encounters. Another related collection is the papers of Press Secretary Ron Nessen, who was White's supervisor.
Subject File, 1975-76.
(Box 1, 0.4 linear feet)
Memoranda, correspondence, agendas, and depositions. The materials concern the organization and operation of the Office of Communications, White House senior staff meetings, and a sex discrimination case filed by a former member of the news summary staff.
Arranged alphabetically by subject.
Memoranda Chronological File, 1975-76. (Boxes 2‑3, 0.8 linear feet)
Copies of outgoing memoranda concerning relations with the news media, production of the news summary, and all other functions of the Office of Communications. Besides Margita White's memos, this file contains memoranda sent by Office of Communications staff members James Shuman, Gerald Warren, Margaret Earl, Sandra Wisniewski, and Randall Woods.
Correspondence Chronological File, 1975-76. (Boxes 4‑5, 0.8 linear feet)
Copies of outgoing letters concerning interactions with the news media. Besides Margita White's letters and those drafted by her or her staff for Ron Nessen's signature, the file contains letters sent by James Shuman, Gerald Warren, Margaret Earl, Sandra Wisniewski, and Randall Woods.
Box 1 - Subject File
- Departmental Public Information Officers Meetings
- Media Requests/Scheduling
- Office of Communications ‑ General
- Office of Communications ‑ Organization (1)‑(2)
- Office of Communications ‑ Personnel (1)‑(2)
- Schmalzried, Darlene ‑ News Summary Sex Discrimination Case (1)‑(3)
- Senior Staff Meeting Notes (1)‑(2)
Box 2 - Memoranda Chronological File
Box 3 - Memoranda Chronological File
- November 1975 ‑ September 1976
Box 4 - Correspondence Chronological File
Box 5 - Correspondence Chronological File
- December 1975 ‑ September 1976