John H. Taylor (pastor) - Director of The Nixon Library

Director of The Nixon Library

Taylor was appointed Director of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace while still working for the former president. His tenure consisted of the growth and expansion of the library, as well as the fostering and preservation of Richard Nixon's presidential legacy. In 1999, Taylor sought to enhance the former's president's image when he authorized the release of 124 Nixon-era White House tapes regarding the Watergate scandal and Nixon's involvement in it. Taylor acknowledged, "The entire record of Watergate needs to be viewed through the prism of Vietnam ... Richard Nixon was a war-time president. He will still be criticized for his actions but the criticism will be fairer when viewed in that light."

A controversy erupted in 1996, however, between Taylor and President Nixon's daughters Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower. Taylor had requested that control of the library be taken from the Nixon family and placed with a 24-member board of directors. Both sisters were opposed, although Julie Nixon Eisenhower changed her position and supported Taylor's notion; control was eventually granted to Taylor after a legal battle. During that period, a plan to reunite the president's scattered records was undertaken, but largely fell apart due to a court case regarding a $14 million donation from a close friend of President and Mrs. Nixon, Bebe Rebozo.

This issue would be resolved, however, beginning in 2003, when the United States Congress voted to repeal a law that prevented President Nixon and his family from controlling presidential records dating from 1969 to 1974. Taylor labeled it as "a first step in abolishing the anomaly" of Richard Nixon being the only president between Herbert Hoover and Bill Clinton without a government-operated library.

During his time as director, Taylor was paid $145,500 in 2000, the highest of any director of a presidential library. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's grandson, and son-in-law to President Nixon David Eisenhower said of Taylor's job performance, "It's a very well-run library, and John Taylor is a phenomenal director."

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