Richard Nixon Autograph Letter Signed As President – To Vice President Spiro T. Agnew – One Day Before He Resigned


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37th President.  Excessively rare autograph letter signed (ALS) “RN” AS PRESIDENT, 6.75 x 8.75, The White House Washington stationery, October 9, 1973.  Letter to Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, addressed to “Dear Ted –”, in full:

I know your brother had been ill for a long time but that does not lesson the sorrow for you.  In a personal sense I feel I know how you feel because my oldest brother died when I was in college after a four year battle with Tuberculosis.

My words will mean little but I want you to know that our hearts go out to you at this difficult time.

Pat joins me in extending our deepest sympathy.

Includes the original White House transmittal envelope addressed by Nixon, “Ted Agnew / Personal” and signed “RN” at top left (quite valuable on its own). In fine condition. Originates from the personal estate of Spiro Agnew.

According to President Nixon’s Daily Diary, Nixon met with Vice President Agnew in the Oval Office on October 9, 1973 from 5:59 to 6:39.  The 40-minute meeting was surely an emotional one as Nixon almost certainly hand-delivered this letter to Agnew at that time.  Research shows that Agnew composed a letter to President Nixon that same day as well as a formal letter of resignation and took both to the President personally – certainly presenting them during this meeting while receiving this letter in exchange.  Immediately after this meeting, Nixon would consult with Chief of Staff Alexander Haig, Special Counsel Fred Buzhardt and Chief Speechwriter Raymond Price.  Buzhardt had been instrumental in orchestrating the terms of the deal ensuring Agnew’s resignation.

On the night of October 9, President Nixon would hold a State Dinner in honor of the President of the Ivory Coast – notably, Vice President Agnew would not be in attendance and he would be in a courtroom the next afternoon, pleading nolo contendere to charges against him, which the judge immediately explained was the technical equivalent of a guilty plea. Then Attorney General Richardson read a lengthy statement into the record outlining the government’s evidence against Agnew, which concluded with a plea for leniency (part of the bargain worked out in the days before). The judge thereupon decided not to sentence Agnew to jail, pending good behavior for the next three years. He did fine Agnew $10,000 for income tax evasion.

Given the scarcity of Nixon handwritten letters on White House stationery (only a handful have ever been offered), the date of this letter and the association, this letter represents one of the finest 20th-century Presidential letters in existence.