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Guide to the Charles L.B. Lowndes correspondence with Richard M. Nixon, March 1954

Summary

Charles L.B. Lowndes was a professor at Duke Law School while Richard Nixon was a student in the 1930s. The collection consists of three letters sent to and from Richard Nixon regarding a 1954 controversy over the possible awarding of an honorary degree to Nixon.

Collection Details

Record Group
UA.20.01.0003
Title
Charles L.B. Lowndes correspondence with Richard M. Nixon
Date
1954
Creator
Lowndes, Charles L. B.
Extent
3 items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

The collection consists of three letters: a copy of a letter from Charles L. B. Lowndes to then-Vice President Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon's original signed reply to Charles Lowndes, and a copy of RIchard Nixon's letter to then-President of Duke University Hollis Edens, all dated 1954.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

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warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research.

warning Use & Permissions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Charles L.B. Lowndes correspondence with Richard M. Nixon, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Charles L.B. Lowndes to Richard M. Nixon, 1954 March 01

Letter from Charles L.B. Lowndes to Richard M. Nixon regarding faculty vote against bestowing honorary degree. Lowndes advises Nixon against coming to Duke to give the commencement address since the faculty voted against giving him an honorary degree at the same time; discusses his thoughts on the faculty vote; expresses admiration of Nixon and hopes that he will not hold the faculty vote agains the University as a whole.

Carbon copy of original letter. 3 pages.

Folder 1
Richard M. Nixon to Charles L.B. Lowndes, 1954 March 03

Letter from Richard M. Nixon to Charles Lowndes expressing thanks for and agreement with Lowndes's previous letter. Nixon indicates trust in Lowndes to convey to others on the faculty at Duke Lowndes's understanding of the subject, and notes inclusion of a blind copy of Nixon's letter to Duke University President Hollis Edens.

Original letter with signature on Office of the Vice President letterhead. 1 page, includes envelope.

Folder 1
Richard M. Nixon to Dr. A. Hollis Edens, 1954 March 03

Letter from Richard M. Nixon to A. Hollis Edens expressing his inability to attend the Duke University commencement due to his need to attend Senate sessions as a potential tie-breaking voter. Nixon assures Edens that the university and Dr. Edens himself continue to have Nixon's support.

Carbon copy on Office of the Vice President letterhead. 2 pages.

Folder 1
 

Historical Note

Charles L.B. Lowndes was a professor at Duke Law School who taught Richard M. Nixon as a student. In 1954 Nixon was invited to give the commencement address at Duke University, but the faculty voted against granting him an honorary degree, igniting a controversy on campus, and Nixon eventually declined the invitation to deliver the commencement address.

Charles L.B. Lowndes was born in 1904 and received his LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1926 and his S.J.D. in 1930, also from Harvard. He joined the faculty of Duke Law School in 1934, teaching, researching, and writing on tax law. He served as Acting Dean of the Law School for the 1949-1950 academic year, and was granted Duke Law's first named distinguished professorship, the James B. Duke Professorship, in 1955. He died July 28, 1967.

Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994) attended the Duke University School of Law from 1934 to 1937, graduating number three in a class of twenty-six. During his three years at Duke, Nixon was active in the Duke Bar Association and was elected President in his senior year. He then served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate before being selected as Dwight D. Eisenhower's running mate in the 1952 U.S. Presidential election. Eisenhower won, and Richard Nixon became the Vice President of the United States in January, 1953.

In 1954 then-President of Duke University A. Hollis Edens invited then-Vice President Nixon to deliver the commencement address that year. Traditionally, the commencement speaker is given an honorary degree by the University. However, the faculty of the university voted against granting Nixon an honorary degree, and the resulting controversy prompted Charles Lowndes, Nixon's former Duke Law Professor, to write to Nixon, advising against giving the commencement address. Richard Nixon never gave a commencement address at Duke University.

Related Material

Richard M. Nixon Reference Collection, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Richard Nixon Portrait Committee Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Nixon Library Controversy Reference Collection, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The Charles L.B. Lowndes correspondence with Richard M. Nixon were received by the Duke University Archives as a gift in 2017.

Processing Information

Processed by Tracy M. Jackson, December, 2017

Accessions described in this collection guide: UA2017.0068