Rose Mary Woods

Nixon White House tapes

Rose Mary Woods (1917–2005) was Richard Nixon’s secretary from his days in Congress in 1951, through the end of his political career. Before H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman became the operators of Nixon’s presidential campaign, Woods was Nixon’s gatekeeper.

Fiercely loyal to Nixon, Woods claimed responsibility in a 1974 grand jury testimony for inadvertently erasing up to five minutes of the 18​1⁄2 minute gap in a June 20, 1972, audio tape. Her demonstration of how this might have occurred—which depended upon her stretching to simultaneously press controls several feet apart (what the press dubbed the ‘Rose Mary Stretch’)—was met with considerable ridicule.

The contents of the gap remain unknown. Later forensic analysis in 2003 determined that the tape had been erased in several segments—at least five, and perhaps as many as nine.

Rose Mary Woods was born in northeastern Ohio. Her brother was Joseph I. Woods, a Cook County Sheriff, and longtime member of the Cook County, Illinois Board. Following graduation from McKinley High School, she went to work for Royal China, Inc., the city’s largest employer. Woods had been engaged to marry, but her fiancé died during World War II. To escape all the memories of her hometown, she moved to Washington, D.C., in 1943, working in a variety of federal offices until she met Nixon while she was a secretary to the Select House Committee on Foreign Aid. Impressed by his neatness and efficiency, she accepted his job offer in 1951.

She developed a very close relationship with the Nixon family, especially First Lady Pat Nixon. Woods, as part of his staff, accompanied Vice-President Nixon on his 1958 goodwill tour of South America. She was injured by flying glass in the attack on Richard Nixon’s motorcade when the windows in the car she was riding in were smashed. Woods was President Nixon’s personal secretary, the same position she held from the time he hired her until the end of his lengthy political career.

She accompanied Nixon to California for a time following his resignation. Later, she returned to Washington and worked as a secretary to a Republican member of Congress on Capitol Hill.

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.