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Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein:

An Inventory of Their Watergate Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Woodward, Bob (1943-) and Bernstein, Carl (1944- )
Title: Watergate Papers
Dates: 1964-2001 (bulk 1972-1976)
Extent: 77 boxes (32.34 linear feet), 6 oversize boxes, 3 oversize folders, 3 galley folders, 21 bound volumes
Abstract: Typed and handwritten manuscripts, interview notes, galley proofs, financial records, correspondence, audio and video tapes, clippings, research files, court documents, government publications, photographs, and memorabilia document the Watergate investigation and writings of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The bulk of the collection consists of drafts of Washington Post news stories, All The President's Men, and The Final Days .
OCLC No.: 79415218
Language: English, French, German, and Spanish
Access:

Confidential interview files remain closed until the death of the interviewee or release by Woodward and Bernstein. All other files are open for research.




Acquisition:

Purchase, 2003

Processed by:

Stephen Mielke, 2003-2011

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center


On June 18, 1972, a Washington Post front page story reported the previous day's break-in at the Democratic National Committee's office in the Watergate complex in Washington, DC. Five men were arrested while attempting to photograph documents and place bugging devices in the offices. The White House dismissed the crime as a "third-rate burglary," and much of the nation's media soon dropped interest in what some jokingly referred to as "the Watergate caper." But two of the reporters who worked on that first Washington Post story, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, continued tracking down sources and pursuing leads on what became the biggest story of twentieth-century American politics.

Robert Woodward, born March 26, 1943, in Geneva, Illinois, was raised in nearby Wheaton. The son of a Republican lawyer and judge, Woodward attended Yale University on an ROTC scholarship, graduating with a BA in History and English in 1965. He then served as a communications officer in the US Navy from 1965 to 1970. After leaving the service, he contemplated attending law school, but then decided to seek reporting jobs with the Washington Post or the New York Times. Turned down for a lack of experience, he spent a year as a reporter for the Montgomery County Sentinel in Maryland before getting a position at the Washington Post in 1971. At the time of the Watergate break-in, Woodward had been at the Post less than nine months and had worked as a reporter for less than two years.

Carl Bernstein was born February 14, 1944, in Washington, DC, and raised in nearby Silver Spring, Maryland. His parents were social activists and members of the American Communist Party. He began working as a copy boy at the Washington Evening Star at age sixteen, and after finishing high school attended classes part-time at the University of Maryland. He eventually began contributing stories at the Star and in 1965 moved to New York City to work as a reporter at the Elizabeth Daily Journal in New Jersey. After one year at the Journal, Bernstein returned to Washington, DC, and took a reporter position at the Washington Post .

At first the two reporters worked independently of one another. Woodward discovered that one of the burglars, James McCord, Jr., was a former CIA employee, recently employed as a security coordinator for the Committee for the Re-election of President Nixon (CRP). He also tracked a phone number in one burglar's address book to White House consultant Howard Hunt. Bernstein was able to confirm the burglar's calls to Hunt through telephone records, and also traced a check in one burglar's bank account to the CRP. With support and guidance from Post editors Barry Sussman, Harry Rosenfeld, Howard Simons, and executive editor Ben Bradlee, Woodward and Bernstein combined their efforts to further explain the break-in, seeking information from hundreds of administration officials, campaign workers, White House staffers, and other sources.

For several months, Woodward and Bernstein continually wrote front page stories exposing links between Watergate and the CRP, but were unable to directly connect the burglars to anyone close to Nixon. One of Woodward's sources, identified on May 31, 2005, as FBI Associate Director Mark Felt, provided deep background information, on the condition that Woodward never identify, quote, or use him as a sole source of the information. Deep Throat, as Felt was labeled by Howard Simons, confirmed the reporters' suspicions and leads, and helped focus their investigation on the trail of money from the burglars to the CRP to the White House. Eventually, in an October 10, 1972 story, Woodward and Bernstein were able to disclose in detail that the Watergate break-in was part of a larger effort to sabotage Nixon's political opponents--paid for through the CRP under the direction of some of Nixon's closest aides.

White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler reacted with strong criticism to the story, questioning the methods and political motivations of the Washington Post and the two reporters. After Nixon's re-election in November 1972, many thought the story would die, but instead, repercussions from the break-in continued. In January 1973, the five Watergate burglars and two former White House employees who directed them, Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, were convicted for the break-in. In February, the U.S. Senate formed a committee to investigate the Nixon campaign. And in March, Watergate burglar James McCord, Jr. informed Judge John Sirica that he and the other burglars had lied during their trials, were pressured by the White House to withhold information, and that high-ranking officials had known about the Watergate break-in plan.

By April 1973, the Post, numerous other news agencies, and the Senate committee were all focused on discovering what knowledge, if any, Nixon had of the Watergate burglary. On April 30, due to the mounting evidence of their personal involvement, Nixon's Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman, Domestic Affairs Advisor John Ehrlichman, and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst all resigned and Presidential Counsel John Dean was fired. At a press conference the following day, Press Secretary Ziegler apologized to Woodward, Bernstein, and the Washington Post for his previous criticism, admitting to the validity of their stories.

In May 1973, the Washington Post received the Pulitzer Prize for Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate coverage. Interest in what the two reporters had accomplished was growing, and a book offer from Simon and Schuster had already been made. Originally planning to write a story from the burglars' perspective, Woodward and Bernstein decided instead to tell the story of their investigation of the break-in and the cover-up. While still covering the ongoing Watergate story for the Post, they worked on the book nights and weekends, eventually taking a five-week leave of absence to write full time.

Published in June 1974, All the President's Men was a best-seller, receiving strong reviews and extensive media coverage. The book revealed the existence of "Deep Throat," causing great speculation about his identity, particularly since the Watergate story continued to unfold after the book was published. In July 1973, the Senate investigating committee had uncovered the existence of the taping system used by Nixon to record meetings in the Oval Office. In February 1974, the House Judiciary Committee began impeachment hearings. And one month before All the President's Men was released, a federal grand jury indicted seven of Nixon's top aides in the Watergate cover-up and informed the judge that there was enough evidence to indict Nixon, but they did not have the legal authority to charge the President.

After the release of All the President's Men, Woodward and Bernstein continued covering Watergate for the Post and began making plans for a follow-up book. Soon after Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, they took another leave of absence to work on what became The Final Days. Focusing on Nixon and the inner workings at the White House over the last 100 days of his administration, Woodward and Bernstein found that with Nixon out of office, many high-level White House and government personnel were willing and eager to talk to them and explain their side of the story. They hired two research assistants, Scott Armstrong and Al Kamen, and proceeded to interview nearly 400 people, promising them complete anonymity since many still worked in government or had continuing connections to Nixon or other politicians.

As they worked on the new book, production began on a movie version of All the President's Men starring Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein. The actors and director Alan Pakula relied heavily upon the two reporters for their opinions and insight on the film's content and authenticity. Opening in April 1976, the film was greatly successful and later won four Academy Awards, including best screenplay adaptation for William Goldman.

The same month the movie opened, pre-publication excerpts from The Final Days were released in Newsweek. Strong reactions to the excerpts, which included details about Nixon's personal life, were often negative and highly critical of Woodward and Bernstein. Commentators pilloried the book as an invasion of privacy and an unnecessary attack on the already humiliated Nixon. Despite the criticism, the book was soon a best-seller after its release in May. By then, many reviews noted that as a whole, the book was not an attack on Nixon. Some even found it to be somewhat sympathetic towards the former President. Still, facts and events from the book were questioned by Nixon's friends and family, and some obvious sources denied ever speaking with Bernstein and Woodward. Some questioned the credibility of the work due to the lack of footnotes and named sources, even though many acknowledged that it would have been impossible to write without the promises of anonymity.

With increasing fame and notoriety, Woodward and Bernstein had themselves become the focus of numerous news stories. While often forced to defend their own work, they criticized other reporters and journalism in general for simply reporting official comments on important events without question or critical investigating. To many in America, the two reporters were heroes who stood up against power and corruption, and enrollment in journalism schools soared as students sought to follow the examples set by the two role models.

Soon after finishing The Final Days, Bernstein left the Washington Post in 1976. He contributed articles to Rolling Stone, the New Republic, and Time and worked as Washington Bureau Chief for ABC News from 1979 to 1981. From 1981 to 1984 he was a correspondent for ABC in New York, and since 1992 has been a visiting lecturer at New York University. In addition to his books with Woodward he has written Loyalties: A Son's Memoir (1989), His Holiness: John Paul II and the Hidden History of Our Time (1996) with Marco Politi, and A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton (2007).

Woodward continued working at The Washington Post, becoming assistant managing editor in 1981. He also continued writing and has produced numerous best-sellers. In addition to his books with Bernstein he has written The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court (1979) with Scott Armstrong, Wired: The Short Life of and Fast Times of John Belushi (1984), Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987 (1987), The Commanders (1991), The Man Who Would be President: Dan Quayle (1992) with David Broder and Dan Quayle, The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House (1994), The Choice (1996), Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate (1999), Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom (2000), Bush at War (2002), Plan of Attack (2004), and State of Denial (2006). He also co-wrote the television movie Under Siege (1986) and mini-series The Nightmare Years (1989) with Christian Williams.


Bernstein, Carl, and Bob Woodward. All the President's Men. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974.

Contemporary Authors, Volume 81-84. Locher, Frances Carol, ed. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1979.

Contemporary Authors: New Revision Series, Volume 67. Jones, Daniel, and John D. Jorgenson, eds. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1998.

Hirshberg, Jack. Portrait of All the President's Men. New York: Warner Books, 1976.


Typed and handwritten manuscripts, interview notes, galley proofs, financial records, correspondence, audio and video tapes, clippings, research files, court documents, government publications, photographs, and memorabilia document the Watergate investigation and writings of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Reflected in these materials is their work at the Washington Post, on their two jointly written books All the President's Men (1974) and The Final Days (1976), as well as the motion picture version of All the President's Men (1976), and for Woodward's book Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate (1999).

The papers are organized in two series: I. Woodward, 1970-2001 (bulk 1972-1976) and II. Bernstein, 1964-1996 (bulk 1972-1976). The two series reflect who possessed the records at the time they were transferred to the Ransom Center. They do not indicate the creator of the materials within each series. The manner in which most of the materials were created and accumulated was highly interactive and there was much mixing and overlap of materials between the two reporters. Items created by or sent to Woodward are found throughout the Bernstein series and vice-versa.

Each series is further organized into subseries reflecting the manner in which Woodward and Bernstein each maintained their own files:

Two subseries, A. The Washington Post and All the President's Men, and B. The Final Days, are found in both the Bernstein and Woodward series and contain similar materials. The major differences between them are that the Bernstein materials contain all manuscript drafts for All the President's Men, and the Woodward materials contain the majority of research documents and manuscript drafts for The Final Days .

Other differences between the Woodward series and the Bernstein series include the presence in Woodward's papers of materials for his book Shadow, and copies or drafts of several works by other authors.

The Personal subseries in Woodward's papers is the smallest of the subseries and contains materials somewhat similar to the memorabilia files in Bernstein's Washington Post and All the President's Men subseries. Correspondence and clippings are present in both series, but the majority of these are found in Bernstein's papers. Incoming correspondence, notes, and memos, excluding routine fan mail, are indexed at the end of the finding aid. Included among the correspondents are Ben Bradlee, Tom Brokaw, William F. Buckley, Joseph Califano, Katharine Graham, Alice Mayhew, and Dan Rather.

The bulk of the collection consists of drafts of Washington Post news stories, All the President's Men, and The Final Days. Woodward and Bernstein typed all of these drafts on the six-ply carbonless paper used by the Washington Post at that time for news copy drafts. The paper is specially coated to transmit typed or written marks from the top sheet to underlying sheets without the use of traditional carbon paper. By using this paper, Woodward and Bernstein created five copies of every typed page. One or all six pages may contain handwritten comments and changes by Bernstein, Woodward, their editors, and, on manuscripts for The Final Days, from research assistants Scott Armstrong and Al Kamen. This process created numerous versions of each section of every draft. Some of the drafts retain all six sheets of paper still joined at a perforated edge. Others have only the top typed sheet, or one or more of the copy sheets. Care must be taken when using any of the sheets as inadvertent marks can still be transferred onto underlying layers. Many of the copies are faded; preservation photocopies have been made. Some are so faded that they cannot be read or reproduced by photocopying. In these cases the sheets were digitally scanned and printouts made after adjusting the contrast to best reveal the image.

Many of the book drafts were received at the Ransom Center loose in boxes without folders. Some effort was made during cataloging to place the unidentified manuscripts with those received in folders and identified by writer, draft version, editing stage, chapter order, or other labeling. Throughout the collection, copies of original file folders and headings have been retained with the materials.

In addition to the wealth of manuscript material, of great importance are hundreds of files containing interviews conducted by telephone or in person by Bernstein and Woodward for their news stories and books. Found in both the Woodward and Bernstein series, the files include interviews with major Watergate figures, presidential aides and staff, government officials and employees, congressmen, and Nixon colleagues. Examples of some of the higher profile interviewees are Howard Baker, J. Fred Buzhardt, John Ehrlichman, James St. Clair, Barry Goldwater, Howard Hunt, Elliot Richardson, and Leon Jaworski.

The contents of the interview files vary greatly. Some contain a single page of handwritten notes. Others hold numerous typed pages from multiple interviews. Some include audio tapes of the interview and background material on the subject. Most files contain material from a single source, but some contain information from multiple sources regarding a particular topic or person. With the exception of interviews conducted for Woodward's book Shadow, all of the interviews were conducted with the promise of complete confidentiality and therefore remain closed for research until the death of the interview source. When a file contains interviews from several sources, the entire file will remain closed until all sources are deceased.

The bulk of the materials dates from 1972 to 1976. A small number of clippings and other items from the late 1960s predate Woodward and Bernstein's work together. Some research materials, clippings, and papers related to Shadow date from the 1980s through 2001. Materials are in English, with a small number of French, German, and Spanish language clippings and one French language videotape. All videotape, audiotape, and film has been transferred to the Ransom Center's audio/visual (AV) collection and digital copies are available for research use. A list of these AV materials is provided in the Associated Materials section of this finding aid. Foreign and special editions of All the President's Men and The Final Days have likewise been transferred to the Ransom Center's library and are cataloged separately. These books are also listed under Associated Materials.


Other Watergate related archival materials at the University of Texas at Austin may be found at The Center for American History, The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, and The Tarlton Law Library.


The following books have been transferred to the Ransom Center's book collection:

    Bernstein, Carl and Bob Woodward
    • All the President's Men (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974)
    • All the President's Men (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999)
    • All the President's Men (Norwalk CT: Easten Press, 1989)
    • All the President's Men (Norwalk CT: Easten Press, 1999) signed by Carl Bernstein
    • All the President's Men (London: Quartet Books, 1974)
    • Alle Presidentens Menn (Oslo: J. W. Cappelens forlag, 1974) hardback
    • Alle Presidentens Menn (Oslo: J. W. Cappelens forlag, 1974) paperback
    • Alleman van Nixon's Staff (Amsterdam: Contact, 1974)
    • Die Watergate Affäre (Munich-Zurich: Droemer Knaur, 1974)
    • El Escándalo Watergate (Barcelona: Librería Editorial Argos, 1974)
    • Och alla Presidentens Män (Stockholm: Rabén and Sjorgen, 1974)
    • Presidentin Miehet (Helsinki: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö, 1974)
    • Todos los Hombres del President (Barcelona: Librería Editorial Argos, 1977)
    • Todos os Homens do Presidente (Rio de Janeiro: Livraria Francisco Alves, 1976)
    • L'affare Watergate (Milan: Garzanti, 1974) hardback
    • L'affare Watergate (Milan: Garzanti, 1974) paperback
    • Watergate: Les Fous du Président (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1974)
    • Watergate: O Processo de uma Presidência (Lisbon: Livraria Bertrand, 1974)
    Kennedy, John F. Profiles in Courage (New York: Harper, 2000) Woodward, Bob and Carl Bernstein
    • The Final Days (Norwalk, CT: Easten Press, 1999) two copies signed by Bob Woodward
    • The Final Days (London: Coronet Books, 1977)
    • The Final Days (London: Coronet Books, 1988)
    • I Giorni Della Fine (Milan: Garzanti, 1977)
    • Les derniers jours de Nixon (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1976)
    • Los Dias Finales (Barcelona: Librería Editorial Argos,1977)
    • Os Últimos Dias (Rio de Janeiro: Livraria Francisco Alves, 1976)

The following Audiotapes, videotapes, and film have been transferred to the Ransom Center's audio/visual collection. Digital copies are available for research use.

    Audiotapes:
    • Bernstein Carl. Speech at Cleveland State University, ¼ inch reel, 22 May 1973
    • Korff, Baruch. Interview by Woodward and Armstrong, ¼ inch cassette, 1974
    • Rhodes, John. Interview by Woodward, Bernstein, Armstrong, and Jay, ¼ inch cassette, undated
    • Simons, Howard. Interview by Woodward and Bernstein, ¼ inch cassette, 24 August 1974
    • Woodward, Bob and Carl Bernstein
      • ABC, Studio 3 with Ann Compton, ¼ inch cassette, 19 June 1974
      • Phil Donahue Show, ¼ inch cassette, undated
    Film:
          • All the President's Men. 35mm movie trailer, undated
    Videotapes:
    • Our World-1972. ½ inch VHS, 1 copy, 5 March 1987
    • Un Homme un Jour Watergate-I. ¾ inch U-Matic SECAM, 1 copy, 9 August 1974
    • Watergate: The Secret Story, CBS. ½ inch VHS, 3 copies, 17 June 1992


People

Bernstein, Carl, 1944-

Buchen, Philip W. (Philip William), 1916-

Buzhardt, J. Fred (Joseph Fred), 1924-1978

Ehrlichman, John

Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006

Goldwater, Barry M. (Barry Morris), 1909-

Haldeman, H. R. (Harry R.), 1926-

Harlow, Bryce Nathaniel, 1916-

Jaworski, Leon

Korff, Baruch, 1914-

Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994

Rhodes, John J. (John Jay), 1943-

Richardson, Elliot L., 1920-

Scott, Hugh, 1900-1994

St. Clair, James D.

Woodward, Bob

Organizations

Washington Post Company

Subjects

Investigative reporting -- United States

Journalism -- United States

Journalists -- United States

Political corruption -- United States

Presidents -- United States -- History -- 20th century

Press and politics -- United States

Watergate Affair, 1972-1974

Title subjects All the president's men (Motion picture) Washington post (Washington, D.C.: 1974)

Places

United States -- Politics and government -- 1969-1974

Document Types

Editorial cartoons

Galley proofs

Interviews

Newspapers

Periodicals

Photographs

Political cartoons

Scrapbooks

Scripts

Sound recordings

Video recordings