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Cherry Blossom Document Friday: The Nixons Take a Bicycle Ride

March 23, 2012

"Jeez Pat, the French are sure getting themselves into a mess over in Indochina."

Cherry Blossom 2012 Update!  Had to do it.  

A friend pointed this out to me on Slate the other day.  Melted my heart.  Turns out,  the lovely Nixon family was photographed on 13 April 1947 as they glided their bicycles round the tidal basin.

The young Richard Nixon had just began his term as a freshman representative in the House from California (he partially financed his campaign with poker winnings).  A month earlier, Richard gave his maiden speech in the House Un-American Activities Committee.  A year later, Richard would take on Alger Hiss and the Pumpkin Patch papers.

Richard’s wife Pat, who he called his “Wild Irish Gypsy,” was pointing in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial.   A decade earlier, she had acted in bit roles in Becky Sharp and The Great Ziegfeld; Pat was also a high school teacher in Whittier, California.

Baby Tricia sits in the cart, her sister Julie wasn’t born until a year later.  Twenty-four years after this photo was snapped, Tricia married Ed Cox in a glamorous Rose Garden wedding. The New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers the day after.

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