Scope and Content of Collection
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Title: Kenneth Reese Cole, Jr. Papers, White House Central Files, 1969-1974
Collection Number: 3432279
Cole, Kenneth, 1938-
Extent: 25 linear feet, 10 linear inches, 59 boxes
Online items available
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
Abstract: White House Central Files: Staff Member and Office Files
Kenneth Cole joined the White House staff of President Richard Nixon and remained a White House staff member for the entire
Nixon presidency (1969-1974). Cole served under Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs John Ehrlichman as his deputy
as well as serving as the Executive Director of the Domestic Council. In January 1974, after Mr. Ehrlichman's resignation,
Cole became President Nixon's head domestic adviser and was appointed Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs. Cole
remained in this position after President Nixon's resignation in August 1974.
Language of Material: English
Collection is open for research. Some materials may be unavailable based upon categories of materials exempt from public release
established in the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974.
Most government records are in the public domain; however, this series includes commercial materials, such as newspaper clippings,
that may be subject to copyright restrictions. Researchers should contact the copyright holder for information.
Kenneth Reese Cole, Jr. Papers, White House Central Files, 1969-1974. Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
These materials are in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration under the provisions of Title I of
the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-526, 88 Stat. 1695) and implementing regulations.
Kenneth Reese Cole, Jr., was born in New York City on January 27, 1938. Mr. Cole was raised in Scarsdale, New York, and later
in Westfield, New Jersey. A graduate of Bucknell University, Ken Cole served in the United States Navy from 1961 to 1965 as
a lieutenant. After his military service, Mr. Cole worked at the advertising agency of J. Walter Thompson under future Nixon
White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman. In 1968, Mr. Cole left the Thompson Agency with Mr. Haldeman, as well as several
other future Nixon White House staff members, to work on Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. Mr. Cole served as the Director
of Scheduling during the 1968 campaign. After the 1968 election, Mr. Cole joined the White House staff of President Richard
Nixon and remained a White House staff member for the entire Nixon presidency (1969-1974). Ken Cole served under Assistant
to the President for Domestic Affairs John Ehrlichman as his deputy as well as serving as the Executive Director of the Domestic
Council. In January 1974, after Mr. Ehrlichman’s resignation, Mr. Cole became President Nixon’s head domestic adviser and
was appointed Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs. Mr. Cole remained in this position after President Nixon’s
resignation in August 1974, and served President Gerald Ford until 1975. After leaving government service, Mr. Cole worked
for the Union Camp Corporation in Wayne, New Jersey, as Senior President. Kenneth Cole died on August 16, 2001, at his home
in Willsboro, New York.
Scope and Content of Collection
The materials of Kenneth R. Cole cover the years from 1969 to 1974, encompassing the entire Nixon Presidency. During his time
in the White House, Mr. Cole served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under John Ehrlichman, Executive
Director of the Domestic Council and Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs. In his position as Assistant to the
President for Domestic Affairs, Mr. Cole was President Nixon’s chief domestic advisor. As part of the Domestic Council, Mr.
Cole assessed national needs and coordinated the establishment of national priorities on outstanding domestic problems, recommending
to the President integrated sets of policy choices and policy advice on pressing domestic issues. The materials have been
arranged into five series reflecting Mr. Cole’s functions at the White House.
The five series are: Briefing Papers, Chron File, Notes, Speech File, and Subject File – Additional Materials added on 11/10/2011.
The Briefing Papers series includes the research materials used by Ken Cole and other White House staff members including
James Cavanaugh, Edwin Harper and Thomas Korologos to prepare speeches, position papers and reports to the president. Including
letters and memorandum, this series also contains a number of articles, government reports and statistical information. Subjects
in this series include energy, intergovernmental relations and the Kaiser Foundation. This series is arranged chronologically.
Within this series also includes a sub-series A Fugitive File which contains materials added to the series after the original
materials had been boxed. The materials in this sub-series deal primarily with speeches Mr. Cole gave on visits to Chicago,
Houston, and Arizona.
The Chronological or “Chron File” series includes all of Ken Cole’s letters and memorandum during his entire tenure at the
White House. This series includes numerous memoranda between Mr. Cole and Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs
John Ehrlichman. These memos discuss domestic policy issues such as health care, the environment, and taxes. Also included
in this series are materials discussing tactics for passing certain legislation through Congress and legislation the President
should review for a possible presidential veto. There are also extensive materials from various state governors asking for
federal assistance after a natural disaster. In these memos Mr. Cole offers his opinion to either Mr. Ehrlichman or the President
as to whether federal assistance should be given or not. The series is arranged chronologically, but in January 1974 when
Ken Cole became Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, the chron file is divided between staff memos and memos to
the President. The memos to the President contain mostly action items for the President to respond to immediately. Each section
is arranged chronologically. This series also includes two sub-series. Sub-Series A includes memorandum from the transition
period (November 1968-January 1969) following the 1968 presidential election. Sub-Series B includes materials from the Domestic
Council, which Mr. Cole served as the Executive Director.
The Notes series include Ken Cole’s handwritten yellow pad notes. These notes were taken during meetings with Mr. Cole’s staff,
Domestic Council meetings, Cabinet meetings, and meetings with President Nixon. While the majority of these notes are summaries
of the meetings events, they also contain Mr. Cole’s personal thoughts as well as drafts of memos. The subjects of these notes
cover a wide range of domestic issues including extensive notes on the American Indian Movement (AIM) uprising at Wounded
Knee, but also include some foreign policy issues such as the 1973 Yom Kippur War. From 1969 to 1972, these notes are arranged
in a strict chronological order with no distinct categories. However, from 1973 to 1974, the notes are arranged into three
sub-categories which include general notes, staff meetings, and meetings with the President. Each sub-category is arranged
The Speech File series contains numerous drafts as well as final copies of speeches given by Ken Cole and speeches given by
President Nixon. The series includes drafts of President Nixon’s state of the union addresses for 1972 and 1973. The series
also contains research materials used in preparing these speeches including government reports, newspaper and magazine articles.
This series begins in July 1970 and is arranged chronologically.
The Subject File series is the largest series in this collection and contains materials on various domestic policy issues
handled by Ken Cole and or the Domestic Council. Subjects in this series include the federal budget, campaign spending reform,
school desegregation and women’s rights. In addition to domestic policy subjects, this series includes materials on individual
political figures that Mr. Cole associated with. Such political figures include New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Philadelphia
Mayor Frank Rizzo and Georgia governor and future president Jimmy Carter. This series is arranged alphabetically.
Processing Note: Several of the folders throughout this collection are marked (Fugitive File #) or (CFOA #). “Fugitive File”
refers to boxes of materials that were determined to be part of a particular White House staff member’s office, but were discovered
after the original materials had already been packed. These materials were integrated into the collection’s series but in
order to maintain provenance a note indicating the fugitive file box number was placed on the folder. Due to the volume of
materials in Fugitive File Box #44 (which became part of the Briefing Materials series), a sub-series called Fugitive File
was created. CFOA refers to materials marked as Confidential Oversized Attachments. These materials were reviewed under the
guidelines of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 and materials determined not to be confidential
were integrated into the collection’s series. Any materials withdrawn from the collection will have a withdrawal sheet indicating
the appropriate restriction code. As with the fugitive file the original CFOA number was placed on the folders in order to
On November 10, 2011 newly processed materials from Kenneth Cole’s White House Central Files have been added to this collection.
These additional materials continue in the Subject File series of the collection and cover a wide range of domestic policy
issues. There are three sub-series that have been added to the Subject File series which include Bicentennial, Craig Gosden’s
Files and Health. Notable topics for these newly added materials include cancer and the administrations cancer cure program,
aging and the elderly, welfare reform, civil rights, revenue sharing, the American bicentennial, and reorganization plans
for the executive office of the president. All additional materials including the materials in the three sub-series are arranged
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