In 2002, when I was writing a book, the Legend of Proposition 13, I did research at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I wanted to look at Reagan’s radio commentaries, voiced before he became president, that discussed taxes. They were written in his own hand on sheets of yellow legal pads and were part of a special collection. Working through the Reagans’ close aide, Joanne Drake, who served Nancy Reagan until her passing yesterday, I sought approval for handling the original documents. I was told approval to do so had to come directly from Nancy Reagan. I had to wait a while, but finally I was told, yes, I could see the documents.
Nancy Reagan continued to protect President Reagan’s legacy and build the Reagan Library as not only a shrine to the Reagan presidency, but also a place to keep involved in political and policy matters by hosting numerous events, many of which she attended.
The last time I saw Mrs. Reagan was at the library at one such event. A few years ago, I accompanied my friend, renowned civil rights attorney, Connie Rice, to the Reagan Library as she planned to listen to and meet with her cousin, Condoleezza Rice, scheduled to speak at the library. Before the former Secretary of State was introduced, while the program’s moderator spoke on stage, Mrs. Reagan, despite being frail, sat in the center of the front row of the audience flanked by the Rice cousins.
The library, which she worked so hard to develop, will remain a legacy of Nancy Reagan as a center of policy and political matters, as well as a tribute to her husband.