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Then and Now: A Visit from Nixon

In this latest of a series of features showcasing images from Univ’s history contrasted to their modern photographic equivalents, we welcome a “tricky’ visitor to Main Quad.

Ten years before Bill Clinton, another future President of the United States, arrived at Univ, then Vice-President Richard Nixon paid a visit on 28 November 1958.

Having received a less than friendly reception on his South American goodwill tour earlier in the same year (his limousine was attacked by a pipe-wielding mob at one point in Venezuela) Nixon’s four-day whirlwind trip to Britain was somewhat less antagonistic and eventful. He and wife, Pat Nixon, arrived in Oxford on their final day in a beautifully ostentatious fin-tipped Cadillac, arriving first for a tour of Magdalen College, followed by a visit to address Rhodes Scholars.

In our two photos below the Richard and Pat Nixon can be seen entering Main Quad from Radcliffe Quad and meeting students – including a number of American Rhodes Scholars – along College dignitaries (he can also, shockingly, be seen standing on the grass!) Our then Master was Arthur Lehmann Goodhart, the first American head of an Oxford college, which also explains Univ’s inclusion on Nixon’s otherwise brief itinerary.

Footage of Nixon’s visit to Oxford, and to Univ, can be seen on the British Pathe website.

Explore the two sets of images below by clicking and dragging the slider.



Published: 24 February 2023

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