SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University has made available to researchers J. Paul Blake’s collection of news clippings relating to the Watergate scandal and President Richard Nixon in the Foley Library’s Special Collections department, on the library’s third floor. The 84-volume collection includes extensive coverage by The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as articles in newspapers across the United States.
The materials donated from Blake, a 1972 graduate of Drake University who spent his professional career in public relations, also includes a large collection of government publications on the topic and the hearings on President Nixon’s impeachment.
“I’ve had an interest in the relationship between government and newspapers since I was in high school,” said Blake, a Seattle resident. “That interest eventually led to changing my academic major at Drake University from political science to journalism.”
Blake, who has other newspaper collections concerning presidential campaigns, earthquakes, editorial cartoons and famous incidents such as the moon landing, said he didn’t realize at the time he started his Watergate collection how significant it would become.
“When I clipped and saved that first item about the Watergate break-in, I had no idea it would become the most significant political scandal in our nation’s history and the most extensive portion of my record books,” Blake said. “My hope is that by offering this material to Gonzaga University, students and the general public may gain a better understanding and greater appreciation of the role media has in our democracy.”
The collection also sheds light on the unprecedented scope of Watergate-related crimes and threats to our form of government as well as the remarkable process that resulted in President Nixon’s resignation, Blake added.
These materials are now processed and available for researchers. The opening of this collection comes at the 40th anniversary of the start of the Watergate Hearings and the 41st anniversary of the break-in of the Democratic National Committee, which occurred on June 17, 1972.
The collection is not available online. The clippings were originally placed in special albums. Gonzaga photocopied most of the collection and the copies fill four large document boxes.
For access to the collection, researchers should contact Special Collections Librarian Stephanie Plowman at (509) 313-3847 or via e-mail. Blake can be reached at (206) 818-7523. Special Collections summer hours are weekdays from 1-5 p.m. or by appointment.