Rare Nixon Autograph Letter to the Parents of Student Killed at Kent State Anti-War Demonstration

May 6, 1970

Add to History Board Share Print
Back to The Collection
Manuscript
See full images and transcript
Rare Nixon Autograph Letter to the Parents of Student Killed at Kent State Anti-War Demonstration
Autograph Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 1464

Quick Reference

      Background


      Nineteen year-old William Schroeder died shot in the back, with a textbook in his hand, on his way from one Kent State University class to the next. He had stopped for a moment to observe the peaceful student demonstration against the expansion of the profoundly divisive Vietnam War into Cambodia; but the moment was at 12:24 p.m. on May 4th, just as several Ohio National Guardsmen, dropped to their knees and fired off sixty-seven shots in thirteen seconds. Schroeder was almost four hundred feet away, and apparently fleeing, when struck down.

      Nixon, publicly, referred to the student protesters as “bums.” He never, in public, offered a word of sympathy for Ken State’s dead and wounded. This rare autograph letter, in private, was the best – or the only thing, he felt - he could do.

      Nixon, perhaps, wrote those last lines thinking of other young men cut down in all their youth and promise: his two beloved brothers – one younger, one older – and much later, the assassinations of John F. and Robert F. Kennedy which, many believe, paved the way for his march to the presidency.


      Excessively Rare Nixon Autograph Letter to the Parents of Student Killed at Kent State Anti-War Demonstration. Autograph Letter Signed, as President, 1 page, quarto, The White House, Washington, May 6. [Three of four letters postmarked May 8, 1970.] To Mr. and Mrs. William K. Schroeder, Sr., in Lorain, Ohio. With a typewritten transmittal envelope.

      Read More

      all pages and transcript

      Page 1/2

      Page 1 transcript
      THE WHITE HOUSE
      WASHINGTON

      May 6

      Dear Mr and Mrs Schroeder

      Certainly nothing can lesson the extent
      of your tragic loss, but I hope that
      the heartfelt sympathy of so many
      across the nation can in some measure
      ease its pain. Mrs Nixon and I
      have been deeply saddened by your
      son William's death, cutting off so 
      tragically a life so full of youth
      and promise.

      You have been, and will be, 
      emotionally in our thoughts and prayers --

      RICHARD NIXON

      Page 2/2

      Page 2 transcript