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The Office of Presidential Advance provided planning and support for all presidential travel and the local Washington, DC events involving the President. As a result, the actual “work” of the office quite frequently took place outside the confines of the White House. The Directors of the office, Steven Studdert, William Henkel, and James Hooley, spent a considerable time in the field, particularly in support of international travel.

Activities within this office centered round the “trip desk,” which was the coordinating point for trips and events, as well as other activities such as site surveys conducted independently of specific trips. The trip desk provided a method to accumulate all related material.

Records related to each trip/event were gathered during and after the activity and filed at the trip desk. This system allowed the central accumulation of records from the numerous “advance” volunteers used by this office. The files for local events and domestic travel were interfiled in chronological order. In general, international trips, generating significantly larger sets of records, were separated.

The trip desk generated books for use by trip participants. These trip books contain hour-by-hour schedules, travel details, scheduled events, participant lists, and background information. Some of the activities related to a particular trip could include: a site survey done prior to this trip, a pre-advance trip for establishing plans, the actual trip including departure and return, and in some cases, additional pre-advance trips, termed special missions, to deal with specific issues regarding pending meetings. These special missions were most often done for US/Soviet Union Summits.

The office has been arranged in 9 series: SERIES 1: Administration; SERIES 2: Events; SERIES 3: Domestic Trips; SERIES 4: Summits of Industrialized Nations; SERIES 5: US/Soviet Union Summits; SERIES 6: International Trips; SERIES 7: Cancelled Events and Trips; SERIES 8: Site Surveys; and SERIES 9: Santa Barbara Trip Desk.

SERIES 1: ADMINISTRATION (6.7 l.ft., 19 boxes)

The material in this series reflects support activities for the office both in the field and at the White House. The material is divided into seven subseries as follows:

Subseries A: Correspondence and General Administration

This subseries contains chronological files for the office, general correspondence, parking assignments and White House passes, car rental and hotel invoices, word processing disks and documentation, facilities use, and the Advance Office Seminar material. It is loosely arranged in chronological order.

Subseries B: Financial

This subseries contains budget and travel expense information. It is arranged in chronological order.

Subseries C: Travel Authorizations

This subseries contains travel authorizations for Advance staff members for the period October 1982-1988. It is arranged chronologically.

Subseries D: Personnel

This subseries contains personnel assignment sheets, experience records, general personnel files, candidate files, resume files and two sets of individual personnel folders. It is arranged in alphabetical order.

Subseries E: Photos

This subseries contains photo requests, photo lab orders and some photographs. The actual photographs were transferred to audio-visual for storage. The material is arranged in an alphabetical/chronological order.

Subseries F: Forms and Signs

This subseries contains copies of all the forms and signs used by the Advance Office in the field.

Subseries G: Specimen Trip Cover Binders

This subseries contains samples of the bound covers used for trip books for various international trips.

SERIES 2: EVENTS, 1981-1989 (28 l.ft.; 23 boxes)

This series reflects the documentation gathered for the trip desk for activities taking place in the greater Washington, DC area involving the President. These include White House events, such as the Rose Garden, East Room, etc. White House international trip departure and return ceremonies are not included here; rather, these are filed with the specific international trip. There are some exceptions to this filing system. The visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to the United States in February-March 1983 also included a trip to the West Coast by the Reagans, to host the British royals at the Reagan ranch. That material is included here. However, material regarding the visit of the Chinese premier in January 1984 is filed with the international trip to China later in 1984. The material is in chronological order.

SERIES 3: DOMESTIC TRIPS, 1981-1989 (40 l.ft., 35 boxes)

This series reflects the documentation gathered for the trip desk for all presidential travel outside the Washington, DC area within the United States. Included in this series are three trips to Mexican border cities: Tijuana (October 1982), La Paz (August 1983), and Mexicali (December 1985). All three of these trips were a part of more extensive domestic U.S. trips by the President. The material is in chronological order.


(13 l.ft., 11 boxes)

The records in this series reflect the documentation gathered by the trip desk for all trip planning and travel to and from the G-7 economic summits, properly known as the Summits of Industrialized Nations. During the 1980s only seven countries were part of this group. The summits were held annually and rotated to a different country each time the event was convened. For the Reagan administration, the summits were held as follows: 1981 – Ottawa, Canada; 1982 – Versailles, France; 1983 – Williamsburg, VA; 1984 – London, England; 1985 – Bonn, West Germany; 1986 – Tokyo, Japan; 1987 – Venice, Italy; and 1988 – Toronto, Canada. We have included in this series all documentation of the side trips occurring both before and after the summits. For example, the series includes the 1984 trip to the Reagan “roots” in Ireland, and the June 1984 trip to Normandy for the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of D‑Day, which were taken in conjunction with the trip to London for the G-7 Summit. In 1985 Reagan addressed the European Parliament, and visited the German military cemetery at Bitburg, as side trips from the Bonn summit. In 1987 he visited Berlin, and delivered his “Tear down this wall” speech, as a side trip from the Venice summit. The material is arranged chronologically.

SERIES 5: U.S./SOVIET SUMMITS, 1985-1988 (6.3 l.ft., 5 boxes)

The records in this series reflect the documentation gathered by the trip desk for all travel to and from the summits between President Reagan and General Secretary of the U.S.S.R., Mikhail Gorbachev. Material also reflects pre-advance arrangements on choosing a meeting place, setting up accommodations for parties and social arrangements for the meetings. For additional material on the planning for these meetings, please see the James Hooley collection. There were four formal summit meetings of Reagan and Gorbachev during the Reagan administration held in: Geneva, Switzerland, November 1985, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 1986; Washington, D.C, December 1987, and Moscow, Russia, May 1988-June 1988. This material is arranged chronologically by meeting.


SERIES 6: INTERNATIONAL TRIPS, 1981-1988 (17.5 l.ft., 14 boxes)

The records in this series reflect the documentation gathered by the trip desk for all presidential trip planning and travel to and from international destinations not associated with US/Soviet Summits or G-7 Summits. The material is arranged chronologically.

SERIES 7: CANCELLED EVENTS/TRIPS, 1982-1988 (1 l.ft., OA 18374)

The records in this series reflect documentation for the planning and travel of presidential events/trips which were later cancelled. The material is arranged chronologically.

SERIES 8: SITE SURVEYS, 1982-1989 (2.5 l.ft., OAs 19276, 19282)

The records in this series reflect documentation of trips made by the Advance Office staff to various locations to establish the suitability of a particular area or site for a presidential event. Staff surveyed various locations and established local contacts for future use in case of a scheduled presidential event. The material is arranged alphabetically by state.

SERIES 9: SANTA BARBARA TRIP DESK, 1981-1988 (2.5 l.ft., 18966-67)

The records in this series reflect documentation for planning and presidential trips to and from the President’s ranch in Santa Ynez, California and trips and events occurring while the President was at his ranch. Given the extended time President Reagan spent at his ranch during his presidency, it was more efficient to maintain a separate trip desk in Santa Barbara for these times. The material is arranged chronologically.

The Advance Office had their own copies of photograph contact sheets for trips and events by the President. This material was housed in 18 Oversize Attachments: OAs 10717, 10768, 10969, 11176-11178, 12800-12803, 13321-13323, and 15496-15498. The photographs were dated from 1983-1986. These contact sheets were transferred to the Audio-Visual archives and are no longer considered a part of this collection. The Audio-Visual Archivist transferred selected Advance Office contact sheets to the master set of contact sheets. The remaining Advance Office photo contact sheets constitute another duplicate set of White House photograph contact sheets.

Last Updated: 01/08/2024 06:07PM

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