Office of Speechwriting

Office of Public Liaison: Special Assistant to the President (Arts, Humanities, Education/Academia, International Affairs), 1981 (See separate inventory)


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This collection is available in whole for research use. Some folders may still have withdrawn material due to Freedom of Information Act restrictions. Most frequently withdrawn material is national security classified material, personal privacy, protection of the President, etc.



Aram Bakshian (1944- ) is a native of Washington, DC. In addition to his political positions, he has been a free-lance writer, art critic, magazine editor, Harvard University lecturer, and corporate consultant.

His political experience prior to the Reagan Administration included work as an aide to Congressman William Brock (1966-70), a special assistant to the chairman, Senator Bob Dole, of the Republican National Committee (1971), a speechwriter and aide for Presidents Nixon and Ford (1972-75), and a consultant to Treasury Secretary William Simon (1976-77). Prior to joining the Reagan Administration, Bakshian was working on the lecture circuit and was a Senior Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

In the Reagan White House, Bakshian served in the in the Office of Public Liaison from March to November 1981, then was Director of the White House Office of Speechwriting until September 1983. In 1987, President Reagan nominated him to a term on the National Council on the Humanities. The term ended in 1992, and that same year, he began in his position as Editor-in-Chief of the periodic journal American Speaker. He retired from the magazine in 2009. In 2014, Bakshian became a contributing editor of the journal The National Interest.


In addition to this small collection, other Reagan Presidential record collections (e.g., Office of Speechwriting: Speech Drafts) contain scattered material pertaining to Bakshian’s work in this office.

This collection contains two series: SERIES I: Speech Edits, 1982-1983; and SERIES II: Presidential Medals.

SERIES I: SPEECH EDITS, 1982-1983 (0.3 l.ft., Box 1)

This series consists of internal White House routing of Presidential speeches and statements written by outside entities or staff other than speechwriters. The material is photocopies of the comments and edits on this material made by Mr. Bakshian. It is in chronological order.

SERIES II: PRESIDENTIAL MEDALS, 1981-1983 (1.7 l.ft.; Boxes 1-5)

This series appears to have started while Mr. Bakshian was a staff member in the Office of Public Liaison. He was tasked with responding to recommendations for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, particularly if it was someone notable in the arts or humanities. He carried this material and function with him when he went to the Speechwriting Office. He continued to respond to these recommendations and maintained a file of names with background information for reference use in composing the awards speech if the individual received a medal. In addition, this series contains a series of edits and speeches for the February 1983 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners, and internal memos and notes regarding the presentation of the Medals. It also contains a small amount of background research and speeches regarding the awards of the Presidential Citizens Medal.

Last Updated: 03/22/2021 04:24PM

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