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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 Some folders may still have withdrawn material due to Freedom of Information Act restrictions. Most frequently withdrawn material is national security classified material, personal privacy, protection of the President, etc.

 

Office Description

The office provided form letters with the President’s signature, form letters sent out from various staff and office members, and form letters sent out under the signature of Anne V. Higgins, Special Assistant to the President for Correspondence and the Director of the White House Office of Correspondence. It is unclear to us how the Office determined whether correspondence required a Presidential signature or Ms. Higgins. Generally her correspondence tends to be more routine requests and responses, but there are exceptions.

The President’s form letters and Higgins’s form letters also included specific letters for youth and children’s mail.

Form letters were coded with an alpha-numeric identification. These codes can be found throughout the entire White House documents collection, but most especially in the White House Office of Records Management Subject File and Alphabetical File. Incoming mail is often marked with just the alpha-numeric form letter code to indicate how to respond. You may also find the code in the reference line in outgoing correspondence.

Material for each alpha-numeric code often contains drafts, edits, input from the Office of Policy Development and the final version used. There can be multiple versions of the same code reflecting edits of the code due to time and circumstances. In addition, the office reused code numbers once they determined a form response was obsolete. Since we have given the topic for each code researchers can easily distinguish between the reused code numbers.

The Office of Correspondence was also responsible for the writing, editing and printing of Presidential Proclamations. The Office records include a full set of the ceremonial Proclamations for the Reagan administration.

Special letters and messages were continually requested by the public for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and other notable occasions. These records also contain samples of these pre-printed special messages and items sent out with various letters.

The Library has divided the other various specific functions within the White House Office of Correspondence into separate collections. Please see the following for more records from the Office of Correspondence: Agency Liaison (Sally Kelly collection), Comments and Volunteers, Mail Analysis, Mail Room, Special Presidential Messages and Special Letter Responses

Description

This collection consists of various functions within the Office of Correspondence most notably the outgoing response form letters used by the White House during the Reagan administration. Form letters were sent in response to public correspondence including specific requests from the public for appointments, items, etc.; support or opposition to various policies or actions of the administration; recommendations of personnel; and personal support for the President and his health.

The White House Office of Correspondence is composed of 9 series: SERIES I: “Response to Public” Form Letters Signed by Anne V. Higgins, SERIES II: Enclosures and Background Information for Higgins Form Letters; SERIES III: “Response to Public” Form Letters signed by the President; SERIES IV: “Response to Public” Form Letters Signed by White House Staff Members; SERIES V: Alphabetical File; SERIES VI: Acknowledgement Cards; SERIES VII: Photographs; SERIES VIII: Reference File; and SERIES IX: Proclamations.

 

SERIES I: “RESPONSE TO PUBLIC” FORM LETTERS SIGNED BY ANNE V. HIGGINS, 1981-1989 (11.5 l.ft; Box 1-29)

This series consists of material relating to form letters created to respond to various requests to the President for autographs, photos, auction or charity items, donation of money or gifts to the President, and for various causes and individuals; get well messages, birthday and anniversary messages, requests for proclamations, support for various issues, opposition to various issues, praise for the President’s speeches and performance and criticism of the President’s performance. Each file consists of drafts of these letters, edits, comments from the Office of Policy Development or the National Security Council on content of the responses; and often numerous versions of the draft updated for new information and/or continuing edits to the outgoing letters.

The material is arranged by the alpha-numeric code given to each form letter.

SERIES II: ENCLOSURES USED FOR “AVH” RESPONSE LETTERS (0.5 l.ft.; Box 29-31)

This series consists of the President’s radio address for November 1987-Februrary 1988; the State of the Union for 1988 and accompanying fact sheets and full 1988 legislative and administrative agenda; proclamations on POW/MIA and the sanctity of human life; Economic Bill of Rights, fact sheets on drought relief, the African famine, catastrophic health care and pro-family initiatives; press releases of the President’s statements on signing the Japanese Internment legislation; State Department and presidential remarks on the Central America and Nicaragua conflicts with the United States; and AIDS publications and fact sheets. The material is entirely from 1987 and 1988. Folders are marked with the alpha-numeric “AVH” codes indicating which enclosure went with which letter. ‘AVH” form letters were often considered obsolete at a certain point and it appears enclosures were not kept for these earlier form letters.

SERIES III: “RESPONSE TO PUBLIC” FORM LETTERS SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT, 1981-1988 (3.2 l.ft.; Box 31-39)

This series consists of material relating to form letters created to respond to various correspondence to the President regarding birthdays, anniversaries, get-well messages; sending spiritual and prayer support; support or views on the economy, Lebanon, Grenada, Central America, Right to Life, nuclear arms, US-Soviet relations, Radio Marti and various other issues; condolence messages; retirement messages to military, police, firemen, civil servants, etc.; responses to donors/non-donors to the Republican party; thank-you letters for assistance on foreign and domestic trips; and youth letters on these subjects and other holidays and school graduations. It is arranged by alpha-numeric code.

SERIES IV: RESPONSE TO PUBLIC FORM LETTERS SIGNED BY WHITE HOUSE STAFF MEMBERS, 1981-1988 (6.6 l.ft.; Box 39-57)

This series consist of material relating to form letters created for various White House staff members and their assistants in response to large volumes of public mail on a specific issue. The material is generally regarding requests for positions; recommendations of individuals for positions; requests for appointments with individuals, the President or the First Lady; some response on views and support; and requests for items, photos or autographs from staff members, the President or the First Lady. The form letters were not used by all staff members or offices and tends to be concentrated in offices where administrative support was limited and assistance was needed from the Office of Correspondence. This is predominately the Office of the First Lady, Presidential Personnel and Appointment and Scheduling. The material is arranged alphabetically by staff member name and then by alpha-numeric code.

SERIES V: ALPHBETICAL FILE. 1981-1989 (1.7 l.ft.; Box 58-62)

This series consists of material relating to published reviews of President Reagan’s accomplishments for the first two years and the first seven years of his administration; recipe cards often requested by the public; booklet copies of the State of Union addresses; booklets on the White House and the White House grounds; State and Defense Department publications on various foreign/military policy issues such as the Central American conflict, the Soviet military power, the Strategic Defense Initiative; printed booklets of the President’s Saturday radio addresses; a binder with numbered entries for a group of letter enclosures; some masters and copies of the response to public form letters; and reference fact sheets on the President and Mrs. Reagan and the Presidency. A great many of these items were used as enclosures with the form letter responses to the public. There is small sampling of White House stationary, but no evidence the items were actually used at the White House; In addition, there are several additional subject items regarding a request about the President’s hearing aids and a tape of comments from the staff answering children’s letters. This material is arranged alphabetically.

SERIES VI: ACKNOWLEDGEMENT CARDS, 1981-1989 (0.2 l.ft; Box 62)

This series consists of sample copies of the pre-printed signed acknowledgment cards sent to the public for anniversaries including a special 50th anniversary card; birthdays including a special birthday message for people over eighty; thank-yous for support, prayers and get-well messages; retirement; marriage; Eagle Scouts; graduation; birth of a child; and sympathy cards. There are also two acknowledgement cards just from First Lady Nancy Reagan used for the general public mail after the assassination attempt on President Reagan and thank-you cards for get-well messages when the First Lady was diagnosed with breast cancer.

SERIES VII: PHOTOGRAPHS, 1981-1989 (0.4 l.ft.; Box 62-63)

This series consists of sample copies of photographs of the President, First Lady, Cabinet members, the White House and Reagan family participating in events at the White House, Camp David and various locations. These photographs were sent out in response to public requests for photographs. About one-third of the items are lithographs instead of photographs.

SERIES VIII: REFERENCE FILE (2.4 l.ft.; Box 64-69)

This series consists of material relating to responses to reference questions directed to the President and the White House from the general public regarding the Presidency; the functions and physical setting of the White House; and a multitude of subjects ranging from the All-Volunteer Army to Winston Churchill. The material consists of news clippings; typed notes; handwritten notes; sample form letters, copies of outgoing and some incoming correspondence; and sample paragraphs for letters. The material is dated from as early as 1944 and continues through 1977 and the early Jimmy Carter administration. It appears the usage of these items was slowly transferred to some online or digitized format and the Carter and Reagan administrations did not add much to these files. The material also provides a historical record of response to public form letters created in the Office of Correspondence.

SERIES IX: PROCLAMATIONS, 1981-1989 (6.8 l.ft:; Box 70-86)

This series consists of a copy of Proclamations issued or legislate annually by the President. There is no other accompanying material with the Proclamations. The Library has not been able to determine if this is a complete list of Proclamations issued during the Reagan administration but it is a fairly comprehensive list. It is arranged alphabetically by year.

Last Updated: 02/13/2024 10:15PM

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