Childhood & Early Life
Julie Eisenhower was born on July 5, 1948, in Washington, DC. At the time of her birth, her father was in the ‘House of Representatives.’ During her early childhood, he was a US senator from California. He was the vice president of the US during the tenure of President Dwight Eisenhower.
Eisenhower studied at the ‘Sidwell Friends School’ in Washington and later moved with her family to California when her father lost the presidential elections in 1960. In 1962, the Nixons relocated to New York when he failed to secure the governor’s post in California. In New York, Eisenhower studied at the ‘Chapin School’ and then joined the all-girl college named ‘Smith College.’ In 1971, she earned a master’s degree in education from ‘The Catholic University of America.’
She was introduced to the high society in 1966, at the ‘International Debutante Ball’ situated at the ‘Waldorf Astoria Hotel’ New York, where David Eisenhower was her escort.
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During her college days (in 1966), Julie began dating David Eisenhower, grandson of President Dwight Eisenhower. David was a freshman at the ‘Amherst College,’ 7 miles from the ‘Smith College.’ Both later mentioned that First Lady Mamie Eisenhower was instrumental in bringing them together. The two announced their engagement in November 1967, when both were 19.
At the time of her father’s presidential campaign, Eisenhower and her sister, Tricia (along with David Eisenhower), campaigned extensively. When she and David Eisenhower decided to get married, Nixon was already the president-elect. However, they both wanted their wedding to be a low-key, non-political, and private affair. Thus, she did not wait until after the inauguration to get married at the ‘White House.’
Julie Nixon and David Eisenhower got married at the ‘Marble Collegiate Church’ on lower Fifth Avenue, New York, the same church the Nixons had attended from the time they moved to New York in 1963. The reception was held at the ‘Plaza Hotel’ along Central Park South. This wedding brought together two of the country’s most prominent political families.
Throughout Nixon’s tenure at the ‘White House,’ Eisenhower was his most active defender and supporter. She also took active interest in issues concerning the environment, the elderly, and children. She represented her mother at various events.
Eisenhower moved with her husband to Atlantic Beach, Florida, when he was posted on the ‘USS Albany (CA-123)’ at Mayport, Florida, from 1971 to 1973. She worked as an assistant managing editor with the ‘Saturday Evening Post’ between 1973 and 1975. She was involved in setting up a book section at the ‘Curtis Publishing Co.’ She published her book ‘Eye on Nixon’ during this period.
At the time of the ‘Watergate’ hearings, Eisenhower defended her father and dealt with the press, giving more than a hundred interviews. She stood by him throughout the turmoil, till his last moment at the ‘White House.’ The sisters felt that Nixon’s policies had been misrepresented in the TV series ‘The Vietnam War.’ The two together wrote a letter through the ‘Nixon Foundation’ to clarify the misunderstanding about their father.
Later, Eisenhower and her family moved to Berwyn, Pennsylvania. She took active part in many community-related services. For more than 20 years, she was a director on the board of ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates.’ She was named a ‘Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania’ for her extensive contribution to the community.
Eisenhower is on the board of the ‘Richard Nixon Foundation.’ She was the chairperson (2002–2006) of the ‘President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.’ She has written several books, including the best-selling biography of her mother, ‘Pat Nixon: The Untold Story,’ and ‘Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower.’ She has written the latter with her husband David Eisenhower.
Eisenhower and her sister, Tricia Nixon Cox, have always been close to each other. However, after Richard Nixon’s death, there was a dispute over the operations of the ‘Richard Nixon Presidential Library.’ The Coxes wanted family control over the major decisions of the library. The Eisenhowers wanted a large board of directors, with professionals to take charge of running the library instead. In 1997, the two sisters were involved in a lawsuit against each other over how the library should be run. Later, the issue was settled amicably out of court.
With Eisenhower’s efforts, the ‘Nixon Library’ was included in the main system of the ‘Presidential Libraries’ in July 2007.