Ronald Reagan’s handwritten personal diaries covering his eight years as president from 1981 will be published next year after an agreement with his presidential library.
Publisher HarperCollins called Reagan’s private journal ”the most detailed presidential diaries in America’s history,” and said it had been seen only by a few people.
“When Ronnie became president, he wanted to write it all down so we could remember these special times,” Nancy Reagan said in the publishing house statement released Tuesday.
Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, died last year at the age of 93. He had lived in seclusion under his wife’s care for much of the previous decade while struggling with Alzheimer’s.
The former actor turned politician was mourned as one of the most significant U.S. presidents of the 20th century, though he was also seen by some as one of the most divisive. His tenure cleared the way for the end of the Cold War and historians will be particularly interested in his accounts of meetings with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
HarperCollins said it had signed a deal with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation for world rights to publish the diaries, which would be displayed in the meantime at the presidential library in Simi Valley, California.
“Each day during his eight years in the White House, Ronald Reagan recorded his innermost thoughts and observations in his personal diary,” said Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., chairman of the board of trustees for the Reagan Presidential Foundation.
“Although they were not initially intended for publication, we feel that these volumes offer an unprecedented insight into the Reagan presidency,” he said.
HarperCollins said the diaries, to be published in 2006, offered insights into historic events and the routine day-to-day life in the White House.