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Letter from President Richard Nixon to Kingman Brewster.
Kingman Brewster Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Bharat Ayyar ’10, Kingman Brewster’s Leadership

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Anyone who knew Yale’s seventeenth president knew Brewster despised President Richard Nixon just as much as Nixon despised him. According to Geoffrey Kabaservice’s The Guardians, Nixon’s Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, once remarked over a meal in Iran in the early 1970s that Brewster was the one man whose assassination would benefit the United States. While Brewster was an outspoken critic of the war, he never let his convictions disrupt the University’s operations, especially classes. Even in the midst of May Day turbulence in 1970, he allowed the faculty to choose whether to cancel their classes rather than order the University’s closing, as many suggested he do.

Here, Nixon solicits Brewster’s advice on how to best control the campus protests that had resulted in death at Kent State and in school closures across the country. Not one to pass up an opportunity, Brewster responded in a private letter with a scathing critique of Nixon’s policies.