Thelma "Pat" Nixon (1912-93) was an American first lady (1969-74) and the wife of Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States. As first lady, Pat Nixon encouraged Americans to donate their time and service to volunteerism, continued preservation efforts begun by Jackie Kennedy and expanded access to the White House for previously marginalized groups, including foreign language speakers and those with physical disabilities. She traveled extensively, visiting nearly 80 countries. Though Pat had eagerly supported her husband's early political ambitions, she soon grew to resent the public intrusion into her family's private life. Though she continued to defend her husband from his critics, she was deeply wounded by the scandal that drove him from office, telling one of her daughters, "Watergate is the only crisis that ever got me down."
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Pat Nixon completed the White House renovations famously begun by Jackie Kenned: she added more than 600 paintings and furnishings to the collection, created the Map Room, renovated the China room and opened the executive mansion to evening tours so the American public could see the restoration efforts first-hand.
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