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SIMI VALLEY : Reagan Foundation Gets New Director

September 16, 1993|JAMES MAIELLA JR.

Nationally known historian and biographer Richard Norton Smith has been selected as executive director for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Center for Public Affairs, officials said Wednesday.

Smith, who is currently the director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum in West Branch, Iowa, will take the place of John J. Midgley, who library officials said resigned the post after less than a year.

Midgley was named executive director in October, and spent much of his time on the job researching the operation of other similar centers and think tanks and planning an ambitious series of conferences aimed at extending the Reagan legacy.

"He provided the (foundation) board with some essential information on their future direction and chose not to stay with the project," said Stefanie Salata, spokeswoman for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Smith is the author of seven books, including "Thomas E. Dewey and His Times," one of three finalists for the 1983 Pulitzer Prize. Smith most recently wrote "Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation."

Library Director Ralph C. Bledsoe on Wednesday said he welcomed Smith's arrival.

"I admire Richard greatly, he's a friend and a colleague," Bledsoe said. "He's truly a presidential scholar and historian."

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