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About This Project


Photo credit: Frank Wolfe

About This Project

The LBJ Telephone Tapes: Inside the Presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson is a collaboration between the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Foundation and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs.

Featuring representative conversations from the secret tapes recorded by President Johnson during his time in office, The LBJ Telephone Tapes provides extraordinary access to Johnson’s thinking on a range of matters, both foreign and domestic. Visitors can listen and read along as Johnson builds the Great Society, fights a War on Poverty, lobbies to realize civil rights for African Americans, and struggles with policy toward the war in Vietnam. They can also witness Johnson’s approach to organizing the presidency, campaigning for office, and managing the press—all “with the bark off,” as LBJ himself would have wanted. To access the entire body of Johnson’s recorded conversations, visitors can view the LBJ Library’s full collection of Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings.

By highlighting salient excerpts from more than 100 conversations and embedding each automated scrolling transcript within a wider set of historical resources—including photographs and biographies of the conversation participants, relevant entries from Johnson’s Presidential Daily Diary, and links to the LBJ Library’s finding aids and oral histories—The LBJ Telephone Tapes offers a curated experience for visitors. Full, annotated transcripts for many of these conversations are available in the Presidential Recordings Digital Edition (University of Virginia Press), the publication portal for the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Program. Conversation transcripts without those links exist as pre-publication draft excerpts. Support for these transcripts has been provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Visitors can navigate The LBJ Telephone Tapes via two menu options at the top of each page: “Browse the Conversations” for a general search, or “Search Conversations” for a faceted search. A timeline of Johnson’s presidency situates all of these exchanges within their historical context.

The LBJ Library is one of fifteen presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Use NARA's Presidential Library Explorer to discover more textual material, photographs, artifacts, audio, and video holdings about Lyndon Johnson. For descriptions of resources in the National Archives Catalog, see: LBJ White House Telephone Recordings and Transcripts, LBJ Oral Histories, and LBJ Daily Diary.