Fifty Years Ago, on December 21, the King of Rock 'n' Roll Met the President of the United States

Graceland Opens New Exhibit Commemorating The Meeting

MEMPHIS, Tenn.--()--Elvis Presley’s Graceland® will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the famous Elvis and Nixon meeting at the White House, with the unveiling today of a pop-up exhibit from the Graceland Archives “Dear Mr. President… Elvis and Nixon.” Among the artifacts displayed are the five-page handwritten letter from Elvis to Nixon, the outfit Elvis wore to the Oval Office, the Presidential cufflinks given to him as a gift from the President and the badge presented to him.

Elvis was an enthusiastic collector of police badges and the owner of dozens from departments and agencies from all over the United States. But there was one badge that he really wanted: a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. So, in December of 1970 he flew from Memphis to Washington, D.C. with his friend Jerry Schilling to hand deliver a letter he wrote while on the plane, to President Nixon at the White House. In the letter he offered his services in the war on drugs—as a “Federal Agent at Large.”

His arrival at the White House gates on December 21, 1970 proved effective. Following some confusion from the Secret Service and White House staff, after a few hours he had the meeting with President Nixon, gifted him with a Colt .45 pistol and asked for the badge he so wanted to own. Nixon obliged, they had their photograph taken, and the next day Elvis returned to Graceland.

“After Elvis, the biggest star in the world, asked me to proofread his letter to President Nixon, the leader of the free world, we ended up in the Oval Office of the White House,” stated Schilling. “Now Elvis’ letter is displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. along with such documents as The Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights. It was an honor to be part of this true American story.”

The official photo of this unusual event has since become the most requested in the history of the National Archives.

About Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Elvis Presley’s Graceland, in Memphis, is music’s most important and beloved landmark, with hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world visiting the historic home each year. Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) manages the operations of Graceland and its related properties, including Elvis Presley's Memphis, Graceland's new entertainment and exhibition complex over 200,000 square feet in size; the new 80,000 square feet Graceland Exhibition Center featuring rotating exhibits; the AAA Four Diamond Guest House at Graceland 450-room resort hotel; and the Graceland Archives, featuring thousands of artifacts from Elvis’ home and career. EPE also produces and licenses Elvis-themed live events, tours, and attractions worldwide. Graceland Holdings LLC, led by managing partner Joel Weinshanker, is the majority owner of EPE. Graceland is the only attraction worldwide to ever receive eight USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards: in 2020 it was named “Best Holiday Historic Home Tour,” 2019 it was named “Best Tennessee Attraction and Iconic Landmark,” and “Best Holiday Historic Home Tour,” in 2018 it was voted “Best Tennessee Attraction” and “Best Holiday Historic Home Tour,” in 2015 it was voted the world’s “Best Musical Attraction” and “Best Historic Southern Attraction,” and in 2013 it was voted the #1 “Iconic American Attraction.” In 2019 TripAdvisor named Graceland the most popular attraction in Tennessee, in 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards named Graceland one of the top 25 landmarks in the world and Rolling Stone named it one of 10 Great American Music Landmarks. For more information on EPE and Graceland, visit

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David Beckwith / 323-632-3277

Release Summary

Graceland opens new exhibit commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Elvis meeting President Nixon in the White House.


David Beckwith / 323-632-3277