…in terms of scale, scope, and educational mission, the closest analogue to be found is that of a presidential library.
– Robert Suiter, Winston Art Group
Walter and Leonore Annenberg were prescient in their early awareness that their desert home, Sunnylands, might someday qualify as a historic site. Both of the Annenbergs served as American ambassadors and shared a passion for history. They knew to save the attendant record of their property for posterity. Guest books, photographs, seating arrangements, menus, room assignments, and every page of ephemera produced to run a 200-acre estate were carefully filed away for future reference. They were aware that history was being made at Sunnylands and they preserved the record.
Among their first guests at Sunnylands, in 1966, was former First Lady Mamie and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eight U.S. presidents and many first ladies followed, including the Nixons, Fords, Reagans, George H. W. Bushes, Clintons, George W. Bushes, and beyond the Annenbergs’ residency, President Barack Obama. A variety of heads of state, international royalty, and leaders from government, business, education, science, entertainment, and the arts also visited.
The archives that Walter and Leonore assembled are currently catalogued and cared for utilizing the best in archival practices, and the ongoing record of Sunnylands visitors and activities are entered into the archives daily to ensure that today’s activities can be accurately told tomorrow.