Marlin Fitzwater papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk P2014.04

Level of description



Marlin Fitzwater papers


  • 1942- (Creation)


76.00 Boxes

Post-Fire Oversize Boxes:
Box 55 (23x3)1; 509S: 19/4/5
Box 54 (23x31); 509S: 19/5/5
Box 47 (9x12); 509: 20/22/4
Boxes 34,53,56 (23 x 31): 509S: 19/6/5
Boxes 35 ,57 (16.5 x 20): 509S: 19/3/2
Box 32 (17.5x21x4.5); 509S: 20/29/3

Name of creator


Biographical history

Max Marlin Fitzwater was born in Salina, Kansas, on November 24, 1942 to Max Malcolm and Phyllis Ethel [Seaton] Fitzwater. Raised on a farm in Dickinson County, he has used his middle name since childhood to distinguish himself from his father. He worked for the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle (Kansas) in 1961 before attending K-State for a year, and then was editor of the Lindsborg News-Record (Kansas) in 1962. While continuing at K-State, Fitzwater worked for various newspapers as a salesperson or correspondent that included the K-State Collegian, Manhattan Mercury (Kansas), Topeka Capital-Journal, and Abilene Reflector-Chronicle.

After his graduation from K-State (B.A. in Journalism, 1965), Fitzwater left for the Washington, D.C., area where his fiancee, Linda Kraus, was employed. They married soon thereafter and later divorced in 1980. They had two children together. He married Melinda Andrews in 1999.

Fitzwater's career in the federal government included the following:

1965–1967: Assistant in the Public Affairs Department of the Appalachian Regional Commission
1967–1970: Served in the United States Air Force
1970–1972: Speechwriter in the Department of Transportation
1972–1980: Press Officer and eventually Director of Press Relations, Environmental Protection Agency
1981–1983: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Treasury Department
1983–1985: Deputy Press Secretary to the President for Domestic Policy, The White House
1985–1987: Press Secretary to the Vice President, The White House
1987–1989: Assistant to the President for Press Relations, The White House
1989–1993: Press Secretary to the President, The White House

Mr. Fitzwater received the Presidential Citizen Medal in 1992. He worked on the television show The West Wing as a consultant. In 2002, Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, completed the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication in his honor.

He is the author or co-author of the following books:

Call The Briefing! Bush and Reagan, Sam and Helen: A Decade with Presidents and the Press. New York: Times Books, 1995.
Esther's Pillow: The Tar and Feathering of Margaret Chambers. New York: Public Affairs, 2001.
(With Woody Klein and Dee Dee Myers) All the Presidents' Spokesmen: Spinning the News, White House Press Secretaries from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008.
Death in the Polka Dot Shoes: A Novel. Terrace, BC: CCB Publishing, 2011
Sunflowers: A Collection of Short Stories. Terrace, BC: CCB Publishing, 2011.
Oyster Music. Tallahassee, FL: Cedar Winds Publishing, 2012.
Calm Before the Storm : Desert Storm Diaries and Other Stories. Leesburg, FL: Sea Hill Press, 2019.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The collection documents the personal and professional activities of Marlin Fitzwater. He served as Assistant to the President for Press Relations under Reagan, and Press Secretary under George H.W. Bush. The bulk of the records in this collection were produced and/or collected by Fitzwater during his years in the White House and in the following years as a lecturer and author. Items include memos, speeches, interviews, correspondence schedules, reports, and other documents. Items of note include correspondence to and from Presidents Reagan and Bush, newswires, briefings, records documenting U.S. and Soviet relations, economic summits, and other foreign and domestic policy decisions made during the terms of Reagan and Bush, Gulf War of 1990-1991. Other items of note in the collection include World War II ration cards belonging of Marlin Fitzwater parents, speeches delivered by Marlin Fitzwater after he left the White House, manuscripts and research materials related to his books, photo albums and numerous photographs of the White House period, posters, and numerous memorabilia items.

System of arrangement

The collection is organized into following series and sub-series:
I. Personal papers:
    1) Ray and Iva Fitzwater
    2) Max and Phyllis Fitzwater
    3) Marlin Fitzwater (including Linda Fitzwater and Melinda Andrews Fitzwater)
    4) Fitzwater family history
     5) Post-White House personal and business documents
II. Professional papers/records, 1976 - 2002
    1) EPA
    2) Treasury Department
    3) Office of President Reagan
    4) Office of Vice President George H. Bush
    5) Office of President Reagan (1987-1989)
    6) Office of President George H. Bush
III. Clippings, 1960-2002
IV. Memorabilia
V. Serials, books, special publications
VI. Photographs and posters
VII. Audio and video (VHS, Beta, audio cassettes, DVDs, floppy discs)

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The researcher assumes full responsiblity for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

It received accession number P2014.04.

Immediate source of acquisition

Acqusition Source: Marlin Fitzwater
Acqusition Method: Donation
Acqusition Date: 20140112

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Specialized notes

  • Citation: Preferred Citation: [Item title], [item date], Marlin Fitzwater papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Alternative identifier(s)

Archon Collection ID


Description control element

Rules or conventions

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding Aid Author: Ashley Nary, Franklin Pierce University; Volodymyr Chumachenko, Kansas State University

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