It was a Eureka Moment when the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California was getting a housecleaning in 2010 and someone came across a cardboard box inscribed on the side with the handwritten words "R.R.'s desk." When they opened the box, a great treasure was discovered: years of Ronald Reagan's own speech notes, handwritten on 4x6 cards. These notes have now been organized and published under the title The Notes: Ronald Reagan's Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom. These were the speech notes that enabled Reagan to add bits of wisdom, historic quotations, jokes, one-liners, and political aphorisms in his speeches.
Some of these cards contain Reagan's original writings, and other cards contain his favorite quotations from the Founding Fathers, novelists and poets, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Webster, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, as well as pertinent quotes from Communists Lenin and Mao. All these cards were written in his own hand and organized by subject: On Liberty, On War, On the People, On Religion, On Character, and on Politics. The cards were kept in the plastic sleeves of a black photo album. The bunch called Humor was kept with a rubber band around them.
Anyone wondering how Reagan, called the Great Communicator, delivered his oratorical magic as a dinner speaker and statesman, will enjoy this collection of his Notes. It includes such still-timely words of wisdom as "Every time the govt. shifts to the left, the decimal point in taxes shifts to the right," and "Prosperity is something created by businessmen for politicians to take credit for."
The breadth of subject matter in these Notes gives a window into the mind of a great President who was very knowledgeable about culture and the arts as well as politics.
Listen to the radio commentary here: