This collection is available in whole for research use. Some folders may still have withdrawn material due to Freedom of Information Act restrictions. Most frequent withdrawn material is national security classified material, personal privacy, protection of the President, etc.


CANZERI, JOSEPH W.: Files, 1981-1982 (4.6 l.ft.; Box 1-12, 1 Object Box, Small)


Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the: Deputy Assistant to the President (1981)

Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the: Assistant to the President and Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff (September 1981-February 1982)




Joseph Wood Canzeri was born in Schuylerville, New York on May 16, 1930, to parents who immigrated to the United States from Sicily. He grew up in Saratoga, New York. After serving as an Army infantryman during the Korean War, he enrolled at Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Sciences in New York, graduating in 1955 with a two-year degree in hotel and restaurant management. He managed various restaurant and resort properties in New York, such as the White Face Inn in Lake Placid, New York and the Otesaga Inn in Cooperstown.


Nelson Rockefeller, who regularly attended conferences at the Otesaga Inn, met Canzeri shortly after becoming governor of New York in 1959. When Rockefeller ran for re-election in 1962, he gave Canzeri a job arranging his campaign travel. According to Mr. Canzeri's longtime friend Paul Auchter, the governor was impressed with his ability to fix problems and handle details, large and small. "Joe knew how to go out and get a pizza at 2 in the morning, that kind of thing," Auchter said.


Canzeri continued as Rockefeller’s assistant after the Governor won re-election. He went on to manage the Rockefeller estate in Pocantico Hills, New York, and serve under Rockefeller during the latter’s term as Vice President (1974-1977). Canzeri came to the attention of other powerful families as well, and was asked to organize the funerals of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. He is widely credited with the use of the mule and farm wagon in the King funeral cortege. After Rockefeller’s death in 1979, Canzeri moved to Los Angeles to work for the Rockefeller family development company.


Canzeri’s duties as an assistant to Governor Rockefeller had been similar to Michael Deaver’s duties as a longtime assistant to Ronald Reagan. Deaver became acquainted with Canzeri while Reagan and Rockefeller were both governors. When Reagan ran for President in 1980, Deaver invited Canzeri to join the campaign as manager of the campaign airplane. This position as Deaver noted, can be like managing a hotel. "He made the Reagans feel comfortable, and Nancy loved him," the former White House deputy chief of staff said.


Once Reagan became President, Deaver brought Canzeri into the White House as his chief assistant. Canzeri oversaw arrangements for trips, state visits, media events, and other special occasions which involved President Reagan, Mrs. Reagan, or Vice President Bush. Dubbed “king of the advance men," by Sheila Tate, former press secretary for Nancy Reagan, he appears to have been expert at Mike Deaver’s specialty of “scene setting.”  He actually referred to himself as "Deaver's Deaver."


In early 1982 Canzeri was accused of ethics violations. He resigned from the White House staff on February 10, “to prevent embarrassment for President Reagan.” A subsequent Justice Department investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.


Canzeri founded Canzeri Co., a consulting and public relations firm with offices in New York and Washington. He did projects for the Reagan White House, the Republican National Committee, and helped Deaver plan the 1985 Inaugural events. In 1988 Canzeri was a campaign adviser to Republican vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle. His uncomplimentary comments about Quayle and his wife, made after the election, drew the ire of the Quayles and many others in Republican Party. Despite this ill feeling, he assisted in the organization of the 1989 inaugural activities for President George H. W. Bush. In 1992, Canzeri was one of the political professionals who initially signed on with Ross Perot’s presidential campaign. Canzeri died of prostate cancer on November 19, 2004. He was 74 years old.


Scope and Content Note


Given his emphasis on advance work and arranging a “picture” of the President, Canzeri’s collection is focused primarily on events and trips. The material within both series is mostly event proposals, draft and final schedules, guest lists, and memos regarding ongoing event planning.


His collection consists of two series: Series I: Events and Series II: Subject Files.


Both series contain material relating to events postdating Canzeri’s February 1982 departure from the White House. Canzeri dealt primarily with advance arrangements, working far ahead of the actual events. He often had material for dates at least six months in advance. We have retained all material such as this in Canzeri’s collection.


However, because of Canzeri’s sudden exit from the White House, some of his work was passed on to his successor, William Sittmann. Please see the Sittmann collection for additional Canzeri material.




SERIES I: EVENTS, 1981-1982 (3.8 l.ft, Boxes 1-10)


This series contains material relating to the only Presidential foreign travel for 1981, the 1981 Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-6), Ottawa, Canada and the Cancun Summit on “north-south” issues; visits from Heads of State of South Korea, Japan, West Germany, Singapore, Mexico, France, and New Zealand; the Vice-President’s trips to England, France, the 1981 Ferdinand Marcos Inauguration in the Philippines and the funeral the President of Singapore; arrangements for the former Presidents attending the President Sadat funeral; the private visit of King Juan Carlos of Spain, arrangements for Mrs. Reagan’s visit to England in July 1981 to attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer; the University of Notre Dame Commencement speech and the Gerald Ford Presidential Library dedication and other domestic trips; fund-raising events; the swearing-in ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and the ceremony to welcome home the freed American hostages and other White House and Washington, DC events; and assistance with the private visits of the Reagans to California and their California ranch. The material is arranged chronologically.



SERIES II: SUBJECT FILE, 1981-1982 (0.8 l.ft., Boxes 10-12)


This series consists of material relating to the Department of State protocol guidelines and rules; information for Mrs. Reagan including Frank Sinatra’s schedule, information on the new White House china; arrangements for the First Lady press office; an action plan of events and possible future trips for the First Lady and a special project on the Caribbean for David Rockefeller. It is arranged alphabetically.



          SERIES I: EVENTS

          Box 1

          Freed Americans Ceremony January 1981 (1)(2)

          Visit of the Pope to Alaska 02/25/1981 (1)(2)

          Baseball Hall of Fame

          Korean Inauguration

          Santa Barbara March 1981

          Ottawa March 1981 (1)-(5)

          San Diego-Tijuana Trip (April 1981) – Canceled (1)-(3)

          Cincinnati 04/08/1981 [Opening of Baseball Season (Trip Cancelled)]

          Address to a Joint Meeting 04/28/1981 [Speech to Congress]

          Suzuki Visit May 1981 (1)(2)

          South Bend, Indiana, Notre Dame Commencement May 1981

          Mrs. Reagan’s Mississippi Trip (Ticonderoga) May 1981


          Box 2

          Medal Presentations May 1981 – Cancelled

          German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt May 1981 (1)(2)

          [USG Delegation to the Funeral of the Singapore President May 1981]

          Astronaut Luncheon 05/19/1981 (1)-(4)

          California Trip 05/22/1981-05/26/1981

          West Point 05/27/1981 (1)(2)

          Kilpatrick Luncheon 05/31/1981

          Mother Teresa 06/04/1981

          Credentials Ceremony 06/04/1981

          Robert F. Kennedy Medal Ceremony 06/05/1981

          Mexico Visit June 1981 [Lopez Portillo Visit to U.S.] (1)-(4)

          Mexico Visit 06/07/1981 (1)(2)


          Box 3

          Mexico Visit 06/07/1981 (3)(4)

          [Lopez] Portillo – File #2 (1)(2)

          Prime Minister Lee of Singapore Friday 06/19/1981

          Vice President Visit to France, Presidential Advance Notes June 1981  (1)(2)

          Champions of American Sport Reception 06/22/1981

          Jacques Cousteau Luncheon 06/23/1981

          The President's Visit to San Antonio – U.S. Jaycees Meeting 06/24/1981

          California 06/24/1981-06/29/1981

          Virgin Islands Signing Ceremony Late June [1981] – Canceled

          The Vice President’s Visit to Paris [and London – June 1981] (1)(2)

          The Vice President’s Visit to Paris 06/23/1981-06/25/1981 (1)(2)0

          The Vice President’s Visit to London 06/25/1981-06/26/1981 (1)-(3)

          The Vice President’s Visit to Manila, 06/27/1981-07/03/1981 (1)-(3)


          Box 4

          The Vice President’s Visit to Manila, 06/27/1981-07/03/1981 (4)(5) – Small Object


          Official Visit of Prime Minister Frasier of Australia 06/30/1981-07/02/1981 (1)(2)

          U.S. Business Committee on Jamaica White House Meeting 07/02/1981

          U.S. Business Committee on Jamaica, Thursday, 07/02/1981

          Fourth of July 07/04/1981

          Jim Thompson Fundraising Dinner Chicago, IL 07/07/1981

          Mostly Mozart Concert 07/08/1981

          Pre-Advance to Ottawa 05/05/1981-05/06/1981, 07/08/1981 (1)(2)

          Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada 07/09/1981-07/10/1981

          The Prime Minister of Canada 07/10/1981

          Olympics Photo Opportunity 07/13/1981

          The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland 07/14/1981

          Labor Union Reception Drop-By, Decatur House 07/15/1981

          [Ottawa Summit July 1981] (1)-(3)

          Ottawa Summit, 07/19/1981-07/21/1981 (1)-(4)

          Ottawa Summit July 1981 – Cables

          California Advance Trip 07/23/1981-07/26/1983

          The Prime Minister of New Zealand 07/24/1981


          Box 5

          Mrs. Reagan’s Visit to England Background Material

          Mrs. Reagan’s Visit to England Master Schedule (1)-(4)

          Mrs. Reagan’s Visit to London (1)(2)

          Mrs. Reagan’s Visit to London 07/24/1981-07/30/1981

          [Mrs. Reagan’s Visit to London, July 1981] (1)-(5)

          National Conference of State Legislators – Atlanta 07/29/1981

          Cancun, Mexico, 07/31/1981 [Advance Trip for Summit Meeting] (1)-(4)


          Box 6

          Cancun, Mexico, 07/31/1981 [Advance Trip for Summit Meeting] (5)(6)

          Summer/California August 1981 (1)(2)

          Swaziland Jubilee August 1981 (1)(2)

          State Visit of Anwar Sadat, Egypt 08/05/1981-08/06/1981 (1)(2)

          Pete Rose 08/10/1981

          Bar-B-Que – Ranch 08/12/1981

          Condor Party Thursday 08/13/1981

          Los Angeles 08/17/1981-08/22/1981

          Los Angeles Fundraiser Monday 08/17/1981

          Winchester Rifle Presentation 08/18/1981

          Aircraft Carrier 08/20/1981

          Orange County Fundraiser 08/20/1981

          Santa Barbara Fundraiser 08/27/1981

          Reconciliation and Tax Meeting with President in September 1981

          Begin [Israel] Visit September 1981 (1)(2)

          Chicago 09/03/1981

          Labor Day Events 1981 – 09/07/1981

          Mac Arthur Corridor – Pentagon 09/10/1981

          Office of Public Liaison Reception 09/15/1981

          Black College Presidents 09/15/1981

          Senate Trust 09/16/1981

          Ford Library Dedication – Grand Rapids, Michigan 09/17/1981-09/18/1981

          National Federation of Republican Women – Denver 09/18/1981

          Solidarity Day 09/19/1981

          Texas Hispanic Event 09/19/1981


          Box 7

          Texas-California Barbecue 09/23/1981

          Sandra O’Connor Swearing In (Supreme Court)

          Supreme Court Luncheon 09/23/1981

          [Sugar Ray Leonard, 09/23/1981]

          Coleman Fundraiser Richmond, VA 09/24/1981

          New Orleans Trip 09/28/1981 (1)(2)

          International Monetary Fund 09/29/1981

          AWAC Luncheon 10/05/1981

          Prime Minister Prem – Thailand 10/06/1981

          Medal of Freedom 10/09/1981

          Sadat Funeral 10/08/1981-10/10/1981 (1)(2)

          Juan Carlos Visit 10/13/1981 (1)-(3)

          New Jersey/Philadelphia 10/15/1981

          Moshe Dayan Funeral – Israel 10/17/1981-10/19/1981

          Yorktown Background [Bicentennial Event 10/18/1981-10/19/1981] (1)-(6)

          Cancun [Summit], October 1981 (1)-(2)


          Box 8

          Cancun [Summit], October 1981 (3)-(5)

          Al Smith Dinner (NDR) 10/22/1981

          Jordanian Visit 11/02/1981-11/03/1981

          Irish/American Historical Society Dinner 11/06/1981

          Drug Group Interview 11/09/1981

          Veterans Day 1981 11/11/1981 – Canceled

          Houston, TX 11/13/1981-11/15/1981

          Briefing for the First Lady’s Trip to Los Angeles, CA 11/13/1981-11/16/1981

          Venezuelan Visit 11/17/1981-11/18/1981 (1)(2)

          White House Historical Association Reception 11/18/1981

          Young Artists in Performance at the White House 11/22/1981 (1)-(3)

          Young Artists at the White House Fall 1981

          Thanksgiving – California 11/23/1981-11/30/1981

          Barbara Walters Special 11/26/1981

          Bear Bryant Call 11/28/1981

          Cincinnati Visit 11/30/1981 (1)(2)

          President Mobutu of Zaire 12/01/1981

          Kennedy Center 12/06/1981 (National Archives check-out sheet only)

          Gannett Newspaper Reception – White House 12/16/1981

          Republican National Committee Christmas Reception 12/17/1981

          Christmas Tree Lighting 12/17/1981

          Cardinal Cooke’s Trip at Christmas


          Box 9

          California Christmas 1981

          Chancellor Schmidt 01/04/1982-01/05/1982

          Hoover Institution Reception 01/11/1982

          New York Partnership Luncheon 01/12/1982 (1)(2)

          Black Leaders Reception 01/15/1982

          Touchdown Club 01/16/1982

          Baltimore 01/18/1982 (Cancelled) (1)-(4)

          Prince Fahd Visit 01/19/1982 (Postponed)

          Presidential Taping 01/19/1982

          Eagles Reception 01/20/1982

          Second [Annual] Administration Staff Meeting 01/20/1982

          State of the Union 01/25/1982 (1)(2)

          Dan Rather Interview 01/27/1982

          George Will Dinner 01/28/1982

          Medical Reception 01/28/1982

          Franklin Roosevelt Luncheon 01/29/1982 (1)(2)

          Man of Iron Film 01/29/1982/Reception for "Let Poland be Poland" 01/31/1982

          National Symphony Tour February 1982

          Physical Fitness Reception 02/02/1982

          State Visit of President Mubarak 02/03/1982 (1)(2)

          Prayer Breakfast 02/04/1982 Washington Hilton

          Camp David Meeting 02/08/1982

          Political Swing 02/08/1982-02/09/1982 (1)


          Box 10

          Political Swing 02/08/1982-02/09/1982 (2)

          Hockey League 02/09/1982

          Diplomatic Corps Dinner 02/11/1982

          [Sammy Davis, Jr. 02/12/1982]

          State Governors’ Dinner 02/23/1982

          Belgium Visit 02/25/1982

          Joffrey Ballet March 1982

          Congressional Black Tie Dinners, March 1982 – November 1982

          Afghanistan Day 03/21/1982

          Italian Visit, 03/25/1982

          Folger Library Gala 04/22/1982

          Senate/House Donors Reception 05/04/1982

          Senate House Dinner 05/04/1982

          PBS Event, New York 05/17/1982

          Republican Eagles Spring 1982

          Events To Be Scheduled

          Turndowns (1)(2)



          Box 10, cont.

          Caribbean Project – David Rockefeller

          Congressional Medal of Honor

          George, Robert – Phony Santa Claus (1)(2)

          [Letter re: Italian Ambassador Visit Request]

          Manifest – Future Hitch-Hikers [Sam Pierce]

          Mrs. Reagan: [Mrs. Reagan January 1982]

          Mrs. Reagan: NDR Hospital Visits after Airplane Crash January 1982

          Mrs. Reagan: Events to Consider

          Mrs. Reagan: Tampa, FL 02/17/1982

          Mrs. Reagan: ACTION Program for Mrs. Reagan

          Mrs. Reagan: Mrs. Reagan’s Chron File

          Mrs. Reagan: First Lady’s Press Office (1)


          Box 11

          Mrs. Reagan: First Lady’s Press Office (2)

          Mrs. Reagan: Frank Sinatra Schedule

          Mrs. Reagan: Social Office Lists

          Mrs. Reagan: First Lady General

          Mrs. Reagan: China Presentation

          Mrs. Reagan: White House Tour Book

          Mrs. Reagan: [First Lady Staff List and Residence Redecoration]

          Press Conferences

          Protocol/State Visits: Procedures and Scheduling of State Visits (1)(2)

          Protocol/State Visits: USICA Support / Presidential Visits

          Protocol/State Visits: Background on Camp David Jackets

          Protocol/State Visits: Ceremonial Events: Arrivals, Historic Homes, Rooms, etc.

          Protocol/State Visits: Robert Whitley, Master Craftsman (Booklet)

          Special Projects: Eureka College (1)(2)

          Special Projects: Legal Case – January 1982

          Special Projects: Liaison – Former Presidents (1)


          Box 12

          Special Projects: Liaison – Former Presidents (2)-(6)

          Special Projects: NAACP Medal

          Special Projects: Presidential Inaugural Gavels

          Special Projects: Republican National Committee Notes and Letters (1)(2)

          Special Projects: Warm Springs, GA – Memorial to Roosevelt

          Special Projects: Washington Charity Dinner – Late 1981


          Box 13 (Small Object Box)

          Inaugural Medals of His Excellency Ferdinand E. Marcos 06/30/1981 (2)