Schenectady, GE and Ronald Reagan

The Schenectady Museum pops up tonight in the HBO documentary about Ronald Reagan -- it serves as a backdrop for an interview with author Thomas Evans, who's written about Reagan's experience with GE. The not-yet-president served as a spokesman for the company from 1954-1962, and his time with the company is credited with shaping some of his conservatism.

Reagan's work with GE brought him to Schenectady a few times. At least one of the visits to the Capital Region doesn't seem to have been too pleasant -- from a letter he wrote to Nancy Reagan from the Hotel Van Curler in Schenectady (now an SCCC building) one snowy April day in 1960:

Now you might think [the snow storm] would curtail some of our activities -- but think not so. Nothing interferes with one of these d-n "nut & bolt" fiestas.
We arrived around 4:30 pm Sunday and by 7:30 were at a Country Club (Country Club??) for dinner with various and sundry G.E. executives (half the party were stalled around the country side & never made it) But we made it and in the meantime had showered, changed clothes gone to two radio stations for interviews and appeared on one TV program. And this was a leisurely three hours compared to the schedule that began Mon. morning with a press breakfast at 8 A.M. Try this with your shoes filled with snow.
It is, with some justification, I believe that I now employ my full register of eloquence to say -- "I have had it!"
Tonite I address a banquet of "execs" (G.E.) here in Schenectady -- and incidentally I resent it because this is my 3rd speech in this d-n town. I get in N.Y. tomorrow at noon and will film "opening & closings" all afternoon. But rest assured of one thing -- only you have seen this bitter side. I have been a smiling picture of grace and warmth throughout each 18 hour day.

Everybody gets cranky when they have snow in their shoes.

Letter excerpt from I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan.

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