More on "age-gate." Nancy Reagan's claim that she is only 60 has collided with some newly published photographs.
Last week the first lady celebrated her 60th birthday. By her own account. Yesterday, People magazine published childhood pictures of Mrs. Reagan suggesting that there may be new evidence to challenge her memory of her birthday as July 6, 1923. Until Smith College stopped giving out the information, her records there as an undergraduate showed that her birth date was actually two years earlier.
People has published nine photographs of young Nancy that show her with her natural father, a New Jersey businessman, and members of his family. One photo, which a People spokesman said her father's relatives told them was taken in 1921, shows her as an infant, scarcely a few weeks old, with her mother, actress Edith Luckett, and her father, Kenneth Robbins.
The pictures turned up in a trunk purchased at a New Jersey flea market 10 years ago by a Monmouth College professor who didn't give them much thought until recently. Enoch Nappen told the magazine he bought the pictures because of the tintypes among them, which he collects. A few weeks later, the vendor who sold him the collection told him that the pictures included Nancy Reagan's faoily.
They also include snapshots of a child named Nancy Robbins. In 1980, when Ronald Reagan ran for president, Nappen read that Nancy Reagan was the daughter of Kenneth Robbins but had been adopted by her mother's second husband, Chicago neurosurgeon Loyal Davis.
Mrs. Reagan's 1980 autobiography quotes her as saying that though Robbins was her father, "I somehow never could think of him that way because there had never been any relationship of any kind."
Yesterday, the White House said Mrs. Reagan had no comment on the photographs that show her at the beach with her father, swinging golf clubs with him, standing with his arm around her, smiling into the camera at the side of her stepmother and her paternal grandmother. One of them, a 1941 snapshot of her with Robbins, was published this spring in Lawrence Leamer's book "Make Believe: The Story of Nancy and Ronald Reagan."
Hal Wingo, an editor at People, said he had wanted to take the pictures to the White House so that Mrs. Reagan could go through them but she refused.
But Sheila Tate, Mrs. Reagan's press secretary, said the first lady would have liked copies of the pictures if People had, indeed, bought them.
"She loves pictures and would love to have them," said Tate.
Call it a belated birthday present, but People just may give her a set. Meanwhile, she saw some of them yesterday, in the copy of People that goes directly to her every Monday morning.
The White House has blocked out almost three weeks in November for President and Mrs. Reagan's Asian trip just in case they want to add a couple of countries to their already-announced oriental odyssey.
Deputy Chief of Staff Michael K. Deaver, who learned some lessons in pacing the president during the Reagans' hectic four-nation, nine-day European trip a year ago, leaves at the end of the week on the first of several advance trips to Japan, South Korea and Indonesia. So far there is only one rest stop scheduled (in Hawaii) for the Reagans but if more countries are added (and among those under consideration is the Philippines), another rest stop, on Guam, is almost certain.
A rest stop in Hawaii could give Reagan a campaign bonus with U.S. voters there (but not in Guam, whose residents can't vote for president) should he decided to announce his reelection intentions in November. And at least one ex-campaign aide, former press secretary Jim Lake, makes a good case for a November announcement: It was November when Reagan announced both his 1976 and 1980 candidacies.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos' tough guy talk about approaching the Russians on a defense pact if he doesn't get $900 million in U.S. economic and military aid, didn't go over too well with a group of congressmen last week in Manila. Nobody at the White House is yet saying how the threat will affect the Reagans' decision to accept Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos' long-standing invitation to pay a visit. That question is being deliberated by White House policy- and image-makers and, presumably, Deaver will take the answer with him.
While Deaver travels in the Far East, his wife, Carolyn, a public relations consultant with the Washington, D.C., firm of Mary Pettus and Associates, Inc., will be traveling in the Middle East with something called the Jerusalem Women's Seminar.
Cofounded four years ago by Canadian-born Phyllis Kaminsky, now head of the United Nations' information office in Washington, the seminar was intended to encourage dialogue between American and Canadian women and their Egyptian and Israeli counterparts.
In an earlier trip, Ursula Meese, wife of Presidential Counselor Edwin Meese III, then-Bendix executive Nancy Reynolds, and then-presidential assistant Helene von Damm, were among the participants. That trip was underwritten primarily by the Zionist Organization of America.
This year, 18 women, including Carol McCain of the White House Visitors Office, will make the expenses-paid trip. The estimated $35,000 travel tab is being picked up by some 60 private and corporate contributors, among them the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, San Diego State University Foundation, the Soroptimist Club of Cairo and Manhattanville College.
Besides professionals in their respective fields, members of the group have asked to meet with Egypt's First Lady Susie Mubarak and former first lady Jihan Sadat. But they pointedly steered clear of arranging a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin or his aides.
"We're taking along the mayor of Ottawa, who is a woman, and who will meet with the mayors of Cairo and Jerusalem, but otherwise this is a non-political trip," said Kaminsky, who may not go along with the group this year.
Carolyn Deaver, who leaves with the group Thursday, expects to meet with artists and museum officials to learn how corporate arts programs in both countries compare to those she works with in the United States. Wherever she is on July 20, it's almost certain to be near a telephone. For her husband off in Tokyo, the issue will be domestic rather than international politics. July 20 is the Deavers' 15th wedding anniversary.