Rose Mary Woods moved to Washington, D.C. in 1943 following the death of her fiancé during World War II.  Through her work in a variety of federal offices, Woods met Richard Nixon while she was secretary to the Select House Committee on Foreign Aid and accepted his offer to become his personal secretary in 1951.

Career highlights: During the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, Woods claimed responsibility in a 1974 grand jury testimony for inadvertently, as she claimed, erasing approximately 5 minutes of a tape dated June 20, 1972.  The press dubbed her reenactment of the mistake “The Rose Mary Stretch” (seen above).

Skills: Above all, fierce loyalty to Nixon and his family.  Nixon, in his autobiographical book titled, “Six Crises” (1962), wrote that Woods had “that rare and unique characteristic that marks the difference between a good secretary and great one — she is always at her best when the pressures are greatest.”



  • The first secretary to be named “Woman of the Year” by the L.A. Times in 1961
  • Named one of the “75 Most Important Women in the U.S.” in the January 1971 issue of Ladies Home Journal
  • Cover of Time magazine on December 10, 1973

How are you fiercely loyal?  Leave your examples in the comments section below!

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