- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mary Walton McCandlish Livingston, whose life was intertwined with the history of Virginia and the United States, died March 23 at Goodwin House in Alexandria from Alzheimer’s disease. She was 92.

Mrs. Livingston was born in 1914 in Fairfax to a family that was involved in the history and government of Virginia for generations.

Her grandfather, Robert McCandlish, was in the Confederate artillery at Gettysburg and her great-grandfather, Thomas Moore, served with the Army of Northern Virginia.

She accompanied her uncle, R. Walton Moore, a Virginia congressman, on a demonstration flight with Charles Lindbergh soon after his trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, and also on the inaugural flight to Bermuda on the Pan American Clipper 10 years later.

Mrs. Livingston attended public schools in Fairfax County and later National Cathedral School in the District.

She went to Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Va., where she was one of three junior students in the college’s first exchange program with St. Andrew’s University in Scotland.

After graduating in 1934, she returned to Fairfax where she was treasurer of the County Chamber of Commerce at age 22 and president of the county’s chapter of the Fairfax County Business and Professional Women’s Club at age 23.

A speaker at the club, Virginia Durr, introduced Mrs. Livingston to her future husband, S. William Livingston, in 1938.

After marriage in 1939, Mrs. Livingston left her job at the National Archives to raise her three children.

In the mid-1940s, she was vice president of the Community Chest, the predecessor of the United Way. Soon afterward, Mrs. Livingston was co-chairman of a joint committee of black and white PTAs that worked for equal facilities for black children.

In 1962, Mrs. Livingston returned to the National Archives where she worked on oral histories from the Johnson administration and the organization of other presidential libraries.

Mrs. Livingston also supervised the work on President Nixon’s early papers given as gifts to the archives.

Due to a change in U.S. tax law, when the gift was made it could not be used as a tax-deductible contribution.

When public indignation at the president’s non-payment of taxes on the gift forced him to refer the question to a joint committee of the House and Senate, Mrs. Livingston gave evidence that the deed had been improperly backdated.

Later in her 30-year career at the archives, she worked to authenticate the claims of Japanese internees after they were awarded reparations by the U.S. government in 1988.

In 1989, she received a certificate of commendation from the U.S. Department of Justice for her work on reparations to Japanese internees.

Mrs. Livingston is survived by her son, S. William Livingston Jr. of Alexandria; two daughters, Mary Petersen of Fairfax, and Elizabeth Useem of Merion Station Penn.; 10 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

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