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Additional Images
Primary Object
Ronald and Nancy Reagan
Title/Object Name
March 4, 1952
Paper, emulsion

H – 8” W – 10”

Artifact Descriptions
Black and white photograph in 1 ¾” mat, showing Ronald and Nancy Reagan cutting a three-tiered wedding cake. Written on the lower portion of the mat is the following:  “We had such a wonderful honeymoon at the Mission Inn!  Nancy Reagan.”
Artifact Origin Map

Historic Context/Relationship to Mission Inn/Significance to Local and Regional History

The Collections Movers and Shakers | Ronald and Nancy Reagan
Ronald and Nancy Reagan

Updated: October 6, 2006

n March 5, 1952 Ronald Reagan married actress Nancy Reagan at a church named the Little Brown Church in the San Fernando Valley.  Actor William Holden and his wife, actress Brenda Marshall were the best man and matron of honor.  Following a small reception at the Holden’s home, Ronald and Nancy Reagan drove to Riverside.  They spent the first night of their honeymoon at the Mission Inn.  In her autobiography simply titled Nancy (1980), she wrote the following:

“The manager had placed a beautiful bouquet of roses in the bridal suite. The next morning before we left, we delivered them to an elderly woman across the hall we had learned was quite ill.  It somehow seemed fitting to share our happiness.” 

In May 1, 1993 a “Grand Opening Gala” was held at the Mission Inn.  The hotel was closed in 1985 for restoration.  The work was nearly complete when in 1988 the developer went bankrupt.  The hotel sat empty until December of 1992 when Riverside businessman Mr. Duane Roberts purchased the hotel.  President Ronald and Mrs. Ronald Reagan were the honorary chairmen of the gala.  Although the couple was unable to attend the event, the President wrote in a letter published in the gala program,,

Nancy and I are very honored to be Honorary Co-Chairmen of the Mission Inn Grand Opening Gala.  A commemoration of this magnitude gives us the opportunity to celebrate the rebirth of one of our Nation’s finest landmarks.

As many of you know, this occasion is also personally pleasing for us because we spent our honeymoon at the Mission Inn.  Over the years we have always felt a great fondness for Riverside, and for the celebration of our life together at the Mission Inn (p.2).. 

In honor of Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s 1952 visit to the Mission Inn and the visits of the other US Presidents, a local artist, by the name of Bonnie Brown, was commissioned to paint portraits of the nine US presidents who had visited the Mission Inn.  The portraits are copies of paintings from the White House in Washington, D.C.  The nine portraits hang in the lobby of the Mission Inn.


Online Links & Resources

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Foundation

Ronald Reagan Presidential Librar & Museum

White House

  • Colacello, Bob and Harry Chase. (2004). Ronnie and Nancy: Their Path to the White House--1911 to 1980.   New York:  Warner Books, Inc.
  • Hall, Joan H. (1996).   Through the Doors of the Mission Inn.  Riverside, CA.:  Highgrove Press.
  • Historic Mission Inn Corporation. (1993). Mission Inn Grand Opening Gala. Riverside, CA: Historic Mission Inn Corporation.
  • Reagan, Nancy and Bill Libby. (1980).  Nancy.  New York:  William Morrow and Company, Inc..
  • Reagan, Ronald. (1990).  An American Life:  The Autobiography.  New York:  Simon and Schuster.
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