Local Author, Reagan Advisor Peter Hannaford Dies


Peter Hannaford, 82, who served as an adviser to Ronald Reagan when Reagan was governor of California, died at his home in Eureka Saturday night, according to the Eureka Times-Standard.

Hannaford later served as an adviser for Reagan’s 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns, and still later wrote a series of books about Reagan.

Hannaford was born in Glendale, California, and graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in English before serving as a first lieutenant in the United States Army Signal Corps.

When Reagan was governor, Hannaford served as an administrative aide and director of public affairs. Hannaford joined Michael Deaver in urging Reagan to promote his radio presence and accumulate money in 1974. In addition, Hannaford wrote first drafts of many of Reagan’s newspaper pieces, which Reagan then rewrote.

In Reagan’s 1976 campaign, Hannaford served as Reagan’s director of issues and research; in 1980 he served as senior communications adviser.

Hannaford and his wife Irene were married for 61 years. After Reagan was elected in 1980, Hannaford returned to public relations; his books about Reagan started after Reagan left office.

On Saturday night, before he died in his sleep, Hannaford visited Eureka Books, where he signed copies of Washington Merry-Go-Round: The Drew Pearson Diaries, 1960-1969, a book he edited, before he returned to his home, where he died in his sleep. After her husband’s death, Irene told Eureka Books co-owner Scott Brown that Peter had had a great time signing his books, according to the Times-Standard.

Former Eureka City Councilman Chet Albin reportedly said, “He was just a real gentleman, real down-to-earth and real honest, someone you could really trust.”

Hannaford’s books include: The Reagans: A Political Portrait (1983), Talking Back to the Media (1986), Remembering Reagan (1994), Recollections of Reagan: A Portrait of Ronald Reagan (1997), My Heart Goes Home: A Hudson Valley Memoir by Thomas Sweet Lossing, editor (1997), The Quotable Ronald Reagan (1998), The Essential George Washington: Two Hundred Years of Observations on the Man, the Myth, the Patriot (1999),, The Quotable Calvin Coolidge: Sensible Words for a New Century (2001), Ronald Reagan and His Ranch: The Western White House, 1981-1989 (2002), Reagan’s Roots: The People and Places That Shaped His Character (2011), and Presidential Retreats: Where the Presidents Went and Why They Went There (2012).


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