Lt. Governor Robert E. McNair became governor when Donald Russell stepped down to become U.S. Senator after the death of Senator Olin D. Johnson in 1965. Robert and Josephine McNair did not have near the time to prepare for the move to the Mansion as their predecessors had, in fact, McNair recalled only having about twelve hours' notice of the transition.
Mrs. McNair recalled that Mrs. Russell had a rigorous schedule of tours which she had to take over. “Mrs. Russell had scheduled any group of children, school children or adults, garden clubs, and all that wanted to come through, on a tour. I didn't know that I could not do that, so, I mean everyday, we averaged 3,000 [people touring the Mansion] a week, coming through the Mansion just to see it. And I had nobody helping me at that time, so I would have to do the tours and point out things that I thought would be of interest to them."
Although Mrs. McNair was provided a secretary to assist with all her duties, she always made a point to greet everyone who came through the Mansion.
Mrs. McNair, showing both charm and political acumen, also convinced Senate powers Edgar Brown and “Spot” Mozingo to provide an appropriation to buy china and other necessities for Mansion entertaining.
Visit SCPC to learn more about Governor McNair and his collection.