National Press Club

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March 12, 1908 – First meeting to establish the National Press Club is held in the Brentano building at 12th and F Streets NW.

March 18, 1908 – National Press Club constitution is adopted at the new Willard Hotel.

May 18, 1908 – National Press Club’s grand opening celebration in its first home at 1205 F Street NW includes Wild West Show star Buffalo Bill.

March 20, 1909 – NPC moves to its second home at 15th and F Streets above Affleck’s drug store.


January 31, 1910 – President William Howard Taft is the first U.S. president to visit the Club.

November 19, 1910 – Former President Theodore Roosevelt recounts to Club members his narrow escape from a lion during his recent African safari.

February 7, 1911 – Actress Sarah Bernhardt thanks the National Press Club for supporting her career.

February 14, 1912 – Magician and escape artist Harry Houdini appears at the National Press Club.

March 6, 1914 – NPC moves to its third home in the Albee-Riggs Building at 15th and G Streets NW.

March 20, 1914 – President Woodrow Wilson attends the Club’s housewarming party at its new quarters.

January 26, 1915 – Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan makes the first transcontinental phone call (for the Bell Telephone Company) from the Club’s lounge.

May 16, 1916 – President Woodrow Wilson warns of imminent U.S. involvement in the Great War in a speech at the NPC.

June 30, 1919 – Prohibition begins at midnight in the District of Columbia, and the NPC sells its beers and fine liquors to members for almost nothing.

September 23, 1919 – Cora Rigby of the Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau proposes a Women’s National Press Club.

November 19, 1919 – NPC members returning from World War I service found American Legion Post 20 at the Club.


May 11, 1921 – Future President Herbert Hoover becomes a member of the NPC.

December 15, 1921 – President Warren G. Harding, former publisher of the Marion (Ohio) Daily Star and an active club member, casts his vote at the annual NPC election.

January 6, 1926 – The Ebbitt Hotel is torn down to make way for the National Press Building.

April 7, 1926 – President Calvin Coolidge lays the cornerstone for the National Press Building at 14th and F Streets NW.

June 11, 1927 –The NPC holds a reception at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for Charles Lindbergh less than a month after his celebrated solo trans-Atlantic flight.

August 25, 1927 – The first tenant moves into the new National Press Building.

September 19, 1927 – The Fox Theater opens in the National Press Building.

1928 – Italian dictator Benito Mussolini applies for Club membership, but over ten protest signatures makes him the first applicant to be denied admission after NPC board approval.

February 4, 1928 – The National Press Building is dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge.


November 22, 1932 – President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurates the Club’s speakers program at a dinner in his honor.

March 2, 1933 – President Roosevelt signs the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition. The NPC bar is the first to reopen in the District of Columbia and is granted Liquor License #1.

August 23, 1934 – Movie producer/director Cecil B. DeMille speaks at an NPC luncheon.

November 21, 1935 – Political pollster George Gallup revolutionizes polling in a National Press Club speech, by correctly predicting the winners of the 1936 election by polling only 5,000, while The Literary Digest was incorrect after polling two million.

February 13, 1936 – UPI reporter Webb Miller becomes the first journalist invited to speak at an NPC luncheon.

January 26, 1938 – First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt joins the Women’s National Press Club.


February 10, 1945 – The famous photograph of Hollywood starlet Lauren Bacall perched on top of the piano while serenaded by Vice President Harry Truman is taken in the Club’s 14th floor lounge.

February 5, 1948 – General Dwight D. Eisenhower announces at a Club luncheon that he will retire as Army Chief of Staff to become president of Columbia University.

April 20, 1948 – The NPC constitution is amended to admit broadcast journalists.


January 12, 1950 – Secretary of State Dean Acheson outlines an American “defense perimeter” in the Far East that notably excludes Korea and Taiwan.

May 1, 1950 – The debut issue of The Record, the Club’s first regularly published newsletter, is released. It becomes a weekly in February 1966.

1953 – Ted Koop becomes the first broadcast journalist to be elected president of the NPC, and oversees the installation of air conditioning in the main dining room, lounge and ballroom.

September 11, 1953 – Crown Prince Akihito of Japan visits the NPC.

February 7, 1955 – Louis R. Lautier of the Atlanta Daily World and the National Negro Press Association becomes the first African American admitted to the NPC, by a vote of 377 to 281.

February 23, 1955 – The Club grants women journalists access to the ballroom balcony to cover NPC luncheons.

February 3, 1956 – The BBC scoops the American press by exclusively broadcasting the NPC press conference of British Prime Minister Anthony Eden.

January 14, 1959 – Following his luncheon address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower accepts his Club membership card from NPC President John V. Horner of the Washington Evening Star.

April 20, 1959 – Fidel Castro appears at a National Press Club luncheon and denies any dictatorial ambitions.

September 16, 1959 – Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev demands that women reporters be allowed to cover his luncheon speech from the ballroom floor.


January 28, 1961 – President John F. Kennedy receives his membership card from NPC President John Cosgrove, and is the last U.S. president to pay dues to the Club.

July 19, 1962 – Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. becomes the first African American to speak at the National Press Club.

November 22, 1963 – President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. The NPC’s memorial to the slain president remains in place for all thirty days of official mourning.

January 27, 1964 – Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine announces her candidacy for U.S. president at the Women’s National Press Club.

March 4, 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson unexpectedly announces at a Women’s National Press Club dinner the appointment of ten women to major positions in his new administration, two of them WNPC members. It’s front-page news on television and in the press.

May 11, 1964 – Women correspondents are allowed to report from the ballroom floor during NPC luncheons. The decision is reversed ten days later.

June 29, 1964 – NPC members vote 128 to 50 to readmit women journalists to the ballroom floor.

March 23, 1970 – The Board of Governors unanimously adopts a resolution creating the National Press Foundation.


December 8, 1970 – The Women’s National Press Club votes 113 to 6 to admit men and changes its name to the Washington Press Club.

January 15, 1971 – NPC votes 227 to 56 to admit women.

January 29, 1971 – Legendary jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong gives one of his last public performances at the inauguration of NPC President Vernon Louviere.

March 3, 1971 – Twenty-four women become the first female members of the National Press Club.

October 19, 1973 – Legendary CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite, club member since 1948, is the recipient of the first Fourth Estate Award.

June 5, 1974 – Two months before the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, Washington Post investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein speak at a Club luncheon.

December 12, 1974 – Jimmy Carter announces he is running for President of the United States at the NPC.

November 12, 1975 – The National Press Foundation holds its first organizational meeting.

November 20, 1975 – The Club holds its first Book Fair.

August 27, 1976 – Mohammad Ali and Ken Norton spar outside the NPC ballroom, before their joint luncheon appearance.

November 16, 1977 – At a Club luncheon, CBS News commentator Eric Sevareid calls the Club’s ballroom the “sanctum sanctorum of American journalism.” He continues, “It’s the Westminster Hall, it’s Delphi, the Mecca, the Wailing Wall…”

January 9, 1979 – Hugh Hefner and his Playboy bunnies attract a sell-out crowd of eight hundred.


January 2, 1980 – The National Press Club begins its affiliation with the newly formed
C-Span cable network, with coverage of economist Paul Volcker’s luncheon address.

November 18, 1981 – President Ronald Reagan delivers a luncheon address on arms reduction and nuclear weapons.

February 10, 1982 – Vivian Vahlberg of the Daily Oklahoman becomes the first woman president of the NPC and is sworn in by President Ronald Reagan.

June 5, 1982 – The Club celebrates the start of National Press Building renovations with a “Wrecker’s Ball.”

July 30, 1984 – Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam leader, addresses the club at a luncheon. Author Theodore H. White returns his Fourth Estate Award in protest.

October 22, 1984 – The Fourth Estate Restaurant opens on the 13th floor.

December 5, 1984 – Helen Thomas is the first woman journalist, and the first wire reporter, to receive the Fourth Estate Award.

April 29, 1985 – The Washington Press Club and National Press Club merge.

May 27, 1986 – The first “Hoot” for Silver and Golden Owls is held.

November 16, 1989 – Polish democracy leader Lech Walesa declares the end of the Cold War at a packed NPC luncheon.


July 9, 1990 – Eric Friedheim makes a $1 million bequest to the NPC Library.

June 20, 1991 – The first popularly elected president of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, declares “there will be no turning back from the path Russia has chosen.”

July 25, 1991 – “Friends of the National Journalism Library” is established as a 501(c)3 to support the library and its programs.

March 18, 1992 – H. Ross Perot announces he is running for president of the U.S. The NPC library receives over ten thousand orders for the audio recording.

September 14, 1993 – Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat is a luncheon speaker.

September 24, 1994 – The first Kalb Report, co-sponsored with George Washington University, is aired from the NPC’s main lounge.

October 7, 1994 – South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela speaks at an NPC luncheon.

October 17, 1998 – The first 5K race is run to benefit NPC scholarship programs.


January 1, 2000 – Members ring in the new millennium at a party in the Club ballroom.

September 11, 2001 – The NPC goes into lock-down mode and provides journalists working in the building with free meals throughout the day.

2004 – The NPC secures a $1 a year lease for the 13th and 14th floors through 2078.

January 21, 2004 – Sheila Cherry is sworn in as the Club’s first African American president.

2005 – NPC’s controversial painting of Greek courtesan “Phryne,” restored by the Fine Arts Committee of the Silver Owls, is auctioned for $80,000 to an anonymous Brazilian; the proceeds are allocated to the NPC archives.

March 8, 2005 – U.N. Goodwill Ambassador and actress Angelina Jolie creates a media feeding frenzy at the NPC.

January 13, 2006 – The National Press Club opens its Broadcast Operations Center.

April 27, 2006 – The joint news conference of George Clooney, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Sam Brownback, garners the highest attendance of journalists at an NPC event.

June 28, 2006 – The NPC is invaded by “toons” at its Nickelodeon TV characters luncheon.

January 19, 2007 – Bindi Irwin, the eight-year-old daughter of naturalist Steve Irwin, becomes the youngest person to address a Club luncheon.

May 14, 2007 – Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary, and veteran reporter Bob Shieffer, go head to head in the Club’s first Battle of the Bands (later dubbed “Journopalooza”).

Sept 24, 2007 – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the first to speak at NPC via two-way satellite and takes questions via Video Link because he is not allowed to visit Washington.

October 1, 2007 – NPC goes green by switching its energy sources to renewable means.

January 4, 2008 – A new documentary covering the NPC’s first hundred years is viewed at a gala event.

2008 – The NPC extends its reach beyond the nation’s capital for the first time with a national tour by former NPC President Gilbert Klein in a series of some forty forums on the First Amendment, Freedom of the Press, and the Future of Journalism, reaching an audience in thirty-five states.

October 16, 2008 – John Cosgrove receives the first President’s Award of Distinction for his fifty-nine years of service to the Club.


May 3, 2011 – The NPC hosts the awards ceremony for the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in observance of UNESCO’s annual World Press Freedom Day. Fifteen courageous journalists from thirteen countries receive the award in recognition of their unflinching dedication to press freedom.

September 11, 2011 – Women journalists of the Civil War are celebrated in a panel of distinguished scholars sponsored by the History & Heritage Committee in observance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

April 27, 2012 – Smithsonian Folkways releases Satchmo at the National Press Club-Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours, a Club-produced recording of Louis Armstrong’s concert at the inaugural of 1971 NPC President Vernon Louviere. This was Satchmo’s last recorded trumpet performance. The legendary jazz master dies five months later.

September 21, 2012 – Bob Woodward receives the fortieth Fourth Estate Award.