The National Press Club Archives documents the activities of the National Press Club and its members from its founding in 1908 to the present. Materials include books, documents, original cartoons, films, audio, video, oral histories and photographs that provide researchers with information about the National Press Club. Researchers can also request copies of some audio, video, and photographic materials for personal use or for publication.
Bibliographic guide to the books located in the Archives.
The series consists of the records of the Presidents of the National Press Club dating from to 1912 to present and includes memos, minutes, correspondence, photographs, reports, and press releases. Most of the records are on paper and is in fairly stable physical condition. Most of the collection has been processed resulting in approximately 28 cubic feet of records, contained in 28 boxes. The bulk of the material consists of records from the years 1967-1991. There is a considerable gap in the records from 1992-2001 and an increase in the amount of records resumes in 2002.
The President of the National Press Club is a voluntary, member-elected position and must be an Active member of the Club. The President is the principal executive officer of the Club, supervising the Club's business and affairs and executing decisions made by the Board of Governors. He or she is also the social leader of the Press Club.
The President's term is for one year, changing hands at the January general membership meeting. Soon after this meeting, there is a large, black-tie social event called the Inaugural Ball. The new President is "sworn in," usually by a celebrity or government figure.
The Board of Governors at the National Press Club is made up of elected members of the Club to serve a one year term. Only active members of the club may be elected to the Board of Governors. The Board oversees all club activities and serves as the main governing body for the organization.
Between 1908 and today, the club has hosted over 50 committees. Each committee was established by members to undertake various projects and social events. The committees are composed of members who volunteer to work with the committees to develop programs, improve various aspects of the club, or promote the club. Selected information about the committees and their records is provided below.
American Legion Post 20 was founded at the National Press Club on November 11, 1919, one year after the signing of the armistice which ended the First World War. The Post also was called the Pershing Post or the Black Jack Post in honor of General John J. Pershing. Pershing, who had served as commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force was an associate member of the Club, in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the War Department, then in retirement.
The Post has been an active part of the National Press Club since its founding. One of its best known projects was the sponsorship of the World War II canteen at the Club. Enlisted men from the Allied Forces were entertained at the Club on Saturday afternoons and Post members served drinks and hotdogs to all. Today, American Legion Post 20 hosts regular programs at the Club.
The National Press Club Book Fair began in 1974 as part of a plan to solicit copies of NPC member-authors' recent books. The event was chaired by Carl West of Scripps-Howard papers. Under the direction of NPC staff member Jane Fairweather and club member Paul D'Armiento the event became an annual fundraiser for the library. Each year the club hosts approximately 70 authors in the Ballroom in November.
The Book and Author Committee was established in 1970 to promote books written by members of the National Press Club. In 1974, the annual book fair was created as a way for members to promote and sell their books while benefiting the library. In 1991 the Board of Governors granted permission for authors to sell their books and donate the proceeds to the library. Since then the committee has worked to promote not only club members who are authors but also outside authors to raise money for the library. The records for this committee date from 1998 to present.
The Fourth Estate Awards were created by National Press Club President Donald Larrabee in 1973. The award, which is the Club's top honor, goes annually to an individual who has achieved distinction for a lifetime of contributions to American journalism.
The Newsmaker Committee was established in 1973 to serve as a forum for people, events, and organizations that are in the news. The Committee was originally set up to accommodate speakers who could not speak at Luncheons due to scheduling conflicts. Newsmakers also gave a special venue for many visiting foreign diplomats and heads of state who were not candidates for luncheon speeches. Originally the committee was called the Newsmaker Breakfast Committee and held press conferences at 9am after a full breakfast, the idea being to give reporters a good story early in the day. Breakfasts were dropped due to the expense and to add flexibility. As the programs grew the Committee began holding conferences at all times during the day and evening Monday through Fridays and renaming themselves the Newsmaker Committee.
The Oral History Committee at the National Press Club began compiling oral histories in 1991. The oral histories were conducted in several ways--by individual sessions, as part of a group interview, or at events such as the 90th Anniversary Celebration. Interviewees include long time members, former NPC and WNPC/WPC Presidents, current and former staff, Fourth Estate Winners, and prominent members of the Club. The Oral History Committee is seeking funding to transcribe all oral histories.
The Speakers Committee was created as a formal committee beginning in 1934 after the Club hosted several important speakers previous to 1934. It is said that a dinner honoring President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt on November 22, 1932 has been regarded as the beginning of the speakers program. The Club's Entertainment Committee originally produced the luncheons but by 1934 it was decided that a separate committee should choose the speakers and set up the luncheons. Today the luncheon series is the most well-known program held by the club. Luncheons can be seen regularly on C-SPAN television and heard on XM Satellite radio.
The records of the General Manager contain the daily operations of the club. The records contain information about events, building and club issues, club financials, and departmental operations.
This series contains membership records of deceased and former members of the National Press Club. These records have been heavily weeded and include only files for members who were past presidents, oral history interviewees, influential members, Fourth Estate Award winners, major donors, and well-known journalists.