National Press Club

This Week in National Press Club History

May 18, 2014 | By Elizabeth Smith Brownstein |

May 18, 1908: The National Press Club opens its first, small, rented home on the upper floors at 1205 F St. NW with a successful celebration attended by distinguished guests, including the Japanese ambassador, British Ambassador James Bryce (later Viscount Bryce), many members of Congress and the Cabinet, and Wild West Show’s Buffalo Bill Cody, who entertained guests with tales of taking Sitting Bull to see President Grover Cleveland.

May 18, 1956: President Sukarno of Indonesia, who had led that country’s twenty-year struggle against Dutch colonial rule, defends the postwar rise of nationalist movements in Asia and Africa at a Club luncheon.

May 21, 2010: Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the Washington Wizards, Mystics and Capitals, reviews his teams’ recent accomplishments at a NPC luncheon, and envisions the future of professional basketball and hockey in Washington. He says that the National Hockey League is in better shape than the National Basketball Association because of the salary cap “that protects owners from taking stupid pills.”

May 22, 1986: The first “Hoot” is held and becomes a twice-a-year celebration of the Club’s past. Silver Owls, Club members for 25 years, comprise one-sixth of the Club’s membership. Golden Owls are those who have been continuous members for 50 years. In 2013, a new category was created, Platinum Owls, honoring those who have been members for 60 years. At that time, 47 Golden Owls qualified for that distinction.

May 23, 2000: Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush holds a press briefing for over 200 members of the media in the NPC ballroom, with his senior staff advisers, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

This Week In National Press Club History is brought to you by the History & Heritage Committee, which preserves and revitalizes the Club’s colorful history through lobby displays featuring prominent speakers at Club events, panel discussions, and an ongoing oral history project.

For more information or to join the committee, contact Chair Gilbert Klein at