National Press Club

This Week in Press Club History: NPC inaugurals are so much fun, President Hoover didn't want to leave

January 22, 2014 | By Elizabeth Smith Brownstein |

Jan. 23, 1932: President Herbert Hoover, weighed down by the Depression and re-election worries, vows to stay just 10 minutes at the inaugural of the Club’s new president Bascom Timmons of the Houston Chronicle. But once the festivities began, he didn't want to leave.

“This is good,” he tells his worried secretary, a member of the Club.

Badgered by concerned Secret Service agents, the secretary shoos them off. “For once, the president is having a good time. It’s the nearest thing to a night out I have ever known him to have. You fellows get out of sight and stay out of sight. Now beat it.”

Jan. 23, 1996: B.B. King, legendary blues guitarist and singer, tells a National Press Club luncheon audience there is a resurgence of interest in the blues. The lengthy roster of musicians appearing at the Club over the years, from rapper Ludacris to opera singers Placido Domingo and Beverly Sills, from “the King of Swing” Benny Goodman to composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs just last month, reflects the Club’s broad interest in presenting star performers from many genres of music.

This Week In National Press Club History is brought to you by the History & Heritage Committee, which preserves and revitalizes the Club’s century-plus history, through lobby displays, events, panel discussions, and a long-standing oral history project.

If you would like to know more about the Committee’s activities or to join it, contact Chair Gilbert Klein at