National Press Club

This Week in Press Club History: "Silent Cal" Coolidge has words for NPC

April 7, 2014 | By Elizabeth Smith Brownstein |

This Week In National Press Club History

April 4, 1974: Bill Russell, legendary Boston Celtics center (1956-69) and Seattle SuperSonics head coach (1973-1977) speaks about his legendary career to a luncheon crowd.

April 6, 2003: Michael Crichton, best-selling author, producer, director and screen writer, talks about his novel, "The Rising Sun," which raises doubts about the advisability of foreign direct investment in high-technology sections of American industry, particularly by the Japanese.

April 8, 1926: President Calvin "Silent Cal" Coolidge, clad in a cutaway and striped trousers, officially lays the cornerstone for the National Press Building at 14th and F Streets NW, and actually speaks, calling the press one of the “cornerstones of liberty.” The ceremony is premature, as the Club was still awaiting financing. Instead, the copper box containing Club records, gold coins, copies of all Washington newspapers, and other memorabilia resides in the Club president’s safe until it goes into the real thing several months later, with financing of the new building assured.

April 7, 1997: Whoopi Goldberg talks with flashes of humor about a variety of serious issues, including the responsibilities of the press (not enough positive reporting for young people), the National Endowment for the Arts, and campaign fundraising.

April 10, 1970: West German Chancellor Willy Brandt appears at a National Press Club luncheon on his first state visit to the United States. Brandt makes an impassioned case for the reconciliation of West and East Germany, and for improved relations with the Soviet Union, Poland, and other Eastern Bloc countries. Defense minister Helmut Schmidt, and Brandt’s successor as chancellor, joins him at the head table. Brandt receives the Nobel Peace Prize the following year for his efforts to bring West and East together.

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

For more information about the Committee, or to join it, contact Chair and Past President Gilbert Klein at