From the Library of Congress:
The Library of Congress unveiled today a new curated web presentation—“Food for Thought: Presidents, Prime Ministers, and other National Press Club Luncheon Speakers, 1954-1989”—that features speeches by some of the world’s most important newsmakers, including presidents, international leaders and other political and cultural icons of the period.
[Our emphasis] Most of these select speeches from the Library’s National Press Club Collection have not been heard in their entirety since they were initially delivered. The online presentation spans 35 years and accompanying essays put relevant historical context around the topics discussed by the speakers.
“In recognition of the historical importance of the luncheon talks, the Library of Congress has undertaken to digitize the complete National Press Club collection of recordings,” said Eugene DeAnna, head of the Library’s Recorded Sound Section, part of the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation.
Researchers visiting our Recorded Sound Research Center can listen to any of the hundreds of speeches, but we have selected talks by some of the most distinguished speakers. This enlightening online presentation has great potential for use in the classroom because audio has the ability to convey experience and ideas more powerfully than the written word. It can grab a student’s attention due to its power to establish an experiential connection between listener and speaker,” he said.
The selections to the online presentation are part of a trove of nearly 2,000 historic sound recordings in the National Press Club Collection. The selected speakers include:
- Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton, Aug. 27, 1976
- James Baldwin, Dec. 10, 1986
- Menachem Begin, March 23, 1978
- Leonard Bernstein, Oct. 13, 1959
- James H. Billington, Jan. 12, 1989
- George H.W. Bush, March 20, 1981
- Jimmy Carter, Oct. 14, 1980
- Fidel Castro, April 20, 1959
- Charles de Gaulle, April 23, 1960
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jan. 14, 1959
- Gerald R. Ford, June 6, 1988
- Audrey Hepburn, April 7, 1989
- Alfred Hitchcock, March 14, 1963
- Herbert Hoover, March 10, 1954
- Bob Hope, July 8, 1980
- Nikita Khrushchev, Sept. 16, 1959
- Edward R. Murrow, May 24, 1961
- Richard M. Nixon, May 21, 1958
- A. Philip Randolph, Aug. 26, 1963
- Ronald Reagan, June 16, 1966
- Anwar Sadat, Feb. 6, 1978
- Jonas Salk, April 12, 1965
- Adlai E. Stevenson, June 26, 1961
- Margaret Thatcher, Sept. 19, 1975
- Harry S. Truman, May 10, 1954, April 12, 1958, Dec. 8, 1958, Nov. 2, 1961
Since 1932, the National Press Club has hosted luncheon gatherings that have allowed presidents, visiting world leaders and other public figures to address the press and answer questions about important current affairs. In 1969, the club donated its collection of audiotapes, which it began recording in 1952.