About the National Archives

Archivist's welcome for "Codebreaker"

Thursday, October 27, 2014 at 7 p.m. McGowan Theater, Archives I

Who is the Archivist?

David S. Ferriero

David S. Ferriero The Archivist of the United States is the head of our agency, appointed by the President of the United States.

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What's an Archivist?

Good evening. I'm David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I'd like to welcome you to the McGowan Theater at the National Archives.

We're very pleased to present Codebreaker in partnership with the National Archives' LGBT employee affinity group, Stonewall-at-NARA. Tonight's film screening is being held in celebration of National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History month.

Before we view the film, I'd like to tell you about a couple of other programs we'll be presenting here next week.

On Tuesday, November 4th, at noon we will screen another recent docudrama film. Rebel tells the amazing story of Loreta Velazquez, a Confederate soldier turned Union Spy. Her story is one of the Civil War's most gripping forgotten narratives. Following the screening, National Archives senior military archivist DeAnne Blanton will discuss the film with writer-director Maria Agui Carter.

The following day, Friday, November 5th—again at noon—author Mark Harris will be here to discuss his book, Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War. Harris tells how Hollywood changed World War II—and vice versa—through the stories of five legendary American film directors: John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens. Stay around after the booksigning for the 2 p.m. screening of John Huston's 1946 documentary made for the U.S. Army, Let There Be Light, recently restored by the National Archives motion picture preservation team.

And tomorrow we begin our three-day Virtual Genealogy Fair. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday you'll be able to learn and ask questions about family history resources in Federal records through sessions broadcast over the Internet. Get all the details on Archives.gov—just search for "Genealogy Fair."

To learn more about these and all of our public programs and exhibits, consult our monthly Calendar of Events, in print or online. There are copies in the lobby—along with a sign-up sheet so you can receive the Calendar by regular mail or email. You'll also find brochures about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved in the National Archives is to become a member of the Foundation for the National Archives. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby.

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Codebreaker tells the story of the brilliant mathematician Alan Turing. During World War II, his breakthrough in cracking the Germans' Enigma code gave the Allies a vital advantage and likely helped shorten the war. His works written immediately after the war anticipated later developments in artificial intelligence.

In just a few short years, however, this genius was driven to despair and an early death. He was arrested and convicted in 1952 of "gross indecency" with another man, and he committed suicide two years later.

I'm pleased to welcome Patrick Sammon, the film's executive producer, to introduce tonight's film and tell us more about Turing's story.

Patrick Sammon is president of Story Center Productions, a documentary production company based in Washington, DC. Before moving to Washington, Sammon was an award-winning television news reporter. He served as president of Log Cabin Republicans and Liberty Education Forum from late 2006 until early 2009. Log Cabin advocates for gay rights in the Republican Party on behalf of its 20,000 members. Liberty Education Forum educates conservatives and people of faith about the importance of equality for gay and lesbian people. He has appeared on national television news programs including CNN's Larry King Live, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Hardball with Chris Matthews, ABC's Good Morning America, and ABC World News.

After the screening, he will take some questions from the audience.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Patrick Sammon. . .