About the National Archives

Remarks for Nov 6 event "Congressional Drama: Midterm Election Analysis"

November 6, 2014

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.

The AOTUS Blog
What's an Archivist?

Good evening, I'm David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I welcome  all of you – here and on You Tube – to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives.

The mid-term elections were Tuesday and we now know, except in a few cases, those individuals whom the voters have chosen as stewards of our democracy for the next two years.

This year's mid-term elections saw some hard-fought campaigns, especially for seats in the Senate, and records set for the amount of money spent on campaigns for the House and Senate. Our guests tonight will help us make sense of all this in a few moments in a program we've titled Congressional Drama: Midterm Election Analysis

This is our sixth year as a partner with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress in presenting this program. I'd like to thank Barbara Kennelly, president of the association; Dennis Hertel, past president; and Pete Weichlein, the association's executive director.

I think it's fitting that this program take place here at the National Archives, for we play an important recordkeeping role for Congress.

Our Center for Legislative Archives, located here in this building, holds the official records of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and legislative branch agencies and commissions. It's a total of more than 500 million pages of records and more than 50 terabytes of data.  

Please note that we do not hold the personal papers of members of Congress, which are the property of each member.  

We have an active loan service sending House and Senate records back to Capitol Hill for use by congressional committees. We typically send between one and two million pages back to committees each year.

We provide research assistance to a broad array of researchers interested in congressional records, and we produce educational materials and programs to advance public understanding of the history of Congress and representative government in America.

Before we move on to our program, I'd like to tell you about two other programs coming up soon here in the McGowan Theater.

Next Wednesday, November 12, at 7 p.m., we will welcome Ivy Meeropol, granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, to present her film, Heir to an Execution, which is about the execution of her grandparents for espionage during the Cold War. After the screening, her father, Michael Meeropol, will join her to discuss the film and answer questions.

This program is presented in conjunction with our exhibit "Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures," which runs until January upstairs in the O'Brien Gallery.

The next day, Thursday, November 13, at 7 p.m., we will present the 10th annual McGowan Forum on Communications, and the topic this year is White House press secretaries. The press secretaries to Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Obama will be on hand to tell us what the job is like. NPR's Michel Martin will moderate the panel. This program is generously supported by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc.

If you want to know more about upcoming events and all our public programs, please refer to our monthly Calendar of Events.

Copies of the Calendar are in the lobby—along with a sign-up sheet to be included on our mailing list for the Calendar, either by regular mail or email.

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 Archives, especially our education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby or become a member online at archivesfoundation.org.

I'd now like to introduce Dennis Hertel, past president of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, who will introduce our guests tonight.

Mr. Hertel is a six-term former Democratic member of the House from Michigan.

He served on the House Armed Services Committee for 12 years and was chairman of the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee and ranking member on the Research and Development SubCommittee.

He also chaired the House Oceanography, Great Lakes, and Outer Continental Shelf Subcommittee for six years, and was on the Coast Guard Subcommittee. He also served on the former House Select Committee on Aging and its Health Subcommittee.

Please welcome Dennis Hertel . . .