About the National Archives

Archivist's remarks for panel to discuss Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

February 5, 2015

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 welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater and to the National Archives.  Welcome also to those of you joining us on our YouTube channel.

In just a few moments a distinguished panel of historians will discuss the espionage case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed in 1953 after being convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.

The panel will explore the Rosenberg case in all its complexity, and emphasize different aspects of how Julius Rosenberg's spy network worked, and what it actually did to aid the Soviets.

The National Archives also holds many records related to the Rosenbergs.

For example, our New York archives holds formerly secret grand jury testimony transcripts and the Jell-O box used as evidence at their trial. Telegrams from Ethel Rosenberg and Julius Rosenberg's mother to President Eisenhower are housed at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas. We also have the Venona files, the once secret translations of decrypted Soviet diplomatic and intelligence messages intercepted during and after World War II.

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But before we get to tonight's program, I'd like to tell you about two upcoming programs taking place here in this theater.

On Thursday, February 12, at 7 p.m., join us for Jazz at the National Archives with the Airmen of Note, the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. Created in 1950 to continue the tradition of Major Glenn Miller's Army Air Corps dance band, the band consists of active duty Airmen musicians.

The next day, Friday, February 13, at noon, legal scholar Lea VenderVelde will discuss her book, Redemption Songs: Suing for Freedom Before Dred Scott.  A book signing will follow that program.

If you want to know more about upcoming events here 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.

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Now, it's my pleasure to turn the program over to our moderator for this evening's discussion.

Marvin Kalb is a James Clark Welling Presidential Fellow at The George Washington University and Edward R. Murrow Professor Emeritus at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge.

He is also a contributing news analyst for National Public Radio and Fox News Channel.

A graduate of the City College of New York, Kalb has a master's degree from Harvard and was zeroing in on his doctorate in Russian history when he left Cambridge in 1956 for a Moscow assignment with the State Department.

The following year, he joined CBS News ---- being the last correspondent hired by the legendary Edward R. Murrow.  

Kalb had a distinguished 30-year broadcast career, working for both CBS News and NBC News, where he served as Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, Moscow Bureau Chief, and moderator of Meet the Press.

Among his many honors are two Peabody Awards, the DuPont Prize from Columbia University, the 2006 Fourth Estate Award from the National Press Club and more than a half-dozen Overseas Press Club awards.

Please join me in welcoming Marvin Kalb and tonight's panel.