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Welcome Remarks for "Frank and Al: FDR, Al Smith, and the Unlikely Alliance that Created the Modern Democratic Party"

Welcome Remarks for "Frank and Al: FDR, Al Smith, and the Unlikely Alliance that Created the Modern Democratic Party"
McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
December 11, 2018


Good afternoon, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us today, whether you are here in the theater or joining us through Facebook or YouTube.

Before we hear from Terry Golway about his new book Frank and Al: FDR, Al Smith, and the Unlikely Alliance that Created the Modern Democratic Party, I’d like to tell you about two other programs happening next month in the McGowan Theater.

On Thursday, January 10, at noon, we’ll hear from Brad Meltzer about his new book, The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot Against George Washington. He’ll tell us about the time when members of George Washington’s bodyguards plotted with New York Governor William Tryon to launch a deadly plot against the commanding general.

Then on Thursday, January 17, at 7 p.m., join us for a World War I Armistice Tribute Concert, a special concert in honor of the centennial anniversary of Armistice Day. Musicians from the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own" will perform works by six well-known composers active in post–World War I France.

Check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Visit its website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about the Foundation and join online.

One of the satisfying things about attending these author lectures is seeing the tangible results of countless hours of research in primary documents—especially those in the custody of the National Archives and the Presidential libraries. Those of us who work here know that our records contain innumerable stories, but it takes dedicated storytellers to share them with the wider world.

Sam Roberts, reviewing Frank and Al in the New York Times, stated that “Frank & Al is the latest of Mr. Golway’s several captivating books on New York politics. He delivers once again, with a timely narrative on the centennial of Smith’s first election as governor.”

The stories, as I said, begin in the records, and it is the National Archives’ mission to preserve them and make them accessible to those who need them. It’s gratifying to read an author’s thanks to the work of our archival staff for helping him or her navigate the boxes of records. In the Acknowledgments section of Frank and Al, Terry Golway thanked by name several staff members at the Roosevelt Presidential Library, but I’m sure what makes them fill with pride is his statement: “The bulk of my research took place in one of my favorite places on earth, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Museum and Library in Hyde Park, New York.”

Thousands of researchers come through our research rooms each year, and we hope most of them consider the various National Archives locations their “favorite places” too.

Now it’s time to hear from Mr. Golway and learn about the special relationship between “Frank and Al.”

Terry Golway is a senior editor at Politico States, responsible for New York state political coverage out of Albany. He has been a journalist for more than 40 years and is the author of more than a dozen books, including Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics and Washington's General: Nathanael Greene and the Triumph of the American Revolution.

He was a member of the New York Times' editorial board, city editor of the New York Observer, and a columnist for the Irish Echo. He holds a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Rutgers University and has taught at the New School, New York University, and Kean University. Mr Golway is a frequent guest on documentary films and television news shows in the United States and in Ireland.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Terry Golway.