About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "Valley Forge"

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
October 29, 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 YouTube.

Before we hear from Bob Drury about his new book on Valley Forge, I’d like to tell you about two other programs coming up soon here in the McGowan Theater.

On Thursday, November 1, at 7 p.m., I hope you can join us for a program on “Vietnam Photographers: Capturing the War on Film,” a discussion with combat photographers who served in Vietnam as part of the Army’s Special Photographic Office and produced some of the most iconic and important images from the war.

Then on Wednesday, November 7, at noon, Eric Jay Dolin will be here to tell us about his new book, Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates.

A book signing will follow the program.

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.

In late 1777 the British occupied Philadelphia, where just the year before, the Continental Congress had met and passed a resolution for independence from Great Britain. Throughout the winter of 1777-78, General George Washington’s Continental Army camped a day’s march away, in Valley Forge.

As schoolchildren we hear about Valley Forge and the hardships suffered by the Revolution’s soldiers. Valley Forge has become one of the iconic locations of American history—a symbol of resilience, persistence, and endurance—and of legend.

But it’s the historian’s task to look closely at what is legendary and find what is factual. Every day in the National Archives, researchers comb through the records to find evidence of what has passed. Today’s guest author has examined the historical record, and in his new book presents the story of this pivotal winter in Valley Forge.

Bob Drury, the recipient of several national journalism awards, is a three-time National Magazine Award finalist as well as a Pulitzer Prize nominee.

Drury honed his investigative skills writing for all four New York City newspapers as well as a variety of national publications. His journalism career has arced from sports to crime to adventure travel to foreign correspondence where, at GQ magazine and Men’s Health magazine, he reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Bosnia, and Northern Ireland, as well as Darfur, Havana, and Port au Prince among other sites. He is also the author, co-author, or editor of 10 nonfiction books, including the New York Times best-selling Halsey’s Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, An Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue;  The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat, which was the recipient of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award for nonfiction; Last Men Out: The True Story of America’s Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam; and The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, an American Legend, which spent 26 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Bob Drury.