About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving"

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
November 8, 2019

Good evening, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us for tonight’s program, whether you are here in the theater or joining us through Facebook, YouTube, or C-SPAN.

Before we hear from Mo Rocca, I’d like to tell you about two other programs coming up soon in the McGowan Theater.

On Tuesday, November 12, noon, historian Richard Brookhiser will tell us about his new book, Give Me Liberty: A History of America’s Exceptional Idea, which examines America's history through 12 documents.

And on Thursday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m., we will host a Veteran’s Day Tribute: World War II Soldier Photographers from the U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo Collection at the National Archives. The authors of a new book called Aftershock: The Human Toll of War, will join historians for a discussion of these less well known images of the war’s end.

To keep informed about events throughout the year, 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. Check out their website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about them and join online.

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Some people think of archives as a place for dead things. Writers who likely have not spent much time in them often fall back on adjectives such as “dusty,” “musty,” or “crumbling”—much to agitation of archives and preservation professionals. Even those who are more familiar with archives may say their riches are “buried.”

Rather than being custodians of lifeless remnants of history, archives are filled with many lives. The billions of pages in our care contain the stories of both famous and ordinary people whose lives temporarily intersected with recorded history.

People like Mo Rocca discover the stories within the records, breathe new life into them, and send them out into the world.

With Mobituaries, Mo takes a fresh look at the lives of men and women—those still well known and those now forgotten—and shares their stories with a new audience.

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Mo Rocca is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, host of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, and host and creator of the Cooking Channel’s My Grandmother’s Ravioli, in which he learned to cook from grandmothers and grandfathers across the country. He’s also a frequent panelist on National Public Radio’s hit weekly quiz show Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me! Rocca began his career in TV as a writer and producer for the Emmy and Peabody Award–winning PBS children’s series Wishbone and spent four seasons as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. As an actor, Mo starred on Broadway in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He is the author of All the Presidents’ Pets, a historical novel about White House pets and their role in Presidential decision-making.

Rita Braver is a national correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, where she reports on everything from arts and culture to politics and foreign policy.

Before joining CBS Sunday Morning, Braver was CBS News chief White House correspondent for four years and spent a decade as CBS News chief law correspondent.

Braver has won nine national Emmy Awards and received the Joan Barone award presented by the Congressional Radio and Television Correspondents Association and the Star award from American Women in Radio and television.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mo Rocca and Rita Braver.