About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "The Man I Knew: The Amazing Story of George H.W. Bush’s Post-Presidency"

Greetings from the National Archives’ flagship building in Washington, DC, which sits on the ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank peoples. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to tonight’s virtual author lecture with Jean Becker, author of The Man I Knew, a new memoir about former President George H.W. Bush.

Before we begin, though, I’d like to tell you about two upcoming programs you can view on our YouTube channel.

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On Wednesday, June  9, at 1 p.m., we will present a program in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress called “Can Congress Reform Itself Again?” Our moderator will be Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, and panelists will include current and former Members of Congress.

And on Tuesday, June 15, at noon, historian Michael Burlingame will be here to talk about his new book, An American Marriage. Based on 30 years of research, Burlingame describes and analyzes the marriage between Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd.

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Through its Presidential Libraries, the National Archives preserves the records of our Presidents back to Herbert Hoover. The stories told in the libraries cover a President’s entire life, not just their time in the nation’s highest office. After returning to private life, a number of them turned to humanitarian causes and advisory roles, and you will find those activities documented in the libraries as well.

After leaving office in 1993, George Bush remained engaged in public service and continued to encourage others to make a difference, in large and small ways. He shared his decades of experience with his successors, and worked ceaselessly for a “a kinder, gentler America.”

Today’s guest author, Jean Becker, was with President Bush for nearly all of his post-Presidential years. In her new book, The Man I Knew, she brings the reader into the room with George Bush and gives us a close-up look at his work after leaving the Oval Office.

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Jean Becker was President George H.W. Bush's chief of staff for nearly 25 years, from 1994 until Bush’s death in 2018. As chief of staff, Becker had a ringside seat to the never-boring story of George Herbert Walker Bush's life after his Presidency, including being at his side when he died and subsequently facing the challenge—and great honor—of being in charge of his state funeral. Previously, Jean served as a deputy press secretary to First Lady Barbara Bush from 1989 to 1992. As a former journalist, she is also a member of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the C-Change Cancer board, as well as an ad hoc member of the advisory boards for the George Bush Presidential Library and the George Bush School of Government and Public Service.

Our moderator for tonight’s discussion is Warren Finch, Director of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Warren has more than 30 years of experience at the National Archives and Records Administration—first with the Office of Presidential Libraries in Washington DC, then with the Ronald Reagan Library in California, and now with the Bush Library and Museum. Trained as an archivist, he was detailed to the Bush White House in 1992 to assist with the move of Bush Presidential Materials to Texas and has been in College Station ever since.

Now let’s hear from Jean Becker and Warren Finch. Thank you for joining us today.