National Archives Foundation Honors Tom Hanks with Records of Achievement Award at Annual Gala
October 21, 2017
The National Archives Foundation honored actor, director, and producer Tom Hanks with its 2017 Records of Achievement Award at a black-tie gala at the National Archives tonight. The honor recognized his powerful illumination of the American story through his vast body of work in film and television during the past four decades.
The Gala brought nearly 250 distinguished guests from Washington’s civic, corporate, and cultural communities, including members of Congress, the Administration, and the Courts.
Honored guests included American Historian Michael Beschloss, Former Michigan Governor James Blanchard, 2010 Records of Achievement Award winner Ken Burns, U.S. District Court judge for the District of Columbia The Hon. Royce C. Lamberth, journalist Cokie Roberts, actor and journalist Mo Rocca, and The Washingtonian publisher Cather
Images from the red carpet and awards reception can be seen at: https://assignments.gettyimages.com/mm/nicePath/gyipa_public?nav=pr547513162
“Tom Hanks’ body of work exemplifies the kind of integrity and personal passion for American history that has become a hallmark of the Records of Achievement Award,” said A’Lelia Bundles, Chair of the Board of the National Archives Foundation. “As an actor, director and a producer, he is committed to storytelling that educates and entertains. And as important, his use of historical records highlights the value of preserving National Archives documents for future generations of historians, filmmakers and citizens.”
“No actor has covered the span of Twentieth Century American history as broadly as honoree Tom Hanks,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “He’s served in World War II (in both the European and Pacific Theaters), negotiated for the U.S. in the Cold War, fought in Vietnam, worked in Congress, and led the space program. He’s fought pirates and deadly viruses, befriended mermaids, and saved both Private Ryan and Gary Powers. Off-screen, he supports military veterans and caregivers, environmental issues and the space program. Furthermore, Tom’s a self-described ‘geek’ who collects and still uses typewriters – two characteristics that alone make him worthy of this honor! He’s also been called ‘the coolest guy ever,’ which gives us geeks at the National Archives hope. In addition to his many honors including his place in the Army Ranger Hall of Fame, his two Oscars, and the asteroid named for him, I am proud to honor Tom with our Records of Achievement Award.”
“As a dive into archives of almost any kind is, to me, a swim in the finest of waters, I’m dazzled to be a part of this event,” said Mr. Hanks. “Part of my job has always been one not far from that of a lay-Historian, to understand that I am a part of the documenting of the human condition and the American idea, even in the silliest of stories. My hope is that the event is as enjoyable as possible for those who attend; that a Night of Work is not required.”
Added Mr. Burns, who also serves as a member of the National Archives Foundation Board: “We are thrilled to be honoring Tom Hanks. It is difficult to comprehend and appreciate his enormous contribution to our cultural life; that he has over the decades of his extraordinary professional life chosen to focus so much of his energies on this thing we call the American Project; that his work has evinced an active genuine interest in the facts of the history of this country; that he has done all this celebrating not only familiar American heroes, whom he has endowed with an achingly transcendent humanity, but that he has chosen to similarly celebrate, and thereby elevate, those unsung heroes, those so-called ‘ordinary people,’ who are asked to do the truly hard work of preserving the freedoms and values of our Republic. Those of us at the National Archives Foundation cannot think of a better choice to receive our Records of Achievement Award.”
The annual gala, which included a tribute video, awards ceremony in the Archives’ William G. McGowan Theater and a seated dinner in the Rotunda Galleries, celebrates the public-private partnership between the National Archives and the nonprofit National Archives Foundation. The evening concluded with a champagne toast outdoors on the National Archives’ portico overlooking the National Mall. Read more about the Records of Achievement Awards gala at: https://www.
The Records of Achievement Award is the highest honor given by the National Archives Foundation to an individual whose work has fostered a broader national awareness of the history and identity of the United States through the use of original National Archives records. Previous recipients of the Foundation’s award include: Steven Spielberg, Ken Burns, David M. Rubenstein, the late John Hope Franklin, David McCullough, Tom Brokaw, Annette Gordon-Reed, Brian Lamb and C-SPAN, James McPherson, Robert Edsel, Taylor Branch, and the stars and creators of the Broadway musical “Hamilton”: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Ron Chernow.
The 2017 Records of Achievement Award Ceremony and Gala is made possible in part by AT&T, Governor Jim and Janet Blanchard, and Edgeworth Economics.
About the National Archives Foundation: The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at: archivesfoundation.org.
About the National Archives: The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at: archives.gov.
About Tom Hanks: From Apollo 13 to The Pacific, Hanks has trained his discerning eye on some of our nation’s most significant moments and made them relevant to a new generation and to the world. As an actor, director, and producer, Hanks continues to bring to life the American narrative through stories that might otherwise fade from our collective memory. In addition, through financial support to a variety of history-related causes, Hanks has shown in more ways than one his longstanding commitment to spreading the triumphant, as well as the challenging, lessons of American history. After re-teaming with Ron Howard in Apollo 13, Hanks served as an executive producer, writer, director and actor for HBO’s From the Earth to the Moon – an Emmy-winning 12-hour dramatic film anthology that explored the entire Apollo space program. In 1998, Hanks starred in Steven Spielberg’s war drama Saving Private Ryan for which he received his fourth Oscar® nomination. In 2008, Hanks executive produced the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries “John Adams,” which won 13 Emmy Awards. More recently, Hanks and Spielberg re-teamed for the award-winning HBO miniseries “The Pacific,” for which Hanks once again served as executive producer. In 2013, Hanks served as host, narrator and historical commentator for the two hour National Geographic television movie based on the best-selling book Killing Lincoln. In 2013, Hanks and Playtone produced the Emmy nominated CNN documentary series, “The Sixties.”