In the fall of 2019, I was asked to talk about the OPC’s history to recently elected governors. On the shelves next to my desk were OPC Bulletins dating back to 1945 and Dateline magazines from 1958 to the present. The Bulletins were particularly interesting to me because they were published once a week for decades and gave a detailed description of the club’s programs, parties, and periodic controversies.
Few OPC members and officers knew this treasure trove was sitting in our basement office. Now anyone interested in OPC history can view them in the OPC’s collection on Archive.org.
World leaders made news at the club’s frequent luncheons and dinners. In May 1959, Fidel Castro spoke to a crowd of 1,800 OPCers and their guests. Over 100 journalists covered the function at the Hotel Astor, where one of the notables was baseball great Jackie Robinson. Click on this link to read more and view photos of Castro with OPC officers.
Search for John F. Kennedy and a story headlined “OPC Serves as Setting for Campaign Kickoff” describes his first press conference after being nominated as the Democratic Party candidate for President in August 1960. Prior to that, JFK gave the keynote speech at an OPC Awards dinner while a senator from Massachusetts.
Other leaders appearing at OPC functions include Harry Truman, deposed Russian premier Alexander Kerensky, Israel’s Golda Meir, Jordan’s King Hussein, the Shah of Iran, and Henry Kissinger.
Backstage Library Works scanned and digitized the Bulletins and Datelines, plus four member directories from 1956, 1966, 1975 and 1980. OPC tech guru Chad Bouchard then uploaded the digitized files to archive.org.
While organizing the material to ship to Backstage, I discovered that the OPC office is missing copies of the Bulletin for the years 1946, 1953, 1976 and 1989. Please check your bookshelves to see if any of these may be in your home collection.
This project was two years in the making and I am so pleased that it is now live. The OPC’s rich history will live on and be raw material for journalists, historians, and anyone interested in the intersection of media and politics for years to come.
“The breadth and scope of [the OPC collection] is truly historical and I hope that this project has opened the doors for many others to realize that as well,” said Anna Newman, digital assistant project manager at Backstage Library Works. “The publications, I believe, are ripe for both rigorous academic research as well as the armchair historian of this past century. I am proud to have been a part of granting access to this knowledge and perspective.”
Here are some tips for searching the OPC archive:
archive.org/details/opc-archive is the entire collection. Use the search bar on the left to type search terms, and make sure “text” is selected instead of “metadata” unless you are only searching for PDF titles or dates.
For Bulletins only, use the link below:
This link, which includes Datelines only, is the best place to look when searching for information on OPC Award winners:
Here is a URL showing member directories:
The archive for the Bulletin is now up to date through July 2022. Click here to see the most recent Bulletins as they are published