News Article

National Archives Foundation Adds Founding Mothers to Historic Mural As Part of Cokie Roberts Tribute

November 14, 2019

Washington D.C. – Tonight, the National Archives Foundation honored the life and legacy of Cokie Roberts with the 2019 Records of Achievement Award. The Foundation’s Board of Directors selected Cokie Roberts as the honoree of the award this spring in recognition of her longstanding service to the National Archives and her commitment to chronicling America’s story. The Foundation bestowed the award posthumously to Steven Roberts.

Award Ceremony Features Speaker Pelosi and David M. Rubenstein
The program included remarks from Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a panel discussion moderated by David M. Rubenstein with panelists Amna Nawaz, Rebecca Roberts, Robin Sproul and Nina Totenberg.

“Cokie Roberts devoted her life to ensuring America remembers the stories of women and other individuals who made our nation’s story so rich,” said Governor James J. Blanchard, Chair and President of the National Archives Foundation Board. “Tonight, we celebrate Cokie’s story and remember her own work in making America a more perfect union.”

Founding Mothers Added to Faulkner Mural in the National Archives Rotunda

The Foundation projected special images onto the Barry Faulkner mural in the National Archives Rotunda for the first time. Cokie Roberts often noted to visitors that the Faulkner murals failed to include women. In this spirit, the National Archives Foundation commissioned artist Samara King of Port Townsend, Washington, to bring equality to the murals with the projected addition of Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, Martha Washington and Eliza Hamilton to ensure that, as Cokie would fondly say, “We remember the ladies!”

As part of the tribute, the Foundation also announced the Cokie Roberts Research Fund for Women’s History, which will support future historians researching women’s history at the National Archives.

Cokie Roberts – National Day of Remembrance

As part of the celebration, the Foundation declared November 13, 2019 a national day of remembrance in honor of Cokie Roberts. Organizations and individuals across the country took to social media to reinforce her influence and remember her legacy.

“Today’s tribute was a testament to the legacy Cokie Roberts has had on countless historical and cultural institutions across the nation,” said National Archives Foundation Executive Director Patrick Madden. “Her brilliance and warmth will continue to guide the Foundation’s work for years to come.”


The Records of Achievement Award is the highest honor given by the National Archives Foundation to an individual whose contributions have fostered a broader national awareness of the history and heritage of the United States as exemplified in National Archives’ records. Previous recipients of the Foundation’s award include: First Lady Laura Bush, Tom Hanks, 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 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: