Press contact: Jennifer Gavin, Library of Congress, (202) 707-1940
Press contact: Bona Park, Jack Kemp Foundation, (202) 452-6224

July 14, 2010

NFL Commissioner and Library of Congress Kick Off Jack Kemp Legacy Project

Library to Create New Jack Kemp Chair in Political Economy

The Library of Congress and the Jack Kemp Foundation will host National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell at a Library event tonight highlighting the late Jack Kemp’s unique career as a professional athlete and public servant.

Fox News anchor Brit Hume will moderate a conversation with Goodell that will touch on current and historical issues–including football, politics and the power of ideas–central to the life and career of Kemp, who served as a member of Congress from 1971-1988 representing New York following his NFL stardom. Kemp also served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1989-1993 under former President George H.W. Bush and mounted a GOP bid for the presidency in 1988 and, in 1996, was the vice-presidential candidate on the GOP ticket.

Guests at the private event will include members of the Kemp family, several members of the U.S. Senate, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Kemp Foundation supporters on what would have been Jack Kemp’s 75th birthday.

The Kemp Legacy Project includes Kemp’s collected papers at the Library of Congress, the creation of a Jack Kemp Chair in Political Economy at the Library of Congress’ Kluge Center for scholars, and an oral history of Kemp’s life and career.

"Jack Kemp was a beloved and extraordinary American, who could be as inspiring on a podium as he was on the gridiron," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "We are pleased to be able to offer his papers for future research, and his family’s support for further scholarship through the Kluge Center will benefit the thinking world for years to come."

Goodell called Kemp "an extraordinary American leader who became a trusted colleague and exceptional friend to the NFL after his MVP playing career with the Buffalo Bills," Goodell said. "Jack believed so strongly in the positive values that football represented, and he helped promote those values over six decades.

"He devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to the NFL and the sport of football, including as a charter member of the board of directors of NFL Charities and as the initial chairman of USA Football," Goodell said. "His service to our nation was equally remarkable."

Kemp was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama last August. Kemp died of cancer on May 2, 2009.

The purpose of the Jack Kemp Legacy Project is to honor Jack Kemp’s public service; to record, perpetuate and advance his contributions to American political thought by making them accessible to scholars, researchers and the general public and to help educate the next generation of political leaders.

The majority of the Jack Kemp Collection at the Library covers Kemp’s 18 years in Congress, including records pertaining to the Reagan administration’s economic agenda. The records of his bids for the presidency and vice-presidency are also included, as are those from his tenure at HUD. Personal records include family photographs, coverage of his retirement from Congress and remembrances of his life and work in the aftermath of his death. His writings and a large personal library are also included, along with photographs and video from his football career.

Chairs at the Library’s Kluge Center in addition to the Jack Kemp Chair in Political Economy include the Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education, the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations, the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics, and five chairs focused on American Law and Governance, Countries and Cultures of the North, Countries and Cultures of the South, Technology and Society and Modern Culture.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized website at

# # #

PR 10-166
ISSN 0731-3527

Back to top