Mark Updegrove

Mark Updegrove

Mark Updegrove Assumes Duties as New Director of LBJ Library

Sep 16, 2009

Washington, DC. Acting Archivist of the United States Adrienne Thomas appointed presidential historian Mark K. Updegrove as the new Director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

Mr. Updegrove brings unique qualifications to the position as Director of the Library. He is the author of two major works on the presidency. Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House, published by Lyons Press in 2006, won the Book of the Year Silver Medal Award for Political Science from ForeWord Magazine. Earlier this year, Mr. Updegrove wrote Baptism By Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office in Times of Crisis, published by St. Martin's Press, which outlines how eight presidents handled unprecedented crises upon taking office.

In making the announcement, Ms. Thomas said "Mr. Updegrove brings his deep knowledge and interest in the presidency and a fresh perspective and management style to the Library. We welcome him and look forward to working with him on new and exciting Library projects."

As an historical and political commentator, Mr. Updegrove has appeared on CNN, CBS News, ABC News, and NPR, among others. He has lectured on topics related to the presidency at the University of Pennsylvania, Monroe College, the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, and the National Constitution Center.

In noting the appointment, Tom Johnson, Chairman of the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation said, "The LBJ Foundation and the Johnson family are enthusiastic about the selection of Mark Updegrove as the new Director. Mark will take the LBJ Library to new heights of excellence adding to the splendid reputation of the Library established by former Directors Betty Sue Flowers and Harry Middleton."

Previously, Mr. Updegrove was the director of business development at Rawle Murdy, a communications firm. From 2005 through 2007, he directed advertising sales, marketing, and operations for Yahoo! Canada and, prior to that, served in similar positions as the publisher of Nickelodeon Magazine and MTV Magazine, and publisher of Newsweek.

From 1990 to 2001, Mr. Updegrove was associated with Time magazine, as a sales representative, as manager of the Los Angeles regional sales office, and finally as the President of Time Canada, Time's Canadian edition and operation.

Mr. Updegrove's scholarly interest in the presidency began while working at Time where he created "Time and the Presidency," a multi-media program which featured photographs of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt through William Clinton from the Time & Life archive. The project included a traveling exhibition that appeared at four presidential libraries, the Newseum and the Miller Center; a book; a website; a short film and ongoing editorial features in the magazine.

In accepting the position, Mr. Updegrove noted the relevancy today of President Johnson's legacy and his desire to uphold the tradition in the Library for excellence in exhibits, public programs, and service to researchers. "It's an honor to have been named Director of the LBJ Library. I have great admiration for President Johnson's legacy--which I believe to be as relevant today as those of any of our modern presidents---and am humbled by the task of succeeding Harry Middleton and Betty Sue Flowers, whose leadership styles of the LBJ Library have burnished its reputation for excellence. I look forward to doing what I can to uphold that tradition," said Updegrove.

Often called on by the news media to offer commentary on the presidency, CNN has called Updegrove one of the "country's best presidential historians." Most recently, Updegrove was interviewed for a news story about President Barack Obama's sliding poll numbers on ABC's Good Morning America on September 2, 2009.

Updegrove is the author of two books relating to American presidents:

  • Published in January 2009, Baptism By Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office in Times of Crisis examines eight presidents who took office in times of unprecedented crisis, how they dealt the burdens they inherited, the role of character in their leadership, and the lessons those men provide for President Barack Obama.
  • Memo to President Obama: Read this book." - The Associated Press, January 2009
  • "Updegrove's gallery of greats should instill hope and confidence in our future". - The New York Times Book Review, January 20, 2009
  • Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House, published in 2006, looks at the post-presidential lives of our modern presidents--Harry Truman through Bill Clinton--and includes exclusive interviews with former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford. The book was awarded ForeWord Magazine's "Book of the Year" Silver Medal Award for Political Science. A lively and highly readable review of [the] post-Oval Office years of the United States' last nine former chief executive & entertaining and illuminating. The Washington Post, October 15, 2006
  • "Highly recommended". - The Library Journal, July 6, 2006

Updegrove graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1984. He and his wife, Evie, have two children, Charlie, 9, and Tallie, 3. The Updegrove family will be moving to Austin from Charleston, South Carolina.

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, located on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin, was established to preserve and make available for research the papers and memorabilia of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. In addition, the Library actively collects the papers of Johnson's contemporaries and conducted an oral history program designed to supplement the written record. The Johnson Library holds more than 45 million pages of manuscripts, an extensive audiovisual collection, and oral history interviews with more than 1,500 individuals. It is one of 13 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.