The first half of the twentieth century represents the last era of American life to begin, for most families, largely unchanged from the lives and experiences of previous generations. The documentary series, Our American Family, captures the voices of survivors of that era, providing us with the opportunity to hear firsthand what it meant to be a family during this simpler time, before the world changed.
Steve Young, founder and executive producer of Our American Family, will share how a journey to capture his father's family story grew into a multi-documentary project for public television with the goal of sharing the stories of everyday families from this simpler time while inspiring all families to document their stories before those voices are gone. He will discuss his methodology from initial contact with a family to the completed film, as well as the process of working within the public television system. To learn more, visit the show's website and watch the pilot episode.
As a co-founder of American Profile online magazine and the Just A Pinch Recipe Club—the nation's fastest growing online recipe-sharing site—Steve has put into practice his deeply held belief that all families have important stories to share, and that we are all enriched in the sharing.
Grace Guggenheim has been a producer and executive producer of historical documentaries with Guggenheim Productions, Inc., for over twenty-five years. She has produced over fifteen documentaries for television and theatrical release and for permanent exhibition at museums and presidential libraries around the country. Among her credits are the 2011 New York Times Critic Pick, The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby; Academy Award®–nominated A Place in the Land; Academy Award®–nominated D-Day Remembered; and the 1989 Academy Award®-winning film, The Johnstown Flood. Grace also served as producer for Berga: Soldiers of Another War; Harry S. Truman: 1884–1972; LBJ: A Remembrance; and A Life: The Story of Lady Bird Johnson.
You will enjoy a look behind the scenes with Grace's inside stories and watch clips from her award-winning historical documentary films. She will provide a profound perspective on how we can all be responsible archivists while using public, private, and personal resources.
As president of Guggenheim Productions, Inc.®, Grace is responsible for overseeing and managing the preservation of her late father's fifty-year legacy. She advises the programming committee for The Charles Guggenheim Center for Documentary Film and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Environmental Film Festival.
Steve Roberts is a passionate advocate for the importance of capturing life stories. As evidenced by his presentation's title (also one of his favorite sayings), he believes wholeheartedly that recapturing and recording the tales of our elders—often in danger of being lost—is one of the best gifts you can give your family.
As a journalist with the New York Times and U.S. News, Steve always looked for the personal stories behind the headlines. Eventually turning to his own life, Steve and his wife, Cokie Roberts of NPR's Morning Edition, published the bestselling book From This Day Forward (2000)—a personal account of their marriage and others in American history. In 2005, he wrote My Fathers' Houses, a memoir of growing up in New Jersey and the ways in which children of immigrants inherit the dreams of their parents and grandparents. As a professor at George Washington University, he came to realize that many families today were living the same immigration story. This led to the publication of From Every End of This Earth: 13 Families and the New Lives They Made in America (2009). Both of these immigrant studies were featured at the National Book Festival. In 2011, Steve partnered with his wife, Cokie, to write Our Haggadah: Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families.
Steve's twenty-five-year career with the Times included assignments as bureau chief in Los Angeles and Athens and as Congressional and White House correspondent. As a teacher, he lectures widely on American politics and the role of the news media today. His many honors include the Dirksen Award for covering Congress, the Wilbur Award for reporting on religion and politics, the Bender prize as one of George Washington University's top undergraduate teachers, and four honorary doctorates. He also is a widely read and respected columnist, as well as a TV and radio analyst.