American Heritage Mourns the Loss of Robert L. Breeden

Posted 5/14/2013

We mourn the loss of our Board Chairman Robert L. Breeden, who passed away in March after a lengthy illness. Mr. Breeden was instrumental in the formation of American Heritage Publishing in 2007, thus paving the way to save the nation’s oldest and most widely read American history publication.

Most notably, Mr. Breeden was Senior Vice President of the National Geographic Society for 36 years. He managed six divisions, oversaw the publication and sale of more than 100 million books, launched National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Kids, and built the Society’s Educational Media division.

Mr. Breeden co-founded the White House Historical Association in 1961 with Jacqueline Kennedy and Melville Bell Grosvenor. He served on the Board of Directors for 24 years and was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from 1977 until 2001. He was also actively involved in the founding of the United States Capitol Historical Society and served as Chairman of the board for seven years and in other leadership roles from 1962 until his passing. He was responsible for the publication of numerous guidebooks for the White House and the Capitol.

A U.S. Navy veteran with service in the Pacific during World War II, Mr. Breeden later earned a Master of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri.

Bob Breeden added a level of integrity and commitment to excellence to our organization and we will be forever grateful.

Sam Holt added, "It was my pleasure to serve on the Board of American Heritage with Bob. His demeanor was gracious, his insights profound, his advice always reasoned and forward-looking, and his skill at applying the lessons of an outstanding career in publishing and the non-profit world of service consistently useful. All these made him an ideal chairman of the Board. 

Beyond that, however, his professionalism and friendliness enriched the lives of all who worked with him. He was, in the original and most meaningful use of the words, a true scholar and gentleman."

Donations in his memory may be made to either the Capital Caring Hospice, 4715 15th St. N, Arlington, VA 22205; or Wellness House of Annapolis, 2625 Mas Que Farm Rd., Annapolis, MD 21403.