In Memoriam: Robert L. Breeden, 1925-2013

The United States Capitol Historical Society mourns the passing of Robert Lewis Breeden, a guiding force in the founding of the Society who served in its leadership throughout most of the organization’s fifty-year history. Mr. Breeden passed away at his McLean, Virginia, home on March 15, 2013, at the age of eighty-seven.

Born June 20, 1925 in Montgomery, West Virginia, Bob Breeden, as he was widely known to friends and colleagues, served in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific Theater. He earned a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri. During his 36-year career at the National Geographic Society, he ran six divisions, sold more than 100 million books, and launched National Geographic Traveler and the Society’s children’s magazine.

Robert L. Breeden, 1925-2013

Mr. Breeden was actively involved in the founding and success of both the White House Historical Association and the United States Capitol Historical Society in the early 1960s. The success of both organizations was due in no small part to the professional expertise Bob Breeden provided to the publication of their guidebooks to the White House and the Capitol, respectively. In addition to being the longtime CEO of the White House Historical Association, he served the USCHS in a variety of leadership positions. From 1962 until his death he advised the Society on its publications program; from 1991 to 1993 he was Vice President of the organization; and from 1993 to 2000 he was Chairman of the Board.

In recognition of his many years of service to the Society, the Board of Directors voted to present the first Chairman’s Fred Schwengel Award (named after the Society’s founder) to Robert L. Breeden in 2012. The award was accepted on September 20 by Mr. Breeden’s daughter, Cynthia Breeden Scudder, due to her father’s illness.

Mr. Breeden’s wife, Hilda Breeden, predeceased him. His is survived by his daughter Cynthia Scudder of Annapolis, MD, and granddaughters Andrea and Catherine Scudder. Burial services will be private, followed by a Celebration of Life on May 18. 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, Maryland 21403.