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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


David Herbert Donald

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

David Herbert Donald: American history is exciting, first of all. We are really the only modern nation whose entire career in our history is available to us. That is, we can go over the first papers, the settlement of Jamestown, all the way down to the present, and the documents are there. There are no mysteries about it. If you were writing about the history of England or Sweden or so on, you'd have to go back in the depth of time and still wouldn't know how things began. So in America, you have a kind of case study of the development of a nation and how it grew and why it grew and why it grew in this particular way, and this has always had a special fascination for me. With the Civil War, it is, in particular, the fascination of two roads. One might have led to an independent Confederacy, two nations on this continent. What would have happened since that time? So it encourages you to imagine things were different, and the other was the road that was taken. So one puzzles over these aspects and tries to figure out, "What can I do with this? What can I make out of it?"
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David Herbert Donald

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

David Herbert Donald: I don't know how anybody judges the contributions he's made to a field. I can tell you that my largest contribution -- I'm sure the most lasting one -- is my graduate students. I began having graduate students at a very early age and continued until my retirement, and ultimately I had between 70 and 100 graduate doctoral students, of whom 50 at least have published major books. Many of these were dissertations that they did under my direction and then published, and these students are now major professors at major institutions all over the country. I can think of myself as, in a sense, a kind of a Johnny Appleseed, spreading the word, so to speak, in a lot of different places. I believe I am right in saying they are all fond of me. I am in touch with them all. I write to them, I think of them frequently, I think of their children as being my intellectual grandchildren, and in a few cases, I have actually taught their grandchildren, which is nice too. Now, was there any particular moment that I would say this is the peak of my career? In a sense, it was. By that point, this is 1960. Teaching at Princeton, vacation was just over. We came back, and I was meeting my class all over again. It was a sizeable class, 200 students, something like that, and I enjoy lecturing. I enjoy talking. I liked these students. I liked talking to them and so on, and we were going along one day after another, and one morning, I came in. As I came in, every student rose and started clapping. They had just heard that I had won a Pulitzer Prize, and I hadn't heard it myself. I was just overwhelmed, and I think that may have been the high point of my career.
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Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

In those days, if you wanted to listen to music on the radio you had to look in the newspaper and find out when it was going to be played. Now, today there are all-music stations, I mean, all over your dial, just as there are all-news stations. But there was a strict category of broadcasts, lots of soap operas, and other features. And at four o'clock in the afternoon, there would be music, something called, "Sam's Show" - - me! And I remember the theme. Bing Crosby and his son, Gary, sang it on a record: "Here's a happy tune, they love to croon, they call it Sam's song." And I'd come in and say, "Hello, this is Sam Donaldson," and on we'd go. And I'd play music for an hour and just had a ball.
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Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

All my early years in the '60s, whether working for a local station in Washington, or beginning at ABC, I didn't think of myself as successful in terms of, "I'm a big star, I'm a big Pooh-Bah, I'm a number one reporter." I did think of myself as successful in being able to compete and get the job done. Some days the competition would beat me and I'd go home thinking awful thoughts, want to hide under the bed, depressed. But of course, in the news business, when you're working a daily news broadcast, you get your victories and defeats every day. If you get a defeat today, go back tomorrow morning and you may beat the competition. And you go home thinking you're on top of the world. "Boy did I whip them! Did I get the story!" And so, I thought of myself as successful in those terms. I could compete, I could get my share of the stories, I could get a television report on the air that told you something, that was accurate, that was right on, and that was enough for me. I didn't think in terms of, "And some day I'll be way up here," or "I'll make all of this." it was simply that I was doing well, enjoying what I was doing.
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Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

He was walking down the red carpet, down to Air Force One with President Sadat. Now, I sang out and I said, "Mr. President," I said, "is it peace? Is it peace?" He said, "Well, I don't think we better go beyond what President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin and I agreed to say at this point." And I said, "But you said something to the effect that if the Knesset agrees that -- are you saying that it's peace?" And he looked at me and he said, "Yes." Well, everyone ran and filed. And of course, all the smart guys told me later, "Well, we knew that all the time." And I said, "Well then why did you wait to file 'til he said that at the rope line?" Now, you say, "Sam," you're going to say, "that's a great interview?" No. I mean, is that one of those wonderful interviews that lives in history? No. But I got a piece of information that, at that precise moment, told the world something that was quite important. And as a reporter, I thought that was a great interview.
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Rita Dove

Former Poet Laureate of the United States

Going to the library was the one place we got to go without asking really for permission. And what was wonderful about that was the fact that they let us choose what we wanted to read for extra reading material. So it was a feeling of having a book be mine entirely, not because someone assigned it to me, but because I chose to read it. There was an anthology up there. One anthology of poetry. It was a purple with gold cover, I'll never forget. It's really thick. It went from Roman times all the way up to the 1950's at that point. And I began to browse. I mean, I really was like browsing. I read in it a little bit. If I liked a poem by one person, I would read the rest of them by that person. I was about eleven or twelve at this point. I had no idea who these people were. I had heard of Shakespeare, sure, but I didn't know the relative value of Shakespeare, of Emily Dickinson, or all these people that I was reading. So I really began to read what I wanted to read, and without anyone telling me that this was too hard. You know, "You're only eleven, how can you possibly understand Sara Teasdale, or something like that?" And that's how my love affair, I think, with poetry began. This was entirely my world and I felt as if they were whispering directly to me.
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