Robert Klara Hero Image-Compressed
Photo by Ron Goodman

Selected Articles

“To Make Tiffany & Co. a Household Name, the Luxury Brand’s’ Founder Cashed in on the Trans-Atlantic Telegraph Craze”

Smithsonian magazine, February 15, 2024

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“Before it Burned Down, This Bathhouse Served as a Haven for New York City’s Gay Community” 

Smithsonian magazine, June 26, 2023

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“Why Aren’t Subway Stations Air Conditioned?” 

The New York Times, August 25, 2022

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“A Fleeting Glimpse at the Long-Forgotten Brooklyn Bridge Eagles”


Brooklyn magazine, September 7, 2021

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“The 1970s Cruise Ship Nightmare That Ended in a Mutiny” / The History Channel, June 24, 2019

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“Made in the U.S.A. Carries Emotional Cachet for Consumers, but Does it Help Brands’ Bottom Lines?”

Adweek magazine, May 20, 2018

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“Nuclear Fallout Shelters Were Never Going to Work” / The History Channel, October 16, 2017

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“Hitler’s Car Exerts Grim Fascination Even if it Just Gave the Führer a Lift to the Airport”

The Guardian, September 13, 2015

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“A Moveable Mansion”

Victorian Homes, October 2008

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“The Pipes Are Calling”

USAirways magazine, August 2003

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“The City at the Nation’s Front Door”

American Heritage, April-May 2002

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“The Riviera of Dreams”

New Jersey Monthly magazine, May 1993

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FDR's Funeral Train Book Cover


In April 1945, the train carrying the body of Franklin D. Roosevelt embarked on a thousand-mile journey through nine states before reaching the presidential gravesite in Hyde Park, New York. Aboard the swaying Pullmans, a new president scrambled to build his administration, a lionized first lady grappled with the legacy of a cheating husband, the brass pondered an imminent invasion of Japan—and an undetected spy rode quietly in his seat, having already fed atomic secrets to the Soviets.

“A major contribution to U.S. history” 

– Douglas Brinkley, author and presidential historian for CNN

“Klara charms as he informs. A little gem.” 

– Kirkus (starred review)

“Klara, a veteran reporter, has put together a thrilling piece of history.” 

– The Daily Beast

The Hidden White House Book Cover


On a pleasant winter afternoon in 1948, President Harry Truman—enjoying a bath upstairs in the White House—nearly crashed through floor into the ballroom below. After finding floor beams so rotted the house faced imminent collapse, a team of handpicked engineers and architects commenced the most politically fraught home-improvement project in American history began. A new house of concrete and steel rose within the mansion’s historic limestone shell while, deep below ground, a secret atomic shelter marked the start of the Cold War.

“A delightful and informative narrative.” 

Publishers Weekly

“A beautifully written book filled with quirky characters and amazing stories.” 

―L. Douglas Keeney, author of 15 Minutes: General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation

“Klara, a brilliant storyteller, shows us why Truman's plan to restore the White House was an act not only of necessity, but of audacity.” 

―Jeff Shesol, former speechwriter to President Bill Clinton

The Devil's Mercedes Book Cover


The never-before-told saga of what happened when Adolph Hitler’s Mercedes-Benz Grosser 770K limousine mysteriously appeared on American soil in the months following the end of WWII. With a cast of patriots and dreamers, carnies and hucksters, this true story probes the role that symbols play in our understanding of history and the dark magnetism of its artifacts.

“Endlessly riveting”
Booklist (starred review)

“A great story that features a cast of characters and plot twists even Hollywood wouldn’t care to invent” — The Christian Science Monitor

“An entertaining story of the irresistible cult of a creepy car”
Kirkus Reviews


Robert Klara has been unearthing overlooked and forgotten histories since his feature on how New York City apartment buildings got their names ran in the New York Daily News in 1993. Since then, Klara’s articles and essays have appeared in many publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, American Heritage, The History Channel and Smithsonian magazine, where he is currently a history correspondent.

Klara is also the author of three critically acclaimed nonfiction books: FDR’s Funeral Train (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011), The Hidden White House (St. Martin’s Griffin 2014) and The Devil’s Mercedes (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017). He has lectured widely on these titles, having delivered keynote addresses at the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman presidential libraries; Johns Hopkins and Yale Universities; and cultural institutions including the New York Public Library, The 92nd Street Y and the University Club of New York.

As a longtime editor at Adweek magazine, Klara is a sought-out authority on consumerism and corporate history, speaking to media outlets including the BBC, National Public Radio and Disney+.

A resident of New York City since 1989, Klara makes his home in Brooklyn.

Robert Klara Seated on Bench by Window


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