After three years of running “unofficially” for president, JFK made it official on January 2nd, 1960, announcing his candidacy for President of the United States.
Since 1957, Senator John F. Kennedy had been running “unofficially” for his party’s presidential nomination. For three years he had traveled the country, making speeches, helping other Democrats in their election fights, and building his own campaign organization as he went. Journalist and presidential campaign historian Teddy White would later observe: “No Democrat, not even Adlai Stevenson, spoke in more states, addressed more Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners, participated in more local and mayoralty campaigns of deserving Democrats than did John F. Kennedy.”
By White’s count Kennedy had not only visited every state of the union, but had done something even more important: “[H]is intelligence files bulged with what was possibly the most complete index ever made of the power structure of any national party.” Now, in January 1960, JFK was ready to make it official.
In Washington, on January 2nd in the U.S. Senate Caucus Room, amid a crowd of more than 300 friends, family, Senate colleagues, Democratic party officials and national press, Kennedy made clear his intent to run for and win both the Democratic Presidential Nomination and that fall’s national election.
January 4, 1960: The Herald Republican of Springfield, MA, announces JFK’s formal entry into Presidential race.
It was a Saturday morning when JFK made his announcement, insuring he would get good newspaper coverage in the Sunday editions. In making his announcement, Kennedy laid down the gauntlet of the Democratic primary elections as the true testing ground, saying those seeking to compete with him should do so in the primaries. He specifically mentioned senators Lyndon Johnson of Texas and Stuart Symington of Missouri, suggesting that if such rivals couldn’t beat him in the primaries they wouldn’t be able to beat Richard Nixon in the fall. For starters, he would enter the March 8th New Hampshire primary and would announce his plans for other state primaries in the weeks that followed. Kennedy also made clear to Democratic leaders that he was running for the Presidential nomination of his party, and under no circumstances would he be a candidate for Vice President, as some had suggested. Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota was also an announced candidate, having made his announcement in late December 1959. Many of the old school Democrats still believed Kennedy was too young, too Catholic, and too inexperienced to receive his party’s nomination. At age 42, he was the youngest presidential candidate in U.S. history.
Jan 1960: JFK being interviewed shortly after announc-ing his candidacy with Jackie by his side, U.S. Senate Caucus room, Wash., D.C. Photo, Hank Walker, Life.
As Kennedy campaigned in 1960, he would be buffeted by events of the day. In early February, four black students staged a sit-in at a lunch counter at Greensboro, North Carolina to protest a “whites only serving policy,” a civil rights action that was one of many in the South that had begun in the mid- and late-1950s, and would continue through the 1960s.
In May, an American U-2 spy plane, piloted by Francis Gary Powers, was shot down over Russia with Powers taken prisoner. In late June, a ten nation disarmament conference closed after failing to reach agreement on nuclear arms control. In July, the U.S. cut its sugar imports from Cuba by 95 percent, prompting rebel leader, Fidel Castro to begin confiscating U.S. assets and property there.
In the “space race” that year, the U.S. launched its first weather satellite, Tiros I; the first experimental communications satellite, Echo I; and the first spy satellite, Corona. The Soviets, meanwhile, put another of their Sputnik series into orbit, this one with two dogs on board, returning them safely to earth. In sports, the Summer Olympics were held in Rome where a young boxer from Louisville, Kentucky named Cassius Clay won the light heavyweight gold medal.
“The Remarkable Kennedys,” by Joe McCarthy, published in Feb 1960, was billed as “the dramatic, inside story” of JFK “and his remarkable family.”
Among best-selling books that year were: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; Rabbit, Run, by John Updike; and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William L. Shirer. The first oral contraceptives came into use in 1960 and Elvis Presley had three No. 1 hits that year: “Stuck on You,” “It’s Now or Never,” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” It was also 1960 when the famous dance tune, “The Twist,” by Chubby Checker was first released. Other popular songs that year included: “Theme From Summer Place” by Percy Faith; “Cathy’s Clown” by the Everly Brothers; “Stay” by Maurice Williams; “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin; “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles; and “Last Date,” a piano tune by Floyd Cramer.
At the box office that year, Spartacus, Psycho, Exodus, Oceans 11, and Butterfield 8 were among the top grossing films. And several of the actors and actresses appearing in those films would become active JFK supporters, including Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr.
As the early 1960 race began, the first notable contests for Kennedy and the Democrats came in the Wisconsin and West Virginia primaries – April 5th and May 10th, repectively – both of which Kennedy would win, but not without controversy and considerable effort. Kennedy’s victory over Humphrey in Wisconsin was helped by Catholic voters in some districts, yet his margin of victory was not strong enough in other districts where there were no Catholics. That meant the next primary in West Virginia – a state that was 95 percent Protestant – would be a more telling test of Kennedy’s non-Catholic appeal, watched closely by party bosses.
April 1960: JFK campaigning in the tiny hamlet of Ona, West Virginia prior to that state’s May 10th primary.
Kennedy scored a solid victory in West Virginia, knocking Humphrey out of the race. The win in West Virginia, plus Wisconsin, gave Kennedy two early primary victories, and also gave his campaign momentum, helping him to win a string of primaries through May and June while wooing important governors and party insiders along the way.
Heading into the July Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Kennedy was the odds-on favorite for the nomination, but there were still vestiges of the old “brokered convention” in play, where back-room wheeling and dealing could still generate surprises and dark-horse candidates. Kennedy very definitely had momentum, but he didn’t have a lock on the nomination.
In July 1960, as Democrats gathered at the year-old Sports Arena in Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention, there were still a number of other candidates who could alter the nomination process, including: Sen. Lyndon Johnson of Texas, the powerful majority leader of the U.S. Senate, who claimed to have 500 or more delegates committed to his candidacy; Sen. Stuart Symington of Missouri, a candidate backed by former president, Harry S. Truman; Adlai Stevenson, the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, and a favorite of liberals; and Senators Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Wayne Morse of Oregon, JFK primary opponents. There was also California Gov. Pat Brown, regarded a “favorite son” possibility.
25 July 1960: Life magazine features happy convention delegates on its cover, with tagline, “The Demonstration for Jack Kennedy.”
Life magazine’s July 25th edition, covering the DNC, featured celebrating JFK conventioneers on its cover with the tagline, “The Demonstration for Jack Kennedy.” But the magazine also reported on the convention’s inside politics and how “the Kennedy organization” was showing itself as something of new political phenomenon.
Life’s writers noted that Kennedy was a formidable figure and not merely some Harvard pretty boy. In fact, Kennedy and his 34-year-old brother and campaign manager, Robert, were, according to Life’s reporters, “steam-rolling the crafty old pros of the party with ruthless efficiency….” They were bringing “a new era of American politics” to the Democratic party and delivering “a brand-new and youthful set of owners and operators….” And of course, there was also something else Life’s writers noted: “Kennedy had the magic essential for a candidate, the ability to get votes.”
On July 13, 1960, JFK secured the Democratic nomination on the first ballot. The next day, over the objection of his brother Bobby, organized labor and others, he selected Lyndon Johnson to be his running mate, and the Convention approved. Kennedy would need Texas to win, and that fact above all else, meant Johnson was the best choice. Closing out the convention at the Los Angeles Coliseum with his “New Frontier” speech before TV cameras and a live stadium audience of 50,000 plus, Kennedy and his party went forward, energized for the fall campaign ahead.
July 15, 1960: JFK at the Los Angeles Coliseum speaking before some 52,000 and another 35 million on television. “Today our concern must be with [the] future.... The old era is ending. The old ways will not do…. We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier… ”
Once on the campaign trail, the Kennedy-Johnson ticket covered the entire country, with LBJ barnstorming the South, and Kennedy focusing on a core of some 17 Northeast, industrial, and West Coast states crucial in the electoral arithmetic.
For Kennedy, 1960 was the final stretch in an odyssey that had begun at the 1956 DNC, where he almost won the VP slot. Campaigning as his own man from 1957 on, Kennedy had traveled far and wide, and he had grown as a speaker and campaigner. He had also learned a great deal about the American people and his party. According to aides Kenny O’Donnell and Dave Powers, from late August 1960 until the first Tuesday in November, JFK traveled to speaking appearances and rallies in 237 cities. Nixon, by their count, went to 168 cities.
By Labor Day 1960, when Kennedy formally kicked off his fall campaign in Michigan, his oratory skills had risen to peak form, hitting themes of universal appeal with new and vivid language, inspiring thousands with calls for a better America. By late October, Russell Baker of the New York Times would observe: “…[I]n the last month he has flowered into a magnificent campaigner with a Pied Piper magic over the street crowds, and especially the ladies,“…[Kennedy] has flowered into a magnificent cam- paigner with a Pied Piper magic over the street crowds, and especially the ladies…” - R. Baker, NY Times and with a considerable talent for what is ungraciously called rabble-rousing.” That JFK was appealing to women of all ages was no surprise, some calling out their affections for him from the crowds. Life magazine would report in its last issue before the November 8th election: “The blissful fog of feminine adoration surrounding Jack Kennedy — the great phenomenon of the 1960 campaign — grew even thicker in the last days of his tour.” Teddy White would later recount one Southern Senator’s observation that JFK embodied “the best qualities of Elvis and Franklin D. Roosevelt.” But Kennedy’s campaign also garnered the respect of the journalists who followed him.“The consensus of newspapermen who are watching his performance,” wrote syndicated columnist Roscoe Drummond, “‘[is] that he is more articulate than either President Eisenhower or former President Truman, more direct and understandable than Adlai Stevenson, and has much of the charm of Franklin D. Roosevelt.”
JFK’s on-screen appearance during the first Presidential TV debate of Sept 26th, 1960 was believed by some to have been a decisive factor.
The key momentum for the Kennedy campaign, however, did not come from the meet-the-folks retail politics of personal handshakes and Rotary Club speeches – of which there were plenty. Rather, it came in a television studio at station WBBM in Chicago on September 26, 1960. For that was the evening when Kennedy’s movie-star good looks and confident style stole the show from Dick Nixon and got the attention of a nation looking for something new.
“I think the most important moment was in that first television debate with Richard Nixon,” noted Kennedy historian Robert Dallek in a November 2013 National Public Radio interview, “when Kennedy came across as presidential. As someone who was poised, who was witty, charming, handsome and deserved to be president of the United States.”
The 1960 election was a time when television gained as the medium of politics; when image began to play an outsize role in modern culture, and JFK was among the first beneficiaries. There were 85 million television sets in America by then, nearly one set for every two Americans. “When that [first] debate was over,” CBS producer Don Hewitt would later say, “I realized that we didn’t have to wait for an election day. We just elected a president. It all happened on television.” Still, there four TV debates in all, and Nixon regained some ground in the later debates. However, old-fashioned politics were still very much alive in 1960 – when strategic, well-timed, or accidental events could figure into the electoral calculus. And Kennedy’s organization was attuned to such possibilities, if only by the help of perceptive staffers.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being interviewed by WSB-TV reporter upon leaving the Georgia State Prison at Reidsville, Oct 27, 1960. Civil Rights Digital Library.
One of those moments came in October 1960, after civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK) was jailed in a Georgia prison for a trumped-up parole violation following his participation in a student sit-in. Harrison Wofford, then a campaign aide working in the lower bowels of the JFK campaign in Sargent Shriver’s department, but who years later would become a U.S. Senator, learned about the King situation. Wooford advised that Kennedy should become involved. His idea worked its way up the chain of command, first to Shriver, and eventually to JFK, who made a brief call to King’s wife, Coretta Scott King. Bobby Kennedy, however, was furious about the call, believing word of JFK’s action would alienate southern Democrats. Bobby later calmed down and helped secure King’s release after Jack did some back-channel calling to state officials. Meanwhile, Martin Luther King’s father, who some called “Daddy King,” a prominent Baptist minister,After the Kennedys helped MLK get out of jail, “Daddy King,” a Baptist preacher planning to vote for Nixon, promised “a whole suit- case full of votes” for JFK. was quite thankful for the Kennedy involvement and said as much in a public statement to the press a few days later, noting at one point that he had “a whole suitcase full of votes” he would send JFK’s way. Daddy King, a registered Republican, had endorsed Richard Nixon, and previously opposed Kennedy because he was a Catholic. But now the tide had turned, and the Kennedy campaign made the most of it. According to Evan Thomas, writing in his book, Robert Kennedy, A Life, JFK’s campaign, in its final days, published hundreds of thousands of leaflets and handbills that were distributed at black churches and bars. Included was one flyer that read on one side: “Jack Kennedy called Mrs. King,” and on the other side — “Richard Nixon did not.” Many political analysts believe that JFK’s phone call and Bobby’s intercession on behalf of MLK – and the resulting notice these actions received in the black community – figured into the election’s outcome, as black voters shifted to Kennedy in several states and key urban areas. MLK himself, however, never endorsed either candidate.
JFK in a private moment aboard his campaign plane, The Caroline, which logged thousands of miles during the primary and general election campaigns.
Toward the end of October 1960, Kennedy was drawing very large and energized crowds, especially in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state that held 32 electoral votes – as many as California and second only to New York. Between October 28th and October 31st, Kennedy and his team made a blitz of cities and towns in the eastern half of Pennsylvania.
Beginning with three morning speeches in Allentown on October 28th, a 20-car Kennedy motorcade then headed north visiting a string of towns, including: Pottsville, McAdoo, Hazleton, Ashley, Sugar Notch, Nanticoke, Plymouth, and finally Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. In Hazleton, thousands jammed Main Street to hear Kennedy, standing shoulder-to-shoulder. In Wilkes-Barre, also on the 28th, an estimated crowd of 30,000 converged on Public Square to hear the senator. These were substantial crowds for small and medium-sized towns. The New York Times, reporting on Kennedy’s campaigning in the region on October 29, 1960, headlined its story, “Kennedy Cheered in Pennsylvania; 500,000 Acclaim Senator as He Motors Through Area of High Unemployment.”
October 28, 1960: JFK – on platform, lower left -- speaks to an overflow crowd jamming the downtown area of Hazelton, Pennsylvania (streets to Kennedy's left, not shown, were equally jammed). The Hazelton stop was among at least a dozen other Pennsylvania towns he visited that day.
On the evening of October 28th, it was back to the Philadelphia area for a fundraising dinner and speech, followed the next day by visits throughout the Philadelphia metro area at eight more stops – from Chester and Upper Darby to Roosevelt Field in Norristown and Snellenburg’s Shopping Center in Willow Grove. More Philadelphia area campaigning followed on October 30th and 31st, including stops at a bonds-for-Israel rally, the Raymond Rose apartments, Rayburn Plaza, and Temple University. Thousands had come out for these rallies, as they did in the rain in Philadelphia, Chester, and at the town square in Valley Forge where they heard JFK summon Revolutionary War history: “Men here knew the deadly meaning of danger, but they also preserved the bright hope of opportunity.” In the end, Kennedy’s Pennsylvania blitz paid off: he carried the state and won its 32 electoral votes.
Nov 4, 1960: JFK rides in car with Chicago Mayor, Richard J. Daley, right, during torchlight parade through city.
“The Irish Prince”
On November 4, 1960, with only five days left until the election, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley orchestrated a huge torchlight parade for Kennedy through the city, culminating at a Chicago Stadium event that was broadcast over national television (NBC). An estimated 1.5 million came out for the Chicago parade and the rally. At the stadium, Mayor Daley introduced John F. Kennedy to a sold-out audience, as “the Irish Prince.”
In the final week of the race, JFK’s schedule was truly punishing, traveling the breadth of the country, with non-stop campaigning. As aide Kenny O’Donnell would later write, ticking off the stops and how little sleep Kennedy had: “During the closing week of the campaign – Sunday and Monday in Philadelphia, Tuesday in Los Angeles, Wednesday in San Francisco, Thursday in Phoenix, Albuquerque, Amarillo, Wichita Falls and Oklahoma City, Friday in Virginia, Ohio and Chicago, Saturday in New York, Sunday in Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey and Maine, and… Monday in New England and Boston – he had never gotten four hours of sleep on any night.” But there were some sights to behold in those final days, as O’Donnell would also recount in two episodes, one in Connecticut, late Saturday night November 5th, and the other in Maine, late Sunday night, November 6th:
…We landed in the Caroline [campaign plane] at Bridgeport after midnight and drove from there in a motorcade along Route 8 in the Naugatuck River Valley to Waterbury. All along the road, for more than twenty-seven miles, there were crowds of cheering people, waving torches and red lights, most of them wearing coats over their pajamas and nightgowns, and at the firehouses in every town the fire engines were lines up beside the road with their lights flashing, bells ringing, and sirens wailing.“…All along the road, for more than twenty-seven miles, there were crowds of cheering people, waving torches and red lights, most of them wearing coats over their pajamas and nightgowns…” Although it was almost three o’clock in the morning when we reached Waterbury, there was a roaring crowd of more than forty thousand people in the city square outside the Roger Smith Hotel where Kennedy was to spend the night…
…Then [late Sunday] he flew at night to Lewiston, Maine, arriving there at one-thirty. Lewiston was cold and the airport was dark and empty. The advance man and the few local party leaders who met us at the plane hurried Kennedy into a car and drove him in the the city without saying anything about where he was going. The streets were quiet and empty. He glanced at me questioningly, wondering what he was doing in a freezing cold Maine factory town in the middle of the night when everybody seemed to be in bed. Then we drove into a park where a crowd of more than twenty thousand people were waiting, carrying torchlights. Coming from the cold darkness and stillness of the drive from the airport to the sudden glare of torchlighted area, filled with warmth and excited people, Kennedy was stunned. “My God, isn’t this unbelievable?” he said. Then the crowd recognized him, there was a roar of cheering that could be heard for miles away.
Still, the early November election polls had Nixon and Kennedy pretty much in a dead heat.
JFK and Jackie both voted in Boston on election day then traveled to Hyannis Port to join family, friends, and key campaign staff to await election returns. AP photo.
On election day, Tuesday November 8th JFK and Jackie voted in Boston then traveled to Hyannis Port, Massachusetts to join family, friends, and core campaign staff to monitor the election returns. As the early vote came in from large cities in the East and Midwest – Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Chicago – Kennedy had a large lead in the popular and electoral vote. It appeared he was headed for certain victory. However, after some premature TV declarations of Kennedy wins in selected states – and some retractions – an hours-long “too-close-to-call” contest set in, stretching late into the night and next day. As later election returns came in during the early a.m hours of November 9th – especially from the rural and suburban Midwest, Western states, and Pacific Coast states – Nixon began to catch up. Some newspapers, including the New York Times, had already prepared “Kennedy Elected” headline copy. But the election was still too close to call.
Nov 8, 1960: Election-night coverage by NBC-TV team of Chet Huntley & David Brinkley at desk, with posted election returns.
By 3 a.m, Eastern Time, Kennedy’s popular vote lead – which had been about 2.3 million votes at midnight – had nearly evaporated, and some commentators were saying he might win the presidency with the electoral vote, but lose the popular vote. When Nixon appeared with his wife at the podium in the Ambassador Hotel at 12:30 a.m. Pacific Time (3:30 a.m. EST), four key states were still undecided — California, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota. Only if Kennedy lost all four of these states could Nixon win. As journalist Teddy White put it: “[T]hough Nixon had almost certainly lost, Kennedy had yet not definitely won.” In a televised address from the Ambassador Hotel that night, with a tearful Pat by his side, Nixon told the crowd, “[A]s I look at the board here; while there are still some results to come in,…if the present trend continues, Senator Kennedy will be the next President of the United States.” This wasn’t a Nixon concession, however – as one of his aids, Herb Klein, followed Nixon to say just that. On the East coast, Kennedy’s people, watching the telecast, were furious. But JFK himself, also watching, said: “Why should he concede? I wouldn’t.” And with that, at nearly 4. a.m., JFK went to bed to await the outcome.
Nov 9, 1960 a.m. edition of Los Angeles Times has JFK “nearing victory” amid Nixon’s conditional concession.
By 6:30 a.m. EST the next morning, at NBC-TV in New York, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, having covered the returns for12 straight hours, were still on the air, but had no official final result to broadcast. At around 11:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday morning, November 9th, Nixon still hadn’t conceded. JFK at that point was believed to be 11 electoral votes short of victory, even though at least one TV network had called the election for Kennedy earlier that morning. At about 12:30 EST, Minnesota was added to JFK’s column, which then put him over the top. Within 10 minutes or so of that announcement on TV, a telegram for JFK arrived at Hyannis Port from Nixon: “I want to repeat through this wire congratulations and best wishes I extended to you on television last night. I know that you have united support of all Americans as you lead this nation in the cause of peace and freedom during the next four years.” The Nixon telegram was also read about the same time before TV cameras by Nixon aide Herb Klein. Kennedy had defeated Nixon in one of the closest presidential elections of the twentieth century. In the national popular vote Kennedy led Nixon by just two-tenths of one percent (49.7% to 49.5%), while in the electoral vote – with 269 needed to win – Kennedy received 303 and Nixon 219.
Nov 9th, 1960: Famous photo of JFK with daughter Caroline awaiting final election results at Hyannis Port.
The 1960 Kennedy campaign, in many ways, was a watershed in modern political campaigning. Kennedy and his team broke the mold of what had gone before and set a new style that blended both old and new, tapped into popular culture (e.g., Sinatra’s Rat Pack), and made the most of television. Historian Robert Dallek has stated that no one has yet created a new template the way Kennedy did.
What follows below is an abbreviated timeline of JFK’s campaigning in 1960 – from the primaries of early 1960, through the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in July, to the final fall campaign, September through election day. The left hand column includes a shorthand listing of known campaign stops, speech titles or general topics, meetings, endorsements, and related press and other activities during 1960. The right hand column includes related photos, magazine covers, newspaper clips and other items from the 1960 campaign. Additional photos and campaign information appear below the timeline, in “Sources, Links & Additional Information” at the bottom of this article.
See also at this website additional stories on JFK’s “road to the White House,” including separate stories on his campaigning in 1957, 1958, and 1959, as well as other related stories such as, “The Jack Pack, 1958-1960.” Thanks for visiting – and please consider supporting this website. Thank you. - Jack Doyle(Note: For best viewing below, do not use Explorer. -j.d.)
Jan 2, 1960: Newsreel title screen for story about JFK’s announcement. Newsreels were then used in theaters.
Jan 14, 1960: JFK outlines his strategy for the presidency at the National Press Club in Wash., D.C. Photo, UPI.
Jan 1960: JFK & Jackie campaigning in New Hampshire.
Jan 25, 1960: Nashua Telegraph headlines suggest a favorable showing in New Hampshire after JFK and wife Jackie visited the state in January.
Feb 6, 1960: JFK makes a quick trip to Charleston, WV to file for the state’s May 10th primary election where he will face Sen. Hubert Humphrey. Kennedy, at the desk of State Secretary Joe Burdette, is talking with the press. At left is Neil Boggs of WSAZ. Photo, WV State Archives.
Feb 8, 1960: Frank Sinatra with JFK outside The Sands hotel in Las Vegas where Kennedy stayed during a campaign swing. Sinatra would go “all out” for JFK in 1960. Click for Sinatra & “Jack Pack” story.
Feb 8, 1960: JFK arriving in Roseburg, Oregon, where he is met by a local delegation that includes Edward Murphy (c), his Douglas County campaign manager, and State Rep. W.O. Kelsey (r). Photo, The Oregonian.
Feb 17, 1960: JFK, at the Hotel Retlaw in Fond du Lac, WI, where a large photo of his likeness was mounted behind him, spoke on the topic of “Water Pollution,” noting that in 1959 the beaches of Milwaukee had been closed because the water was unsafe and unhealthy.
JFK, on a winter visit to Manchester, NH, greets student supporters at St. Anselm’s College who have brought along a donkey, symbol of the Democratic Party.
Los Angeles Times headline announces JFK and Nixon victories in the March 8, 1960 New Hampshire primary.
Vying presidential hopefuls in the 1960 Wisconsin Democratic primary, Humphrey & Kennedy, shown on the March 28, 1960 cover of ‘Life’ magazine as they compete for, among other interests, the dairy farm vote.
March 30, 1960: Campaigning early a.m. at the Manitowoc Shipyards in Wisconsin, JFK greets arriving workers and brothers, Ralph and Berlin Schroeder.
April 3rd, 1960: JFK watching a TV playback of an earlier TV appearance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin leading up to the April 5th Wisconsin primary. AP photo.
April 5, 1960: JFK & team working the phones on WI primary night. Behind JFK from left: Pierre Salinger, Kennedy O’Donnell and Larry O’Brien. RFK is on the extreme right.
April 5th, 1960: CBS newsman Walter Cronkite interviews JFK during the Wisconsin primary vote.
April 1960: As JFK stepped off his campaign plane at the Tucson Arizona Municipal Airport, he was greeted by about 150 supporters, some waving “Viva! Kennedy” placards. He was also given a sombrero and a cowboy hat. Photo, Tucson Citizen.
April 9th, 1960: JFK, Rep. Stewart Udall, and guest enjoy a light moment during a Democratic luncheon in Tucson, AZ. Udall would later become Kennedy’s Sec. of the Interior. Tucson Citizen photo.
April 1960: JFK campaigning in rural West Virginia in advance of the state's May 10th primary.
April 1960: JFK meeting with a group of coal miners near Mullens, West Virginia during a shift change while campaigning in Logan County during the West Virginia primary race.
May 1960: Part of the JFK story being disseminated during the election was Kennedy’s WWII heroics, put forward here in a “Man’s Magazine” cover story.
May 15th: JFK threw opening day baseball for Little League teams at Riverside ballpark in Portland, OR. Mike Gefroh caught ball and asked JFK to autograph it.
June 3, 1960: In Michigan, Mackinac Islanders welcome JFK, awarding him a key to the island. Gov. Williams introduced JFK to the crowd. Photo, Detroit News
June 16, 1960: JFK makes guest appearance on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show. Click for video.
June 19, 1960: U.S. Rep. George McGovern, right, joins JFK on the campaign trail in Sioux Falls, S.D.
July 2, 1960: A week before the DNC, former President, Harry Truman said Kennedy was “too young” & “not ready” and charged the DNC was “rigged” in his favor.
July 9, 1960: JFK arriving in Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention, where he is the front- runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
July 13th: North Carolina delegates and LBJ supporters, Gov. Luther Hodges (holding paper) and Senator Sam Ervin Jr., right, at the DNC. Rumor had it that Kennedy was slipping in his bid for the nomination, as Southern delegates battled over civil rights and other issues.
July 14th, 1960: Los Angeles Times banner news head-line announcing JFK’s nomination victory at the DNC.
July 1960: Classic photo of LBJ, RFK & JFK during Johnson’s VP selection. Photo, Jacques Lowe
Aug 14,1960: JFK speaks at FDR Historic Home Site on 25th Anniversary of Social Security Act. Photo, NPS
Aug 14, 1960: JFK admiring bust of FDR while touring the FDR Library during his visit to Hyde Park, NY.
Aug 20, 1960: Cover for major farm conference in Des Moines, IA, with JFK& LBJ attending. JFK pledges Democratic action to raise farm income to “full parity” and “preserve family farming as a way of life.”
Aug 26, 1960: JFK waves to crowd as he leaves Cobo Hall in Detroit following speech to the VFW National Conven-tion. Photo, Tony Spina/Walter Reuther Library
Sept 6, 1960: JFK in Spokane, WA reading about his proposed “wheat plan” in the Spokane Daily Chronicle.
Sept 8-9, 1960: JFK speaking from back of train during two-day California whistlestop tour. Photo, C. Capa
Sept 13: JFK campaigning with LBJ, in Dallas, Texas.
Sept 16th: Crowd fills Penn Square, Lancaster, PA, to hear JFK speak. He also stopped at nearby Columbia, PA, as well as Reading, York and Lebanon, PA that day.
Poster announcing visit of JFK to the York Fair, in York, PA on September 16, 1960.
September 22, 1960: JFK, in backseat of Pontiac convertible, talks with farmer James Cox during a visit to his farm in Fort Dodge, Iowa. AP photo.
Sept 26, 1960: JFK and Richard Nixon appear in the first nationally-televised presidential debate, which many believe Kennedy won. With some 70 million viewers, that debate gave an enormous boost to Kennedy’s campaign. Up to 20 million fewer viewers watched the remaining 3 debates, in which Nixon fared better.
Sept 28, 1960: Erie, PA “Daily Times” headline: “40,000 Greet Kennedy in Erie,” with photo of JFK & crowd.
Sept 29: Female voter in Schenectady, NY makes her preference known. Jackie’s campaigning was limited by her pregnancy, though she made early and late campaign appearances, and was a popular and valued campaigner.
Campaign poster for JFK appearances on Oct 10th, 1960 at Gateway Center & Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh, PA.
Oct. 10, 1960: JFK addressing crowd at the LaGrange-Callaway Airport in Georgia, and would later visit Warm Springs, GA, former FDR retreat. Photo, Atlanta Journal
October 10th, 1960 edition of Newsweek features JFK-Nixon TV debates on its cover along with “stormy K,” a reference to Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev.
October 19th, 1960: JFK & Jackie riding in motorcade during tickertape parade in New York City.
October 24th edition of “Rockford Register-Republic” chronicles JFK Illinois campaign visit, mentioning plans for a 5th national TV debate that never came about.
Oct 31: JFK campaigns in downtown Philadelphia, PA near Citizens for Kennedy-Johnson hdqtrs, 1431 Chestnut St. Photo, Evening Bulletin/Temple Univ.
Nov 1, 1960: JFK in blizzard of confetti in downtown Los Angeles during motorcade up Broadway, where it took more than 1 hour to travel 20 blocks. AP photo
Nov 4, 1960: Headline from ‘Chicago Daily News’ touting big Mayor Daley-backed torchlight parade and stadium rally for JFK that would draw 1.5 million.
Nov 7, 1960: JFK coming into Boston with a police escort after days of campaigning throughout New England. He would make a final campaign speech at the Boston Garden and another on national TV, ending his campaign.
November 9, 1960: A beaming Jackie Kennedy and a happy JFK, during his acceptance speech at the Hyannis Armory in Massachusetts following the long election night.
Jan 2: Wash., DC, Announces Candidacy
Jan 2: Universal-International Newsreel
Jan 2: Waltham, MA, Eleanore Roosevelt
Jan 3: Boston, MA, w/Advisory Group
Jan 3: Wash., DC, NBC’s Meet The Press
Jan 4: New York, NY
Jan 4: Wash. DC, Dinner w/ Joe Alsop
Jan 5: Wash., Dinner w/Ben & Toni Bradlee
Jan 5-6: Ohio Gov. Mike DiSalle for JFK
Jan 5: NH Campaign Office Opens
Jan 6: Wash., Dave Garroway TV filming
Jan 6: Wash., Women’s Nat’l Press Club
Jan 7: Parkersburg, WV, Campaign Mtg
Jan 7: Pres. Eisenhower, State of the Union
Jan 8: New York, Lunch w/ Look Editors
Jan 8: Wash, DC, Foreign Press Assoc.
Jan 8: ‘Kansans for Kennedy’ in Topeka
Jan 9: Nixon Announces Candidacy
Jan 9: Wash., DC, AFL-CIO Reception
Jan 11: Wash., DC, Board of Overseers
Jan 12: Wash., Walter Reuther Mtg.
Jan 12: Wash., Mass. Labor Leaders
Jan 13: Wash., Rep. Torbert MacDonald
Jan 14: Wash., DC, National Press Club
Jan 15: Louisville, KY
Jan 15-18: Palm Beach, FL, R&R
Jan 19: CA Gov. Pat Brown is Candidate
Jan 19: Wash., Lunch w/Joe Alsop
Jan 19: Wash., Bill Gillrick, Life
Jan 19: Wash., Franklin Roosevelt Jr.
Jan 20: Wash., John Oakes, NY Times
Jan 21: Milwaukee, WI with Jackie
Jan 21: Milwaukee Press Conference
Jan 22: Milwaukee, Pfister Hotel
Jan 22: Wash., DC, Gov. M. Williams
Jan 22: Wash., DC, Gov. Pat Brown
Jan 22: Wash., DC, Fundraising
Jan 23: Wash., National Committee
Jan 23: Wash., Pres. Kick-Off Dinner
Jan 24: Cambridge, MA, Harvard Club
Jan 24: Boston, MA, Jeff-Jackson Dinner
Jan 24: Nashua, NH, City Hall
Jan 24: Nashua, NH, Rotary Club
Jan 25: Manchester, NH
Jan 26: Baltimore, MD, Gov. Tawes
Jan 27: Omaha, NE, Labor Recep/Rally
Jan 28: Wash, DC, AP Photographers
Jan 28: Wash., Radio Interview/NY
Jan 30: Salt Lake City, UT, Luncheon
Jan 30: Salt Lake City, Press Conference
Jan 30: Salt Lake City, Later Day Saints
Jan 30: Salt Lake City, KCFX-TV Show
Jan 30: Salt Lake City, Labor Leaders
Jan 30: Salt Lake City, Dem Reception
Jan 30: Salt Lake City, Roosevelt Ball
Jan 31: Reno, NV, Gov’s Reception
Jan 31: Carson City, NV
Feb 1: Carson City, NV, State Legislature
Feb 2: Annapolis, Enters MD Primary
Feb 4: Indianapolis, Enters IN Primary
Feb 4: Gary, IN, Hotel Gary Reception
Feb 4: Gary, Int’l Institute, Benefit Dinner
Feb 5: Gary, Lake County Women’s Club
Feb 5: Gary, Hotel Gary, Press Conf.
Feb 5: E. Chicago, IN, Dem. Luncheon
Feb 5: Gary, IN, U.S. Steel Tour
Feb 5: Terre Haute, IN, Dem Reception
Feb 5: Terre Haute, WTBI-TV
Feb 5: Terre Haute, State Teacher’s Col.
Feb 6: Charleston, WV, Primary filing
Feb 6: Bismark, ND, Hotel Patterson
Feb 6: Bismark, KYFR-TV Interview
Feb 6: Bismark, ND, Young Dems Lunch
Feb 6: Jamestown, ND, Press Conf.
Feb 6: Stutsman County (ND) Dems
Feb 7: Albuquerque, NM, Western Conf.
Feb 7: Albuquerque, New Mexico Univ.
Feb 7: Albuquerque, Dem. Luncheon
Feb 7: Albuquerque, Civic Auditorium
Feb 7: Las Vegas, Sands Hotel, Press
Feb 8: Las Vegas, Conv. Center Spch
Feb 8: Conv. Center Gold Room Recep.
Feb 8: Las Vegas, Sands Hotel
Feb 9: Roseburg, OR, Dem. Committee
Feb 9: Roseburg, Visit Lumber Mill
Feb 9: Roseburg, ‘Better Housing’ Spch
Feb 9: Corvallis, OR, Dem. Committee
Feb 9: Corvallis, Dem. Women
Feb 9: Corvallis, Benton Hotel Spch
Feb 9: Albany, OR, St. Mary’s Hall
Feb 9: Portland, OR, Multnomah Hotel
Feb 10: Portland, Press Conference
Feb 10: Portland, Chamber of Commerce
Feb 10: Newport, OR, Yaquina Harbor
Feb 10: Newport, Georgia Pacific Mill
Feb 10: Newport, Dem. Dinner
Feb 10: Corvallis, OR, Oregon St. Univ.
Feb 10: Portland Airport Reception
Feb 10: Portland-to-Pullman, WA
Feb 10: Pullman, Wash. State Univ.
Feb 11: Spokane, WA, Gonzaga Univ.
Feb 11: Spokane, Whitworth College
Feb 11: Spokane, Labor Council
Feb 11: Spokane, WA, Dem Club Dinner
Feb 12: Palo Alto, CA, Stanford Univ.
Feb 12: Fresno, CA, Dem Clubs Convnt.
Feb 12: Fresno, Hotel Fresno Reception
Feb 13: NY, NY, Dem. State Com. Dinner
Feb 16: Ft Atkinson, Wisconsin
Feb 16: Ft Atkinson, Whitewater College
Feb 16: Lake Geneva, WI. Town Tour
Feb 16: Kenosha, WI, ‘Senior Citizens’
Feb 16: Kenosha, Campaign Song Aired
Feb 16: Madison, WI, Press Conference
Feb 17: Port Washington, WI
Feb 17: West Bend, WI
Feb 17: Mayville, WI, City Hall
Feb 17: Beaver Dam, WI, ‘Dairy Program’
Feb 17: Fond Du Lac, ‘Water Pollution’
Feb 18: Oshkosh, WI, Wisconsin Axle
Feb 18: Oshkosh, Oshkosh Overall plant
Feb 18: Oshkosh, WI, Oshkosh St. College
Feb 18: DePere, WI, St. Norbert’s College
Feb 18: Appleton, WI, Town Center
Feb 18: Green Bay, WI, Champion Paper
Feb 18: Green Bay, WI, ‘Minimum Wage’
Feb 19: Berlin, New Hampshire
Feb 19: Berlin, White Mnt Lumber Co.
Feb 19: Berlin, Burgess Mill
Feb 19: Berlin, Cascade Plant
Feb 19: Berlin, Granite State Lumber Co,
Feb 19: Hannover, NH, Dartmouth College
Feb 19: Lebanon, NH
Feb 19: Claremont, NH, Hotel Moody
Feb 19: Claremont, City Hall Reception
Feb 20: Hartford, CT, Gov’s Mansion
Feb 20: Hartford, Jeff-Jackson Dinner
Feb 24: Madison, WI, ‘Natural Resources’
Feb 24: Madison, WI, East Side Optimists
Feb 24: Portage, WI, ‘Forest Research’
Feb 25: Wausau, WI, ‘Unshared Abundance’
Feb 25: Antigo, WI, ‘Rural Elec Co-ops’
Feb 25: Medford, WI, ‘Natural Resources’
Feb 25: Abbotsford, WI, ‘Social Security’
Feb 26: Eau Claire, WI, ‘…Tight Money’
Feb 26: Chippewa Falls, WI, ‘Ag Research’
Feb 26: Bloomer, WI, ‘REA Co-ops’
Feb 26: Durand, WI, ‘Dairy Program’
Feb 29: U.S. Senate, ‘Investment for Peace’
Mar 4: Indianapolis, IN, File for Primary
Mar 4: Indianapolis, Press Conference
Mar 4: Indianapolis, Visit Campaign Hqtrs
Mar 4: Hutchinson, KS, Democratic Dinner
Mar 4: Gallup Poll: JFK 50%, Nixon 50%
Mar 5: Laconia, NH, Tavern Hotel Brk’fst
Mar 5: Franklin, NH, Reception
Mar 5: Concord, NH, Highway Hotel Recep.
Mar 5: Suncook, NH, Legion Sq. Reception
Mar 5: Manchester, NH, Champagne Mkt.
Mar 5: Manchester, St. Anselm’s College
Mar 5: Nashua, NH, Democratic Dinner
Mar 6: Berlin, NH, City Hall
Mar 6: Hanover, NH, Dartmouth College
Mar 6: Lebanon, NH, City Hall
Mar 6: Dartmouth College Speech
Mar 6: Claremont, NH, City Hall Recep.
Mar 7: Rochester, NH
Mar 7: Rochester, Hubbard Shoe Co.
Mar 7: Somersworth, NH
Mar 7: Somersworth, G.E. Meter Plant
Mar 7: Durham, NH, Lunch, Univ. of NH
Mar 7: Durham, New Hampshire Hall
Mar 7: Durham, Radio Q&A, WNDR
Mar 7: Newington, NH, Simplex Wire Co.
Mar 7: Portsmouth, NH, Press Conference
Mar 7: Dover, NH, City Hall Reception Mar 8: JFK Wins NH Primary
Mar 9: Madison, WI, Press Conference
Mar 9: Baraboo, WI, ‘Forest Products’
Mar 9: Reedsburg, WI, ‘Dairy Income’
Mar 9: Mauston, WI, ‘National Defense’
Mar 9: Sparta, WI
Mar 9: La Crosse, WI, ‘Distressed Areas’
Mar 10: Black Falls, WI
Mar 10: Fairchild, WI, Neillsville H.S.
Mar 10: Marshfield, WI
Mar 10: Stevens Pt., WI, ‘Farm Credit’
Mar 11: Manawa, WI, Coffee Hour
Mar 11: Clintonville, WI
Mar 11: Shawano, WI, ‘Dairy Industry’
Mar 11: New London, WI
Mar 11: Neemah, WI
Mar 11: Meesha, WI
Mar 11: Appleton, WI, Nat. Resources
Mar 12: Wash, DC, Gridiron Dinner
Mar 14: Wash., Building Trades Conf.
Mar 15: Nat’l Veterans For Kennedy
Mar 16: Charleston, WV, Press Conf.
Mar 16: Madison, WI, ‘Disarmament’
Mar 16: Madison, Univ of Wisconsin
Mar 16: Madison, Businessmen’s Club
Mar 17: Cornell, WI, ‘REA Co-ops’
Mar 17: Ladysmith, WI
Mar 17: Park Falls, WI
Mar 17: Mellen, WI
Mar 17: Montreal, WI
Mar 17: Hurley, WI
Mar 17: Ashland, WI
Mar 18: Washburn, WI,
Mar 18: Hayward. WI
Mar 18: Shall Lake, WI
Mar 18: Minong, WI
Mar 18: Gordon, WI
Mar 18: Superior, WI. ‘The Unemployed’
Mar 19: Milwaukee, WI, Press Conf.
Mar 19: Mukwonago, WI, Coffee Hour
Mar 19: Burlington, WI
Mar 19: Racine, WI, Young Democrats
Mar 19: Hayward, WI
Mar 19: Delavan, WI, ‘Small Business’
Mar 19: Janesville, WI, ‘Ag Research’
Mar 20: Milwaukee, WI, ‘Right to Vote’
Mar 20: Marionette, WI, ‘Farm Credit’
Mar 21: Indianapolis, IN, Primary Cert.
Mar 23: Milwaukee, NW Mutual Co.
Mar 23: Milwaukee, G.E. Plant Tour
Mar 23: Milwaukee, Schlitz Plant
Mar 23: Milwaukee, American Motors
Mar 23: Milwaukee, Jewish Com. Center
Mar 24: Sen. Symington Enters Race
Mar 24: Milwaukee, Telephone Co.
Mar 24: Milwaukee, Univ of WI / ‘Berlin’
Mar 24: Milwaukee, Miller Brewing
Mar 24: Kenosha, WI, Am. Motors Plant
Mar 24: Racine, WI, Reception
Mar 25: Hillsboro, WI, High School Spch
Mar 25: Gays Mills, WI
Mar 25: Muscoda, WI
Mar 25: Lancaster, WI, REA County Mtg.
Mar 25: Milwaukee, Univ of WI / ‘Cuba’
Mar 26: Detroit, MI, Dem Midwest Conf.
Mar 26: Cadillac, MI, Press Conference
Mar 27: Detroit, UAW Rally /‘Forand Bill’
Mar 28: Life cover story, WI Primary
Mar 29: Milwaukee, WI
Mar 29: Hudson, WI, ‘Ag Research’
Mar 30: Manitowoc, WI, ‘Farm Co-ops’
Mar 30: Manitowoc, Shipyard Workers
Mar 31: Oconomowoc, WI, ‘Nat’l Forests’
Apr 1: Dodgeville, WI, ‘Fighting Crime’
Apr 1: Beloit, WI, ‘Social Security’
Apr 2: Milwaukee, WI, ‘This Campaign’
Apr 2: Milwaukee, Assoc Student Councils
Apr 3: Milwaukee, ‘American Labor’
Apr 4: Milwaukee, Univ of WI, ‘Berlin’ Apr 5: JFK Wins Wisconsin Primary
Apr 5-6: Kennedy team gathers in WV
Apr 6: JFK at home, Georgetown/D.C.
Apr 7: Alexandria, IN, Farm Forum
Apr 7: Muncie, IN, Ball State University
Apr 7: Muncie, Luncheon /Press Conf
Apr 7: Muncie, Borg Warner /shift change
Apr 7: Lafayette, IN, Am Legion Reception
Apr 7: Lafayette, IN, Jeff-Jackson Dinner
Apr 8: South Bend, IN, Studebaker workers
Apr 8: Plymouth, IN, Marshall Co. Schools
Apr 8: Michawaka, IN, Bal Band plant
Apr 8: South Bend, IN, St. Mary’s College
Apr 8: South Bend, IN, Democratic Dinner
Apr 9: Flagstaff, AZ, Dem Breakfast
Apr 9: Tucson, AZ, ‘Nat Resource Devlpmnt’
Apr 9: Yuma, AZ, ‘High Interest Rates…’
Apr 9: Phoenix, AZ, ‘Natural Resources’
Apr 9: Phoenix, Democratic Reception
Apr 11: “Stop Kennedy” in WV reported
Apr 11: Parkersburg, WV, Elks Club Coffee
Apr 11: Charleston, Morris Harvey College
Apr 11: “ “, Kanawha Co. Court House
Apr 11: Charleston, Kanawha Hotel Lunch
Apr 11: Ona, WV, JFK/Post Office photo
Apr 11: Huntington, WV, Connors Steel
Apr 11: Huntington, Marshall College
Apr 11: Raleigh Co., WV, Airport Rally
Apr 11: Raleigh Co. Courthouse, Press
Apr 11: Beckley, WV, Slab Fork Coal Co.
Apr 11: Beckley, WV, ‘New Deal for WV’
Apr 12: N. Vincent Peale hits JFK religion Apr 12: JFK Wins Illinois Primary
Apr 14: Palm Beach, FL, JFK R&R
Apr 17: Clarksburg, WV, with Jackie
Apr 18: Clarksburg, WBOY-TV
Apr 18: Clarksburg, Jackson Hotel Coffee
Apr 18: Clarksburg, Hazel Atlas plant
Apr 18: Clarksburg, ‘The Unemployed’
Apr 18: Fairmont, WV
Apr 18: Fairmont, ‘Program for Coal’
Apr 18: Fairmont, Lunch/Palace Restaurant
Apr 18: Fairmont, Owens-Illinois Glass
Apr 18: Morgantown, WV, Sterling Faucet
Apr 18: Pursglove, WV, Miners’ Mem. Cntr
Apr 18: Morgantown, Hotel Morgan Recep.
Apr 18: Morgantown, WV, ‘Coal By Wire…’
Apr 19: Bethany, WV, Bethany College
Apr 19: Bethany, W. Liberty St. College
Apr 19: Wheeling, WV, TV Interview
Apr 19: JFK & others, NBC-TV Startime
Apr 19: Wheeling, Sylvania Plant
Apr 19: Wheeling, Press Conference
Apr 19: Wheeling, WV, ‘WV & Pentagon’
Apr 19: Beckley, WV, Arival
Apr 20: Beckley, Beckley Manufacturing
Apr 20: Mt Hope, WV, ‘Food For WV’
Apr 20: Oak Hill, WV, Collins H.S.
Apr 20: Fayetteville, WV
Apr 20: Gauley Bridge, WV, High School
Apr 20: Montgomery, WV, High School
Apr 20: Cedar Grove, WV
Apr 20: Cabin Creek, WV, Jack’s Supmkt.
Apr 20: Charleston, Owens-Illinois plant
Apr 20: Charleston, ‘Program For WV’
Apr 20: Huntington, Depressed Area Aid
Apr 21: Wash., DC, Newspaper Editors
Apr 22: Portland, OR, Arrival/Press Conf
Apr 22: Portland, Omark Industries plant
Apr 22: N. Clackamas, OR, High School
Apr 22: N. Clackamas, Chamber of Com.
Apr 22: Milwaukie, OR, Milwaukie H.S.
Apr 22: Beaverton, OR, First Methodist
Apr 22: Beaverton, Pendleton Mills
Apr 22: S. Eugene, OR, ‘Disarmament’
Apr 23: Medford, OR, Pear Blossom Parade
Apr 23: Medford, Lunch, Hotel Medford
Apr 23: Portland, OR, ‘Social Security’
Apr 23: Ashland, OR
Apr 23: Portland, Cleveland High School
Apr 25: Huntington, WV, Press Conf
Apr 25: Huntington, TV Address
Apr 25: Huntington, Huntington Mfg. Co.
Apr 25: Lavalette, WV, Veterans Hospital
Apr 25: Lavalette, Wayne Co. Courthouse
Apr 25, Crum, WV, Railroad Workers
Apr 25: Kermit, WV
Apr 25: Williamson, WV, ‘Older Citizens’
Apr 25: Omar, WV
Apr 25: Rossmore, WV, Courthouse
Apr 25: Logan, WV, ‘Coal’
Apr 26: Welsh, WV
Apr 26: Amherstdale, WV, with FDR, Jr.
Apr 26: Amherstdale, Nat’l Fuels Policy
Apr 26: Pineville, WV, Court House Spch
Apr 26: Oceana, WV
Apr 26: Man, WV, Bluefield Nat’l Guard
Apr 26: Glenwood, WV
Apr 26: Mullens, WV, ‘Natural Resources…’
Apr 26: Near Mullens, Itmann coal mine
Apr 26: Welsh, Municipal Bldg. Spch
Apr 26: Kimball, WV
Apr 26: Keystone, WV
Apr 26: Northfork, WV
Apr 26: Maybeury, WV
Apr 26: Bramwell, WV
Apr 26: Glenwood Pk, WV, ‘Food For WV’ Apr 26: JFK Wins MA Primary Apr 26: JFK Wins PA Primary
Apr 27: Athens, WV, ‘Teacher College Grads’
Apr 27: Bluefield, WV, Bluefield St. College
Apr 27: Bluefield, Jackie on WHIS-TV
Apr 27: Princeton, WV, Maidenform plant
Apr 27: Charles Town, WV, Dem. Rally
Apr 27: Kimball, WV
Apr 27: Near Eckman, Eureka Hollow
Apr 27: Bramwell, WV
Apr 27: Montcalm, WV
Apr 27: Goodwill Hollow, WV
Apr 27: Hinton, WV, (Ted Kennedy sub)
Apr 27: Alderson, WV, Alderson H.S.
Apr 27: Ronceverte, WV, High School
Apr 27: Lewisburg, WV, High School
Apr 27: White Sulfur Springs, WV
Apr 27: Martinsburg, WV, WEPM Radio
Apr 27: Charles Town, WV, Ractrack
Apr 28: Charleston, WV
Apr 28: Princeton, WV, Courthouse Spch
Apr 29: Albany, IN, U.S. Steel Plant
Apr 29: Seymour, IN, Freeman Field
Apr 29: Kokomo, Howard Co. Ct. Hse
Apr 29: Richmond, IN, Earlham College
Apr 29: Richmond, Holy Family School
Apr 29: Richmond, Jeff-Jackson Dinner
Apr 30: Esdale, WV, JFK sub/sore throat
Apr 30: Park, WV, Kroger’s Store
Apr 30: Kanawha City, WV
Apr 30: South Charleston, WV
Apr 30: Dunbar, WV
Apr 30: Madison, WV, Co. Courthouse
Apr 30: Marmet, WV, Ted Sorenson sub
Apr 30: Chesapeake, WV,
Apr 30: St. Albans, WV, Democratic Rally
Apr 30: Charleston, ‘Industry for WV’
May 1: Parkersburg, WV, ‘WV Primary’
May 1: Weirton, WV, ‘Small Business’
May 3: Welch, WV, ‘Poverty in WV’ May 3: JFK Wins Indiana Primary
May 4: Charleston: JFK/HHH TV-Debate
May 4: Athens, WV, ‘Crisis in Education’
May 4: White Sulphur Springs, WV
May 4: Alderson, WV, ‘Indust. Devel.’
May 4: Ronceverte, WV, ‘Indust. Devel.’
May 4: Lewisburg, WV, ‘Youth Cons. Corps’
May 4: Charleston, ‘American Economy’
May 6: Huntington, WV, Economic Issues
May 7: Omaha, NE, ‘The Pres. Primary’
May 8: Elkins, WV, ‘Indust. Devel.’
May 8: Clarksburg, ‘Indust. Devel.’
May 8: Charleston, WV radio address
May 10: Wash, D.C., Dem Women’s Lunch May 10: JFK Wins WV Primary
May 11: Chestertown, MD, Wash. College
May 12: Rockville, MD, Dem. Women
May 12: NY, NY, Bronx Dem. Dinner
May 13: Hagerstown, MD, ‘Indust. Devel.’
May 13: Frederick MD, Hood College Spch.
May 13: Baltimore, ‘American Economy’
May 14: Elkton, MD, ‘Ed. of Am. Politician’
May 14: Easton, MD, ‘Federal Farm Policy’
May 14: College Pk, Univ of MD Rally
May 14: Salisbury, MD, ‘Older Citizens’
May 14: Cambridge, MD, ‘Water Pollution’
May 14: MD, Alben Barkley Club Banquet
May 15: Portland, OR, Kennedy Rally
May 15: Portland, Riverside Little League
May 15: The Dalles, OR, ‘Oregon Primary’
May 16: Portland, Lewis & Clark College
May 16: Astoria, OR, Democratic Lunch
May 17: Portland, Hillsboro High School
May 17: Eugene, OR, Weyerhaeuser Co. May 17: JFK Wins MD Primary
May 18: St. Helens, OR, Breakfast Spch.
May 18: Portland, OR, Benson H.S. Rally May 20: JFK Wins Oregon Primary
May 27: Spokane, WA, ‘Democratic Party’
May 29: Libertyville, IL, w/Adlai Stevenson
May 31: L.A., CA, Dinner for Gov. Brown
May 31: L.A., CA, Democratic Dinner
May 31: Scripps-Howard papers for LBJ
Jun 1: San Francisco, Gov. Brown Dinner
Jun 2: Chicago, IL, Textile Workers Union
Jun 2: Chicago, JFK: “National Decline”
Jun 3: Mackinac Island, MI
Jun 4: JFK/LBJ Split NM Dem Delegates
Jun 4: Minneapolis, MN, Jeff-Jack Dinner
Jun 7: Grand Rapids, MI, AFL-CIO Convnt.
Jun 7: Gov. Pat Brown Wins CA Primary
Jun 7: Sen. Humphrey, Wins SD Primary
Jun 10: E. Roosevelt Endorses Stevenson
Jun 11: St. Louis Post for Stevenson
Jun 16: JFK on TV’s Jack Paar Show
Jun 17: NY, NY, Nat’l Dem. Luncheon
Jun 18: Aberdeen, SD, ‘Ag Bill of Rights’
Jun 18: Durango, CO, Nat. Resource Cons.
Jun 19: Sioux Falls, SD, Am. Legion Convnt.
Jun 19: Fargo, ND, Fargo Airport Spch
Jun 19: Fargo, ND, Fairgrounds
Jun 19: Fargo, ND, Quentin Burdick Dinner
Jun 22: Dover, DE, Dover Air Force Base
Jun 22: Dover, DE, Dover Hotel
Jun 22: Camden, NJ, John Healey Dinner
Jun 22: Spring Lake., NJ, Dem Dinner
Jun 22: Camden, 1st Cong. Dist. Dinner
Jun 22: Speech before NY Liberal Party
Jun 22: Pittsburgh Press interview
Jun 23: NY, NY, Mtg. w/Martin L. King
Jun 24: Wash., African Diplomatic Corps
Jun 25: Hyannis, MA
Jun 26: Iowa Campaigning, ‘Farm Policy’
Jun 27: Helena, MT
Jun 27: Helena, Montana Legislature.
Jun 27: Helena, Marlow Theater
Jun 27: Helena, Dem State Convention
Jun 27: Helena, Placer Hotel/Dem Mtg
Jun 29: JFK: Mtg w Jackie Robinson.
Jun 30: NYPost: Stevenson-JFK ticket.
Jul 1: A. Clayton Powell for Symington
Jul 1: JFK Meets w/ Sen. Symington
Jul 1: JFK Reply to Jackie Robinson
Jul 2: Harry Truman: “JFK Too Young”
Jul 4: CBS TV: JFK Rebuts Truman
Jul 4: JFK’s Health Raised
Jul 4: Newsweek: Who Can Stop JFK?
Jul 5: LBJ Announces Candidacy
Jul 6: JFK to Harlem, NY/J.R. Jones
Jul 8: NY, JFK Predicts DNC Win
Democratic National Convention
Los Angeles, California
Jul 9: JFK Arrives at DNC
Jul 10: JFK: Meet the Press
Jul 10: JFK Speech at NAACP
Jul 10: Illinois – 59 ½ votes to JFK
Jul 10: Gov. Brown Endorses JFK
Jul 10: E. Roosevelt Arrives at DNC
Jul 10: Dem Nat’l Committee Dinner
Jul 10: Celebrity Gala: Sinatra, et. al.,
Jul 11: DNC Formally Opens
Jul 11: Sammy Davis Booed at DNC
Jul 11: Gov. Lawrence: PA For JFK
Jul 12: JFK/LBJ Showdown Debate
Jul 12: Stevenson Floor Demonstration Jul 13: JFK Nominated/1st Ballot
Jul 14: JFK Picks LBJ For V.P. Slot
Jul 15: JFK Formally Nominated
Jul 16: L.A. Coliseum: ‘New Frontier’
Jul 16: L.A., JFK Press Conference
Jul 16: Dem Nat’l Convention Close
Jul 16: Private Dinner, Romanoff’s
Jul 17: Depart for Boston/Hyannis, MA
Jul-Aug 1960 – Post DNC
Jul 19: Hyannis, Campaign Planning
Jul 19: Look, ‘Kennedys: Pol Machine’
Jul 20: Hyannis, 3 Top Aides Named
Jul 23: Hyannis: Allen Dulles Briefs JFK
Jul 25-28:Republican Nat’l Convention
Jul 26: JFK Praise for Gov. Rockefeller
Jul 28: JFK Accepts TV Debate Prop.
Jul 28: Hyannis: JFK Press Conference
Jul 29: Hyannis: JFK/Stevenson Confer
Jul 29: Hyannis: JFK/LBJ Confer
Jul 29: JFK Accepts 2 More TV Debates
Jul 30: JFK-LBJ Joint Press Conference
Aug 1: Hyannis: Dems on Farm Policy
Aug 2: Hyannis: Civil Rights & Campaign
Aug 4: Gov Meyner Heads NJ Campaign
Aug 5: NY, NY, Overseas Press Club
Aug 6: Hyannis, MA, Lithuanian Leaders
Aug 6: Hyannis, Policy-American Leaders
Aug 6: Hyannis, Chinese-Americans
Aug 6: Hyannis, Immigration Statement
Aug 8: U.S. Senate Reconvenes
Aug 8: Wash., DC, ‘Civil Rights’
Aug 9: Wash., ‘Republicans & Civil Rights’
Aug 10: Truman to Campaign for JFK-LBJ
Aug 10: U.S. Senate, ‘Minimum Wage Bill’
Aug 11: 3 Rail Unions Back JFK-LBJ
Aug 13: Wash., ‘Medical Care of Aged’
Aug 14: Hyde Park, NY w/ E. Roosevelt
Aug 14: Hyde Pk, FDR Home/S.S.Act 25th
Aug 17: Nat’l Assn. County Officials (tel)
Aug 17: U.S. Senate, ‘Airlift Africa’
Aug 18: Wash., ‘Minimum Wage Bill’
Aug 19: ‘Farmers for Kennedy & Johnson’
Aug 20: Omaha, NE, Offutt Air Force Base
Aug 20: Independence, Missouri
Aug 20: Missouri Mtg. w/Harry Truman
Aug 20: Independence, MO, Press Conf.
Aug 20-21: Des Moines, IA, Farm Conf.
Aug 21: Des Moines, LBJ & JFK
Aug 21: Des Moines, LBJ & JFK Press
Aug 21: Des Moines, JFK Farm Spch
Aug 21: “Farmers for JFK-LBJ” Press
Aug 22: Life Magazine Article by JFK
Aug 24: Alexandria, VA, Dem. Rally
Aug 26: NY, NY, Zionists of America
Aug 26: Detroit, MI, VFW Convention
Aug 26: Miami, AMVET Cnvnt. (tel)
Aug 26: AFL-CIO Endorses Kennedy
Aug 30: NY State AFL-CIO (tel)
Aug 30: Wash., DC, Press Conf.
Aug 31: Nat’l Bar Assn., ‘Negro Judges’
Sept 2: Portland, ME, Press Conference
Sept 2: Manchester, NH, Airport Rally
Sept 2: Presque Isle, ME, Airport Rally
Sept 2: Bangor, ME, ‘1960 Election’
Sept 2: Portland, ME, ‘1960 Election’
Sept 3: San Francisco, A-port / Press
Sept 3: Anchorage, AK, A-port / Press
Sept 3: Palmer, Alaska, State Fair
Sept 3: Anchorage, TV/Radio Spot
Sept 4: Detroit, MI, Airport Reception.
Sept 5: Detroit, Labor Day kick-off
Sept 5: Detroit, State Fair/Labor
Sept 5: Pontiac, MI, Labor Day picnic
Sept 5: Flint, MI, Atwood Stadium
Sept 5: Muskegon, MI, Lab. Day Picnic
Sept 5: Muskegon, Doo Drop Inn
Sept 6: Alaska Newspapers by Phone
Sept 6: Pocatello, Idaho, Press Interview
Sept 6: Pocatello, ‘Mining Legislation’
Sept 6: Pocatello, Radio Interview
Sept 6: Spokane, WA, Parade & Speech
Sept 6: Seattle, WA, Public Rally
Sept 6: Seattle, ‘National Defense’
Sept 7: Seattle, WA, Press Conference
Sept 7: Eugene, OR, Public Rally
Sept 7: Eugene, ‘American Prestige’
Sept 7: Salem, OR, Public Rally
Sept 7: Portland, OR, TV Appearance
Sept 7: Portland, Multnomah Hotel
Sept 7: N. V. Peale: Catholic President
California Whistlestop Tour
September 8-9, 1960
Sept 8: Redding, CA
Sept 8: Red Bluff, CA
Sept 8: Chico, CA
Sept 8: Marysville, CA
Sept 8: Sacramento, CA
Sept 8: Davis, CA
Sept 8: Fairfield, CA
Sept 8: Martinez, CA
Sept 8: Richmond, CA
Sept 8: Oakland, CA,
Sept 9: Stockton, CA
Sept 9: Modesto, CA
Sept 9: Turlock, CA
Sept 9: Merced, CA
Sept 9: Madera, CA
Sept 9: Fresno, CA
Sept 9: Tulare, CA
Sept 9: Bakersfield, CA
September 1960 (cont’d)
Sept 9: Burbank, CA, A-port Press
Sept 9: Burbank, Shopping Centery
Sept 9: L.A., Shrine Aud/‘Civil Rights’
Sept 11: San Diego, Linbergh Field
Sept 11: San Diego, Grant Hotel
Sept 11: San Diego, ‘Defense’
Sept 11: El Paso, TX, Arrival
Sept 12: El Paso, ‘Democratic Party’
Sept 12: Lubbock, TX, Airport speech
Sept 12: San Antonio, TX, Motorcade
Sept 12: San Antonio, Alamo Speech
Sept 12: Houston, Coliseum Speech
Sept 12: Houston Ministers Speech
Sept 12: Austin, TX, Arrival
Sept 13: Austin, Spch on Capitol Steps
Sept 13: Ft. Worth, TX, Arrival
Sept 13: Arlington, TX, Motorcade
Sept 13: Dallas, Memorial Aud. Speech
Sept 13: Dallas, Chance Vought Aircraft
Sept 13: Texarkana, TX, Courthouse Square
Sept 13: NY Liberal Party for JFK
Sept 14: St. Louis, I. A.M. Convention
Sept 14: NYC, Dem. Women’s Luncheon
Sept 14: NYC, Fundraising
Sept 14: NYC, Kennedy Workers Rally
Sept 14: NYC, Senior Citizens Rally
Sept 14: NYC, Liberal Party Nomination
Sept 15: Jersey City, NJ, Dem Party Spch
Sept 15: Bergen, NJ, Bergen Mall Rally
Sept 15: Paterson, NJ, City Hall Rally
Sept 15: Newark, NJ, City Hall Rally
Sept 15: Elizabeth, NJ, City Hall Rally
Sept 15: N. Brunswick, Hall of Records
Sept 15: Trenton, NJ, State Office Bldg.
Sept 15: Clifton, NJ, Dem Party Speech
Sept 15: Mercer, PA, Arrival
Sept 15: Harrisburg, PA, Band Greeting
Sept 15: Harrisburg, PA, Market Sq. Spch
Sept 15: Harrisburg, Zembo Mosque
Sept 15: Harrisburg, PA, Statewide TV
Sept 16: Lebanon, PA, ‘Republican Party’
Sept 16: Reading, PA, ‘Republican Party’
Sept 16: Lancaster, PA, Penn Square Spch
Sept 16: Columbia, PA, ‘Republican Party’
Sept 16: York, PA, Lincoln Woods Inn
Sept 16: York, PA, Fairgrounds Speech
Sept 16: Towson, MD, ‘Democratic Party’
Sept 16: Pikesville, MD, ‘Khrushchev Visit’
Sept 16: Washington, DC, Arrival/Home
Sept 17: Greenville, NC, Tobacco Auction
Sept 17: Greenville, E. Carolina Stadium
Sept 17: Greensboro, NC, Airport speech
Sept 17: Ashville, NC, via Phone Conf.
Sept 17: Charlotte, NC, Coliseum Speech
Sept 17: Raleigh, NC, Gov’s Mansion
Sept 17: Raleigh, Rally, Speech, Q&A
Sept 17: Washington, DC, Arrival/Home
Sept 18: Americans for Dem Action for JFK
Sept 19: Atlantic City, NJ, Chem Workers
Sept 19: Atlantic City, NJ, Steelworkers
Sept 19: Charleston, WV, Dan Boone House
Sept 19: Charleston, TV talk & Press Conf
Sept 19: CBS-TV: Cronkite/JFK Interview
Sept 19: CIA’s Allen Dulles Briefs JFK
Sept 19: Washington, DC, Arrival/Home
Sept 20: Wash., DC, Sheraton Hotel Spch
Sept 20: Person to Person TV w/Jackie
Sept 21: Tri Cities Airport, VA/TN, Rally
Sept 21: Knoxville, TN, Airport Rally
Sept 21: Nashville, TN, War Memorial Spch.
Sept 21: Nashville, State Fair, ‘Farm Policy’
Sept 21: Memphis, TN, TV Speech
Sept 21: Memphis, Riverside Drive Rally
Sept 21: Sioux City, IA, Municipal Aud. Spch
Sept 22: Sioux City, Fundraising Breakfast
Sept 22: Fort Dodge, IA, Parade
Sept 22: Fort Dodge, IA, Airport Speech
Sept 22: Sioux Falls, SD, Airport Speech
Sept 22: Sioux Falls, Nat’l Plowing Contest
Sept 22: Mitchell, SD, ‘Federal Farm Policy’
Sept 22: Fargo, ND, Airport Rally/Reception
Sept 22: Billings, MT, Shrine Auditorium
Sept 22: Cheyenne, WY, ‘Nat. Resources’
Sept 23: Cheyenne, Brkfst Spch, Frontier Pk
Sept 23: Cheyenne, Airport Rally
Sept 23: Denver, CO, Civic Center Rally
Sept 23: Denver, CO, Hilton Hotel Spch.
Sept 23: Salt Lake City, Mormon Tabernacle
Sept 23: Salt Lake City, Tabernacle TV Show
Sept 23: Salt Lake City, Hotel Utah Spch
Sept 24: Chicago, Arrival-1st TV debate
Sept 25: Cleveland, OH, Hotel Hollenden
Sept 26: Cleveland, Euclid Beach Pk.
Sept 26: Chicago, IL, Carpenters Union.
Sept 26: 1st Kennedy-Nixon TV Debate
Sept 27: Painesville, OH, ‘Dem. Party’
Sept 27: Lorain, OH, Stadium Rally
Sept 27: Mansfield, OH, ‘Foreign Policy’
Sept 27: Akron, OH, Armory Spch & Rally
Sept 27: Canton, OH, Municipal Aud.
Sept 27: Erie, PA, Airport Rally
Sept 28: Erie, Breakfast Speech
Sept 28: Erie, Lawrence Hotel Rally
Sept 28: Niagra Falls, Bell Aircraft Co.
Sept 28: Niagra Falls, Treadway Inn Spch.
Sept 28: Lockport, NY, ‘Pres. Election’
Sept 29: N. Tonawanda, ‘Pres. Election’
Sept 28: Rochester, NY, Business Leaders
Sept 28: Rochester, War Memorial Rally
Sept 28: Buffalo, NY, Senior Citizens Mtg
Sept 28: Buffalo, Memorial Aud. Speech
Sept 29: Albany, NY, State Capitol Rally
Sept 29: Troy, NY, Rally, ‘Pres. Election’
Sept 29: Schenectady, NY, Rally
Sept 29: Amsterdam, NY, ‘Am. Economy’
Sept 29: Little Falls, NY, Lunch Rally
Sept 29: Ilion, NY
Sept 29: Utica, NY, Rally
Sept 29: Rome, NY, Rally
Sept 29: Oneida, NY, Rally
Sept 29: Syracuse, NY, ‘Foreign Policy’
Sept 29: Syracuse, NY, TV Address
Sept 29: Charles Collingwood, CBS-TV
Sept 30: Hyannis, Huntley-Brinkley/NBC
Oct 1: Chicago, City Hall, ‘Eastern Europe’
Oct 1: Chicago, American Polish Congress
Oct 1: Chicago, Lake Meadow Shop. Cntr
Oct 1: Minneapolis, MN, TV Address
Oct 1: Minneapolis, Bean Feed
Oct 1: Minneapolis, Fundraising Spch
Oct 2: St. Paul, MN, Airport Rally
Oct 2: St. Paul, St. Paul Hotel Spch
Oct 2: St. Paul, GTA Convention
Oct 2: Duluth, MN, Univ of MN
Oct 2: Hibbing, MN, Mem. Arena Spch.
Oct 2: St. Louis, Arrival, Chase Hotel
Oct 3: Alton, IL, ‘Democratic Party’
Oct 3: Granite City, IL, ‘Pres. Election’
Oct 3: E. St. Louis, 15th & Broadway
Oct 3: E. St. Louis, National Stockyards
Oct 3: Belleville, IL, Augustine’s
Oct 3: Belleville, ‘1960 Pres. Election’
Oct 3: Carbondale, IL, Stadium Speech
Oct 3: Marion, IL, Court House
Oct 3: Marion, Veterans’s Hospital
Oct 3: Marion Airport, ‘Dem Party’
Oct 3: Harrisburg, IL, ‘Farm Policy’
Oct 3: Venice, IL, ‘Republican Party’
Oct 3: Springfield, IL, Armory Spch.
Oct 3: Chicago. IL
Oct 4: Evansville, IN, Courthouse Rally
Oct 4: Indianapolis, IN, WTTV-TV
Oct 4: Indianapolis, Auditorium Spch
Oct 5: Pendleton, IN, ‘Am. Economy’
Oct 5: Anderson, IN, Courthouse Rally
Oct 5: Muncie, IN, Courthouse Rally
Oct 5: Muncie, Muncie Gear Works
Oct 5: Terre Haute, IN, Courthouse Rally
Oct 5: Louisville, KY, Jefferson Square
Oct 5: Louisville, Fairgrounds
Oct 5: Louisville, KY, TV Address
Oct 6: Cincinnati, OH, Gov’t Square
Oct 6: Cincinnati, Democratic Dinner
Oct 6: Washington, DC, Arrival Home
Oct 7: DC, Howard Univ, ‘Civil Rights’
Oct 7: Kennedy-Nixon, 2nd TV Debate
Oct 8: Lexington, KY, University of KY
Oct 8: Bowling Green, KY, Courthouse
Oct 8: Paducah, KY, Rally
Oct 8: Washington, DC, Arrival Home
Oct 9: Youngstown, OH, Rally
Oct 9: Girard, OH, ‘Democratic Party’
Oct 9: Warren, OH, Courthouse Rally
Oct 9: Salem, OH, Rally
Oct 9: Louisville, KY, ‘Democratic Party’
Oct 10: Columbus, GA, Airport Rally
Oct 10: Warm Springs, Little White Hse
Oct 10: La Grange, GA, Airport
Oct 10: Columbia, SC, State House Spch
Oct 10: Pittsburgh, PA, Gateway Center
Oct 10: Pittsburgh, Urban Affairs Conf.
Oct 10: Pittsburgh, Syria Mosque
Oct 10: NYC, Late night arrival
Oct 12: NYC, Breakfast w/Mrs Roosevelt
Oct 12: NYC, Columbus Day Parade
Oct 12: NYC, Associated Biz Pubs Conf.
Oct 12: NYC, Democratic Committees
Oct 12: NYC, Constitutional Rights Conf.
Oct 12: Mineola, NY, Long Island Fair
Oct 12: NYC, Hotel Theresa Rally
Oct 12: E. Harlem, Puerto Rican Rally
Oct 12: NYC, Nat’l Council of Women
Oct 13: Kennedy-Nixon, 3rd TV Debate
Oct 13: Los Angeles Times for Nixon
Oct 14: Ann Arbor, U. of Mich /early a.m.
Oct 14: Whistle stop /Southern Mich??
Oct 14: Jackson, MI, ‘Democratic Party’
Oct 14: Albion, MI, Republican critique
Oct 14: Marshall, MI, ‘Democratic Party’
Oct 14: Battle Creek, MI
Oct 14: Kalamazoo, MI, ‘Foreign Policy’
Oct 14: Grand Rapids, MI, Rally
Oct 14: E. Lansing, Mich. State University
Oct 14: Owasso, MI, ‘American Economy’
Oct 14: Lansing, MI, Capitol Steps Spch.
Oct 14: Bay County, MI
Oct 14: Saginaw, MI, ‘Democratic Party’
Oct 14: Denver, CO, Adult Ed Assoc.
Oct 15: Sharon, PA, Rally
Oct 15: New Castle, PA, Rally
Oct 15: Beaver Falls, PA, Rally
Oct 15: Butler, PA, ‘American Economy’
Oct 15: Kittanning, PA, Rally
Oct 15: Indiana, PA, Rally
Oct 15: Johnstown, PA, Rally
Oct 15: Washington, DC, Arrive Home
Oct 16: Levittown, NJ, Shopping Cntr Rally
Oct 16: Wilmington, DE, Airport Rally
Oct 16: Wash., DC, Meet The Press TV
Oct 16: Silver Spring, MD, Blair H.S.
Oct 17: Dayton, OH, Courthouse Rally
Oct 17: Dayton, Biltmore Hotel Speech
Oct 17: Fairborn, OH, Rally
Oct 17: Springfield, OH, Wittenberg College
Oct 17: London, OH, ‘Democratic Party’
Oct 17: Columbus, OH, Statehouse Rally
Oct 18: N. Miami Bch, FL, 163rd St. Rally
Oct 18: Miami, Am. Legion Convention/TV
Oct 18: Tampa, FL, Latin America speech
Oct 18: Jacksonville, FL. Hemming Park
Oct 18: Esquire’s N. Mailer JFK Story
Oct 19: NY City Hall steps, JFK speech
Oct 19: Motorcade through NY City
Oct 19: NYC: Rockefeller Plaza Rally
Oct 19: NYC: Union Hall Speech
Oct 19: Yonkers, NY, ‘Democratic Party’
Oct 19: NYC, Alfred E. Smith Dinner
Oct 20: Brooklyn, Fulton & Duffield Sts.
Oct 20: Brooklyn, Fulton & Nostrand Sts.
Oct 20: Brooklyn, Foster & Nostrand Sts.
Oct 20: Brooklyn, NY, Sears Roebuck
Oct 20: Brooklyn, Utica & Eastern
Oct 20: Brooklyn, Macy’s Dept Store
Oct 20: NYC, Pat Clancy Dinner, Astor
Oct 20: NYC: Madison Sq. Garden Spch
Oct 21: Kennedy-Nixon, 4th TV Debate
Oct 22: St. Louis, MO, Democratic Brkfst
Oct 22: Crestwood, MO, ‘1960 Election’
Oct 22: St. Louis, Northland Shop Cntr
Oct 22: Jennings, MO, ‘Dem. Party’
Oct 22: Joplin, MO, Airport Rally
Oct 22: Wichita, KS, Lawrence Stadium
Oct 22: K.C., MO, Richards-Gebaur AFB
Oct 22: Grandview, MO, Truman Shop Cntr
Oct 22: Kansas City, MO, Televised Spch
Oct 22: Kansas City, KS, Shawnee H.S.
Oct 22: Prairie Vlg., KS, Johnson Co. Dems
Oct 22: Green Bay, WI, Arrival, p.m.
Oct 23: Green Bay, Brown County Arena
Oct 23: La Crosse, WI, Airport Rally
Oct 23: Madison, WI, Field House Rally
Oct 23: Milwaukee, WI, Parade
Oct 23: Milwaukee, Arena Speech, TV
Oct 24: Champaign, IL, Willard Airport
Oct 24: Champaign-Urbana, Univ. of IL
Oct 24: Moline, IL, New Field House
Oct 24: Peoria, IL, Downtown Rally
Oct 24: Peoria, Live TV Program
Oct 24: E. Peoria, Caterpillar Plant
Oct 24: Rock Island, IL, ‘Nixon’s Record’
Oct 24: Rockford, IL, Coronado Theater
Oct 25: Chicago, O’Hare Inn
Oct 25: Libertyville, IL
Oct 25: Lake Zurich, IL
Oct 25: Barrington, IL, Barrington School
Oct 25: Carpentersville, IL,
Oct 25: Dundee, IL, Shopping Cntr Rally
Oct 25: Elgin, IL, Parade & Rally
Oct 25: Elgin, IL, Rally, Elgin Watch Co.
Oct 25: St. Charles, IL, Baker Park
Oct 25: Geneva, IL, Geneva Courthouse
Oct 25: Batavia, IL, ‘1960 Election’
Oct 25: Mooseheart, IL, Boys’ Home
Oct 25: Northgate, IL, Shopping Center
Oct 25: Aurora, IL, City Hall Rally
Oct 25: Elmhurst, IL, ‘Prestige Abroad’
Oct 25: Plainfield, IL
Oct 25: Hillcrest, IL, Shopping Center
Oct 25: Joliet, IL, Rally
Oct 25: York Township, IL, High School
Oct 26: Selfridge AFB, Michigan
Oct 26: Mt. Clemens, MI, Speech
Oct 26: Warren, MI, Republican. Critique
Oct 26: Rosedale, MI, ‘Education’
Oct 26: Hamtramck, MI
Oct 26: Macomb Co., MI. Shopping Cntr
Oct 26: Detroit, MI, Dem Party Workers
Oct 26: Detroit, Michigan State Fair
Oct 26: Detroit, Keyworth Stadium Speech
Oct 26: Detroit, Coliseum Speech (TV)
Oct 26: Newark, NJ, Governor’s Ball
Oct 26: Phone call to Coretta Scott King
Oct 27: NYC, ILGWU Speech (TV)
Oct 27: NYC, Liberal Party Rally
Oct 27: NYC, Stuyvesant Town Rally
Oct 27: NYC, Union Sq / Workers Rally
Oct 27: NYC, New York University
Oct 27: Brooklyn, NY, Motorcade
Oct 27: Brooklyn, Eastern Pkwy Arena
Oct 27: Queens, Sunnyside Gardens
Oct 27: Staten Island, NY
Oct 27: Bethlehem, PA, Arrival, p.m.
Oct 28: Bethlehem, Democratic Breakfast
Oct 28: Bethlehem, Moravian College
Oct 28: Allentown, PA, Center Sq Rally
Oct 28: Pottsville, PA, Rally
Oct 28: Hazleton, PA, Rally
Oct 28: Wilkes-Barre, PA, Rally
Oct 28: Scranton, PA, ‘Am. Economy’
Oct 28: Phila., PA, Aronomink CClub
Oct 29: Phila., PA, Lawrence Park
Oct 29: Chester, PA, Rally
Oct 29: Upper Darby, PA, Rally
Oct 29: Montgomery, PA, Lord & Taylor
Oct 29: Roosevelt Field, PA, Rally
Oct 29: Willow Grove, PA Snellenburg’s
Oct 29: Cheltenham, PA, Shopping Cntr
Oct 29: Philadelphia, PA, WFIL-TV
Oct 29: Valley Forge, PA, Rally
Oct 29: Valley Forge, Fundraising Din.
Oct 29: JFK cover, Saturday Eve. Post
Oct 30: Chicago Tribune endorses Nixon
Oct 30: Levittown, PA, Shopping Cntr
Oct 30: Phila., PA, Face The Nation TV
Oct 31: Phila., 6 Citizen Groups
Oct 31: Phila., Penn Fruit Shop Cntr
Oct 31: Phila., Bonds for Israel Dinner
Oct 31: Phila., Raymond Rosen Apts.
Oct 31: Phila., Rayburn Plaza Rally
Oct 31: Phila., TV studio
Oct 31: Phila., Temple University
Oct 31: Phila., Fundraising Dinner
Nov 1: Los Angeles, Univ of So Cal
Nov 1: L.A., Elks Auditorium
Nov 1: L.A., Negro Ministers Mtg
Nov 1: L.A., Garment Workers Rally
Nov 1: Long Beach, Douglas Aircraft
Nov 1: Redondo Bch, South Bay Cntr
Nov 1: East L.A. State College Rally
Nov 2: L. A., Dem Women Breakfast
Nov 2: San Diego, City Plaza Rally
Nov 2: San Diego, Linbergh Field
Nov 2: San Jose, Downtown Rally
Nov 2: Oakland, Defremery Park
Nov 2: San Francisco, Fundraising
Nov 2: San Francisco, Cow Palace/TV
Nov 2: Henry Fonda w/Jackie K./ TV
Nov 3: Phoenix, AZ, Arrival, a.m.
Nov 3: Phoenix, Party Workers Brkfst
Nov 3: Phoenix, Rally/Spch/Telecast
Nov 3: Albuquerque, NM, Airport
Nov 3: Albuquerque, Univ. Rally
Nov 3: Amarillo, TX, w/LBJ
Nov 3: Wichita Falls, Airport Rally
Nov 3: Oklahoma City, Rally /TV
Nov 3: Okla. City, Reding Shop Cntr
Nov 4: Wash., DC, Arrive, early a.m.
Nov 4: Roanoke, VA, Airport Rally
Nov 4: Norfolk, VA, Campaign Rally
Nov 4: Toledo, OH, Courthouse Rally
Nov 4: Chicago, Buffet w Mayor Daley
Nov 4: Chicago /Torchlight /1.5 million
Nov 4: Chicago Stadium / NBC-TV
Nov 5: NYC, Fundraising Breakfast
Nov 5: NYC, Bronx, Grand Concourse
Nov 5: NYC, Bronx Women/Lunch
Nov 5: NYC, Queens Women/Lunch
Nov 5: NYC, Queens, Blvd Restaurant
Nov 5: NYC, Columbus Circle Spch
Nov 5: Nassau Co, NY, Sunrise Ave.
Nov 5: Flushing, NY, Elchester Apts.
Nov 5: NYC, 90th Street Rally
Nov 5: NYC, State Dems Meeting
Nov 5: NYC, Coliseum (outside)
Nov 5: NY Coliseum, ‘Presidency’
Nov 5: Waterbury, CT, Arrival, p.m.
Nov 6: Waterbury, Street Rally
Nov 6: New Haven, CT. Street Rally
Nov 6: Bridgeport, Railroad Plaza
Nov 6: Lake Ronkonkoma, CT
Nov 6: Newark, NJ, Mosque Theater
Nov 6: Teterboro, Teaneck Armory
Nov 6: Jersey City, NJ, Journal Sq.
Nov 6: Lewiston, Maine
Nov 6: Nixon TV Program
Nov 6: NYC, JFK TV Program
Nov 6: Gallup: 49% JFK, 48% Nixon
Nov 7: Roper: 49% Nixon, 47% JFK
Nov 7: Time cvr, ‘Candidate Kennedy’
Nov 7: Providence, RI, Airport
Nov 7: Providence, City Hall
Nov 7: Springfield, MA, city Hall
Nov 7: Hartford, CT, ‘Am. Economy’
Nov 7: Burlington, VT
Nov 7: Manchester, NH, Park Rally
Nov 7: Nixon Celeb TV Telethon
Nov 7: Manchester, JFK TV Program
Nov 7: T. Dewey on TV, Rebuts JFK
Nov 7: Boston, MA, Boston Garden
Nov 7: Boston, Nat’l TV Address
Nov 8: Election Day Nov 9: JFK Elected President
Nov 9: Hyannis, Press Conference
Nov 9: Boston, ‘City Upon a Hill’
Post Election, Cabinet, etc.
Nov 10: Palm Beach, FL, R&R
Nov 12: L. Hodges: Commerce Sec
Nov 14: JFK & Nixon Meet/FL
Nov 16: Absentee Ballot Count
Nov 16: Nixon Wins California
Nov 18: A. Dulles Briefs JFK
Nov 21: Life cover, ‘Kennedys’
Nov 25: John F. Kennedy, Jr Born
Dec 1: Sen Ribbicoff: HEW Sec.
Dec 7: Rep Udall: Interior Sec.
Dec 12: Dean Rusk: Sec of State
Dec 13: R. McNamara, Defense Sec.
Dec 15: Final Election Vote Count
Dec 15: O. Freeman: Sec of Ag
Dec 15: A. Goldberg: Labor Sec.
Dec 16: RFK: Attorney General
Dec 16: D. Dillon, Treasury Sec.
Dec 17: J.E. Day, Postmaster Gen.
Dec 19: Electoral College Vote
Dec 19: Life: JFK, Jr Christening
Dec 25: Kennedys to Palm Beach
Jan 2: JFK to Orange Bowl
Jan 19: Wash., DC, Snow
Jan 19: Pre-Inaugural Gala Jan 20: JFK Inauguration
Jan 20: JFK: “Ask Not…”
Jan 20: 80 Million TV Viewers
Jan 21: JFK Meets w/Cabinet
Note: This listing provides a rough overview of JFK’s 1960 travel itinerary, speeches, and other activities at the listed locations. Some dates and events are “best approximations” given uncertain and/or conflicting sourcing information. Sources for many of these campaign stops are listed below along with additional photos. More detailed information on JFK’s activities at many of these locations is available at the JFK Presidential Library in Boston.
Article Citation: Jack Doyle, “JFK’s 1960 Campaign: Primaries & General
Election,” PopHistoryDig.com, July 19, 2014.
Sources, Links & Additional Information
A Norman Rockwell portrait of JFK appeared on the cover of the ‘Saturday Evening Post’ of Oct 29, 1960 – the Post then being one of the nation’s largest circulation magazines, and Rockwell, one of America’s most famous illustrators and portrait artists. He also did Nixon's.
JFK greeting Ohio Democratic Gov. Mike DiSalle, who after some Kennedy-team pressure, announced in Jan-uary 1960 that Ohio’s delegates would be JFK’s at DNC.
Jan 3, 1960: JFK on ‘Meet the Press’ TV show a day after he announced his candidacy. At left is Ned Brooks, the show’s moderator. AP photo.
Jan 21, 1960: JFK at a press conference in Milwaukee, WI, where he announced he would run in the state’s April 5th, 1960 primary against Sen. Hubert Humphrey. Kennedy aide, Pierre Salinger, is seen in the back-ground, far right, reading from paper. Photo, UPI.
January 24, 1960: JFK & Jackie, campaigning in Nashua, N.H., sit at local lunch counter and chat with townsfolk.
March 28, 1960: A key early test for JFK came in the Wisconsin primary of April 5th, 1960, as Newsweek asked: “Who’ll Tumble?”– Humphrey or Kennedy?”
JFK addressing a breakfast or luncheon gathering in Wisconsin prior to that state’s April 5th, 1960 primary.
April 5th, 1960: Sen. Hubert Humphrey and JFK enjoy a moment of friendly banter during tabulation of the West Virginia primary election returns, which JFK would win.
April 25, 1960: JFK campaigns in rural Logan County, West Virginia looking for support for the May 10th primary, precariously perched on a high-chair to deliver his speech. Photo, Hank Walker.
April 1960: JFK shakes hands with a one-arm coal miner while campaigning in Mullens, WV. Photo/Hank Walker.
May 4th, 1960: During the West Virginia primary, JFK and Sen. Humphrey had a key televised debate over Channel 8, WCHS-TV, in Charleston, WV.
June 27, 1960: JFK addressed the Montana State Democratic Convention in Helena, and attended other events at the Marlow Theater and Civic Center. Ted Kennedy and Sargent Shriver were with JFK on this visit.
July 10th: JFK chats with sister Pat during fundraising dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with VIP guests such as Frank Sinatra (rt). Photo, L.A. Mirror-News.
Part of a 3-panel Kennedy-Johnson flyer on “human rights for every American” – to work, education, just compensation, live where he chooses, “security in sickness;” to vote, speak, read and worship as he pleases, and to be free from the terror of war – taken from a July 1960 JFK speech before the NAACP in L.A.
July 10, 1960: Hollywood star Judy Garland, center, flanked by Adlai Stevenson and JFK during fundraising event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in L.A. during the DNC.
July 15: At the close of the DNC, JFK delivers his “New Frontier” speech at the L.A. Coliseum to an audience of 80,000. VIPs Stevenson, Humphrey and Symington are behind him as some “Kennedy Girls” look on as well.
July 19, 1960: Look magazine's story: "The Kennedys: A Family Political Machine."
Aug 20th, Omaha, NE: JFK at Offutt AFB for briefing on SAC operations with Gen. Thomas S. Power (r), Strategic Air Command chief, and Gen. Curtis LeMay, Air Force vice chief of staff. AP photo.
Sept 6, 1960: JFK’s car in Spokane, WA is surrounded by crowds in downtown area as he campaigns with Gov. Albert D. Rosellini (L) and Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson (waving), then DNC chairman.
Sept 12, 1960: In an attempt to quell questions about his Catholic religion and a Catholic becoming president, JFK gave an eloquent and convincing speech to the Ministers' Association of Greater Houston, addressing some 600 clergy and guests, taking their questions, and generally defusing a major issue that had dogged his campaign.
Oct 14, 1960: Just before 2:00 a.m., thousands of students at the Univ. of Michigan greet JFK on the steps of the Michigan Union to hear his call for a “Peace Corps.”
Oct 17, 1960: JFK beset by a group of female admirers at the Dayton, OH airport – Life magazine would call JFK’s rock-star treatment “the adoration phenomenon.”
Oct 24, 1960: JFK spoke before some 10,000 college students and faculty who packed the University of Illinois Quad at Urbana to hear him speak on foreign policy. It was the first political speech allowed on university property since the 1870s.
Spring 1960: During the primaries, and traveling aboard ‘The Caroline,” photographer Jacques Lowe caught Kennedy with one of his “calming props” – here holding a cigar. JFK used cigars, lit and unlit, during conversation and while working on strategy, but mostly in private. He preferred the narrower size, including one favorite, Cuba's Petit Upmann. Click for video vignette.
Nov 1960: A few days before the election, in early November, Kennedy’s campaign made a blitz of New England, bringing out tens of thousands. Here the Bridgeport, CT ‘Sunday Herald’ notes an expected turnout.
Nov 4: JFK campaigning at airport rally at Woodrum Field, Roanoke, VA, four days before the election.
Jan 20, 1961: Famous photo taken by AP’s Henry Burroughs of Jackie touching her husband’s face on Inauguration Day in the Capitol, a private moment in which she was expressing how proud she was; a moment she would later describe as “so much more emotional than any kiss because his eyes really did fill with tears.”
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, JFKlibrary.org, Boston, MA.
“Statement of Senator John F. Kennedy Announcing Candidacy for President of the United States, January 2, 1960,” Archives .gov.
Kenneth P. O’Donnell and David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1970.
Jacques Lowe, Portrait: The Emergence of John F. Kennedy, New York: Bramhall House/ McGraw-Hill, 1961.
The New York Times and Jacques Lowe, The Kennedy Years, New York: Viking Press, 1964.
Chalmers M. Roberts, “Gov. DiSalle Gives Ohio To Kennedy; Will Head State’s Delegation Pledged To Bay Stater,” Washington Post/Times Herald, January 6, 1960, p. A-1.
“January 14, 1960 – Senator John F. Kennedy at National Press Club, Washington, D.C.,” YouTube.com (excerpts).
Chalmers M. Roberts, “Kennedy Displays His Humor and Seriousness,” Washington Post/Times Herald, January 15, 1960, p. A-9.
John D. Morris, “Kennedy Pledges Firm Presidency; Attacks Eisenhower Concept of the Office… Pledges a ‘Strong’ Presidency if Elected,” New York Times, January 15, 1960.
Marquis Childs, “Kennedy’s Engine Picking Up Steam,” Washington Post/Times Herald, January 15, 1960, p. A-12.
Russell Baker, “Nixon Criticizes Kennedy’s Views About Presidency; Says Senator Is Confusing ‘Table Pounding’ With Strong Leadership Eisenhower Defended He Gets Results by Using Persuasion, Vice President Asserts…,” New York Times, January 17, 1960, p. 1.
Russell Baker, “Kennedy Will Vie With Humphrey in Wisconsin Test; His Formal Entry Expected Tomorrow in Milwaukee — Fight Could Be Decisive,” New York Times, January 20, 1960, p. 1.
Austin O. Wehrwein, “Wisconsin’s Primary Could Narrow Field; Loss There Might Put Humphrey Or Kennedy Out of the Race,” New York Times, January 24, 1960, p. E-4.
“Kennedy Hits Johnson for Avoiding Primaries; Senator in New Mexico Bid for Support Raps Candidates Who Skip Popular Test,” Los Angeles Times, February 8, 1960, p. 1.
“Kennedy Says We Should Err On Side Of Safety In Spending For Defense,” Washington Post /Times Herald, February 21, 1960.
John H. Fenton, “Nixon Denies Kennedy Is Soft on Reds, Repudiating New Hampshire Governor; Angry Senator Asserts He Is Disgusted at ‘Smear’ — Primary Is Today; Powell Reiterates Stand in a Telegram Sent to the Vice-President…,” New York Times, March 8, 1960.
“Nixon, Kennedy Score Big Victories in N.H.,” Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1960, p. 1.
UPI, “Kennedy Enters Indiana Primary; Baptist Sect Demonstrators Challenge Him to Debate on Catholic President,” New York Times, March 22, 1960.
“Strategic Warpath in Wisconsin; Kennedy Bandwagon, Challenged By Humphrey, Heads For First Big Test,” Life, March 28, 1960, pp. 22-27.
Robert Ajemian, “Jack’s Campaign Aids: Hard Working Family, Enthusiastic Catholics,” Life, March 28, 1960, pp. 28-29.
Edward T. Folliard, “Triumph for Kennedy Not Up to Expectations” (re: Wisconsin victory), Washington Post / Times Herald, April 6, 1960, p. A-1.
W. H. Lawrence, “’Stop Kennedy’ Drive Led By Byrd of West Virginia; Coalition Being Formed to Support Humphrey in Primary…,” New York Times, April 11, 1960, p. 1.
Chalmers M. Roberts, “Supporters of 3 Absent Candidates Gang Up on Kennedy in West Virginia,” Washington Post/Times Herald, April 14, 1960, p. A-1.
Carroll Kilpatrick, “Kennedy Opens Fire On Bigotry; He Takes Offensive In W.Va; Charges Plot to Beat Him; Kennedy Strikes at Religious Issue, Charges ‘Gang-Up’; Sees Rival a Stalking-Horse, Points to State Problems,” Washington Post/Times Herald, April 19, 1960, p. A-1.
Harry McCracken, “My Kennedy Polaroids: Instant History”(Medford, Oregon, April 23, 1960),” Time.com (techland), January 14, 2013.
Carroll Kilpatrick, “Tour of West Virginia Planned by Johnson,” Washington Post/Times Herald, April 30, 1960, p. A-2.
“Kennedy-Humphrey Primary Debate” (West Virginia, TV Debate), OurCampaigns.com, May 4, 1960.
Laurence Stern, “Kennedy Taunts His Opponents, Says Rivals Felt They Couldn’t Win In the Primaries,” Washington Post/Times Herald, May 15, 1960, p. A-1.
“Battleground West Virginia: Electing the President in 1960,” A West Virginia Archives and History Online Exhibit, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, WVCulture.org.
“End of the Beginning,” CNN/Time, Back in Time, March/April/May 1960 (primaries).
“A Small State Takes The Limelight: Hard Test in West Virginia of Kennedy’s Momentum,” Life, May 9, 1960, pp. 24-29.
Will Cronyn, “Over 4000 Hear Kennedy at Coliseum [May 14th]; Seeks to Capture State’s Votes in Tuesday Primary,” The Diamondback (College Park, University of Maryland), Tuesday, May 17, 1960.
Laurence Stern, “Kennedy Garners 70 Per Cent of Vote In Maryland Race,” Washington Post/Times Herald, May 18, 1960, p. A-1.
Laurence Stern, “First Ballot Victory Seen For Kennedy,” Washington Post/Times Herald, May 19, 1960, p. B-7.
“Kennedy’s Drive Gain Momentum in Oregon Sweep,” New York Times, May 22, 1960.
Edward T. Folliard, “Reporters Fail to Find Kennedy Bought Victory” (re: West Virginia primary), Washington Post/Times Herald, May 31, 1960, p. A-1.
Austin C. Wehrwein (Chicago, June 2), “Kennedy Charges National Decline; Says Administration Hasn’t Kept Pace With Red Gains — Williams Endorses Him,” New York Times, June 3, 1960, p. 1.
Edward T. Folliard , “Kennedy Backers See 650 1st-Ballot Votes,” Washington Post/Times Herald, June 5, 1960, p. A-1.
Richard F. Shepard, “Senator Kennedy to Be Paar Guest; Candidate Will Appear Next Thursday — Visit Raises Issue of Equal Time,” New York Times, June 9, 1960.
“JFK on Jack Paar Show, June 16, 1960,” YouTube.com (4:19), Uploaded by LPXI, December 18, 2010.
Interview by P.L. Prattis, Editor, “Senator Kennedy’s Answers” (civil rights issues), The Pittsburgh Press, June 22, 1960.
Clayton Knowles, “Kennedy’s Reply to Truman Asks Young Leaders; Senator Contends ‘Strength and Vigor’ Are Required in the White House, Refuses to Withdraw; Also Rejects Charge That Convention Is ‘Rigged’ — Cites Primary Victories,” New York Times, July 5, 1960, p. 1.
John D. Morris, (Washington, DC, July 5, 1960) “Johnson Enters Race Officially; Sees 500 Votes; Texan Says Kennedy Will Receive Fewer than 600 on the First Ballot; Health Issue Is Barred; Majority Leader Criticizes New Englander Obliquely — Cheered by Backers Johnson Enters Race Officially; Predicts Victory at Los Angeles,” New York Times, July 6, 1960.
James Reston, New York Times columnist, “Convention Marks The End of Political Boss Era and Shift to a New Generation,” Los Angles Times, July 10, 1960.
“Cheers and Boos Greet Kennedy at Rights Rally; Senator Calls for Action Against Racial Discrimination at White House Level,” Los Angeles Times, July 11, 1960, p. 3.
“Delegates Boo Negro; But Sammy Davis Jr. Is Also Applauded at Convention,” New York Times, July 12, 1960.
“Demos Decide Today; Kennedy Out in Front,” Los Angeles Times, July 13, 1960, p. 1.
John D. Morris, “Johnson Strives to Halt Kennedy; They Meet in a TV ‘Debate’ — Texan Criticizes Rival on Senate Absenteeism..,” New York Times, July 13, 1960, p. 1.
Kyle Palmer, “Liberals Nail Kennedy To Their Platform,” Los Angles Times, July 13, 1960.
“The Kennedys: A Family Political Machine,” Look, July 19, 1960.
“Giant Jazz Show to Boost Kennedy,” Washington Post/Times Herald, July 25, 1960, p. 21.
“Kennedy Accepts Nixon TV Debate; Vice President Is Agreeable but Bars Reading Notes — 8 Hours Proposed,” New York Times, July 29, 1960.
“The Race Is On,” New York Times Magazine, August 14, 1960.
National Park Service, “On With History,” Home Of Franklin D. Roosevelt, National Historic Site New York, JFK Visit, August 1960, NPS.gov.
“Key Women for Kennedy to Be Feted,” Los Angeles Times, September 6, 1960, p. A-4.
Murray Schumach, “Hollywood Wing in Kennedy Drive; Janet Leigh Opens Home to 2,000 Women as Group Kicks Off Its Campaign,” New York Times, September 8, 1960, p. 40.
“Kennedy Confers With Southland Democrats; Candidate Rests at Sister’s Home After Breakfasting With Congress Candidates,” Los Angeles Times September 11, 1960, p. 1.
“Interview of Senator John F. Kennedy by Walter Cronkite, September 19,1960,” JFKlibrary.org.
William M. Blair, (Sioux Falls, S.D., Sept. 22) –“Kennedy Offers a Farm Program of Income Parity; Tells Plowing Contest Plan for Equality of Earnings Means Curbs on Supply…,” New York Times, September 23, 1960, p. 1.
“52,000,000 TV Sets — How Many Votes?” New York Times Magazine, September 25, 1960.
“Nixon, Kennedy Meet Face to Face on TV,” Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1960, p. 1.
“Senator John F. Kennedy & Family, Person-to-Person TV Show (CBS) with Charles Collingwood,” airing, Thursday, September 29, 1960, 10pm,” Transcript posted at JFKlink.com.
“The TV Debates and Stormy K: How Much Influence on the Election?,” Newsweek, October 10, 1960.
“What Really Happened Before the TV Debate,” Life, October 10, 1960.
“Two Brooding Men in a Dazzling Duel,” Life, October 10, 1960.
Peter Kihss,“Kennedy Favors Fifth TV Debate; Nixon Counters; Vice President Proposes That Fourth Meeting Be Expanded to 2 Hours; Democrat ‘Rests’ Here, Meets With Party Leaders and Records Farm-Policy Talks With Humphrey…,” New York Times, October 12, 1960, p. 1.
Charles Grutzner, “Civil Rights Lag Laid to President; Kennedy Conference Here Also Blames Nixon,” New York Times, October 12, 1960.
Peter Kihss, “Kennedy Charges Nixon Risks War; Opponent ‘Trigger-Happy’ on Quemoy, Senator Says [at two enthusiastic rallies in the Puerto Rican and Negro areas of Harlem ] — 3d TV Debate Tonight; Kennedy Says Nixon Risks War By Calling for Quemoy Defense,” New York Times, October 13, 1960.
“Excerpt -My Day, October 19, 1960,” The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers,” GWU.edu.
“Moods of the Debaters,” New York Times Magazine, October 23, 1960.
“Interview With Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr., After Release from Georgia State Prison at Reidsville,” Stanford.edu, October 27, 1960.
W.H. Lawrence, “Kennedy Cheered in Pennsylvania; 500,000 Acclaim Senator as He Motors Through Area of High Unemployment,” New York Times, October 29, 1960.
“Be Careful: It’s a President You Are Choosing,” The American Legion Magazine, November 1960.
Rich Samuels, “The Night Richard J. Daley Bought NBC for JFK: Friday, November 4, 1960,” RichSamuels.com.
Brian Burnes, “A Touch of Camelot in Kansas: Remembering the Night John F. Kennedy Came to Johnson County” (visit of 22 October 1960), Kansas City Star, November 5, 2013.
“WSB-TV Newsfilm Clip of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leaving the Georgia State Prison in the Company of Donald Hollowell, Ralph D. Abernathy, and Wyatt T. Walker, Reidsville, Georgia, 1960 October 27,” Civil Rights Digital Libary.
“Robert F. Kennedy Secures the Release of Martin Luther King, Jr. from Prison,” NBC News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, May 28,1993, via NBCLearn.com.
Chris Matthews (October 2010), “Election Night Flashback 1960: Video of Huntley-Brinkley Reporting, November 1960,” via NewsBusters.org.
“1960 Campaign Speeches of Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon,” JFKlink.com.
One of the endearing charms of John F. Kennedy was the “free spirit” side of him that surfaced every so often, even as President. Throughout his life, Kennedy often battled with, and acquiesced to, his “inner boy,” with some of those moments proving more reckless and confounding than others. And yes, his much written-about sexual escapades were, for some, a little too much “free spirit,” thank you. But Kennedy, as we now know, compartmentalized, and he managed to function at an extraordinarily high level while doing so. The public, however, mostly did not know about his more reckless or darker moments while he was President. But he did have his public moments of more innocent and harmless fun; where he could be a bit devilish, a bit adolescent, traveling “outside the lines” as it were; bending protocol, and taking the public along as he went. His press conferences come to mind on this score, when his humor and joking with the media could take the edge off more
Surprised beachgoers in Los Angeles are astounded to find President John F. Kennedy swimming on their public beach.. So were ten secret service agents charged with protecting him. Photo, Bill Beebe / Los Angeles Times.
serious matters while presenting himself as the very human person he was. Cavorting with a brood of Kennedy kids on a golf cart one summer at Hyannis Port is another of those “inner boy” moments where he appeared to be really having fun despite the weighty matters of state he bore. And certainly the moment captured above is part of that gallery too – where his face and smile say it all – i.e., being very pleased with himself for what he has just done. It was August 1962, while he was President, then staying at his sister and brother-in-law’s home by the sea in Santa Monica, California, escaping his presidential mantle and Secret Service agents for a dip in the Pacific Ocean.
Kenny O’Donnell, the narrator and writer of the 1971 book, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, which he wrote with Dave Powers, another close JFK aide – a book about Kennedy’s run for the White House and his presidency – describes JFK’s “Pacific moment” in Los Angeles as follows:
…One Sunday on a trip to California, he spent the afternoon at the beach home of Pat and Peter Lawford at Santa Monica, sitting in his swimming trunks beside the pool, reading a book, but glancing from time to time at the ocean surf. “Dave, look at that surf out there,” he said to [Dave] Powers, who was stretched out beside him. The president returned to the lounge chair beside the pool, picked up his sunglasses and book, and said contentedly, “That was the best swim I’ve had in months.”Dave was silently hoping that the President would be able to resist the urge to plunge into the surf, because the beach was open to the public and crowded with Sunday visitors who would rush upon Kennedy if they spied him heading toward the water.
But after an hour or so the dark classes came off, the book was put down, and he was waling across the public beach toward the waves. Dave [Powers] jumped up and hurried after him, wondering if he should summon the Secret Service guards from the front of the Lawford house for protection. He heard one sunbather saying, He looks like President Kennedy, but President Kennedy isn’t that big and powerful looking.” the President plunged into the heavy surf and swam out beyond it while a crowd gathered, shouting and staring at his bobbing head. One woman dropped to her knees and prayed. “He’s out so far!” she cried. “Please, God, don’t lit him drown!” Another woman fully dressed, followed him into the surf before she turned back.
He swam in the ocean, about a hundred yards offshore, for ten minutes while a crowd of almost a thousand people gathered on the beach. When he was coming out of the water, a photographer in street clothes waded out to his waist to take pictures. Kennedy glanced at the photographer and said, “Oh, no, I can’t believe it,” The ten Secret Service men who were guarding him splashed into the water int heir business suits, forming a protecting wedge around him with Dave [Powers] and Peter Lawford to hold back the crowd that struggled to touch him and shake his hand while he made his way back across the sand to the house. The president returned to the lounge chair beside the pool, picked up his sunglasses and his book, and said contentedly, “That was the best swim I’ve had in months.”
Photographer Bill Beebe, at home with the famous 1962 JFK beach photo he snapped, during an interview in 2011.
The photographer who captured the JFK moment on that August afternoon in 1962 was Bill Beebe. He was on assignment for the Los Angeles Times, staking out Kennedy during his visit at the Lawford’s beachfront home. “I tell you, that guy could really swim,” Beebe said in an interview about the Presidential swim some 50 years later. “He went about 200 yards north along the shoreline, and when he started to come out of the water, word got out along the beach. I could see what was going to happen, so I took off my shoes and went out into the water, clothes and camera and all.” But Beebe also noted that “the Secret Service and FBI there were beside themselves, but [Kennedy] made it seem like a natural thing to do.” Beebe’s photograph, however, soon got White House attention, as such a casual image of a sitting president was then “iffy” publication material. “I gave the film to a messenger, and within 15 minutes [then-White House Press Secretary] Pierre Salinger called the Times and tried to kill the photo. That was before [editors] even got the film.” But to no avail, as the Times knew they had quite a photograph. It ran the next day.
Eva Ban, the woman in the polka-dot swimsuit appearing with JFK in the 1962 beach photo, talks on the phone with friends reacting to the front-page story as her children look on.
Beebe’s photo appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, Monday, August 20th, 1962, with a giant headline, “Kennedy Caps Visit With Dip In Pacific.” Otis Chandler, the publisher of the Times, telephoned Beebe to congratulate him on getting the shot.
TheTimes also received a volume of mail about the photo from all over the world. Comment ranged from amazement that a national leader could mix so easily with the populace in such an informal way, to rebuke from more officious observers who felt no national leader should put himself in such a position. Sill others objected to the Times using the photo at all, believing the newspaper should have stood against running it.
However, Bill Beebe noted that the overwhelming number of letters to the Times were positive and supportive about the photo and its publication.
JFK at one of his numerous press conferences, where he would often joke with the press or use pointed humor – this one in November 1962 at State Dept. photo, Abbie Rowe.
The woman in the forefront of the photo with JFK in the polka-dot swimsuit, Eva Ban, a 43-year-old housewife and mother of two, had some momentary fame as a result of the front-page exposure, as the Los Angeles Times later ran a piece on her as well.
“It was only by chance that I happened to be there,” Mrs. Ban would later tell the Times. “The reason I was in the water and in the picture was because I was looking for my 13-year-old son, Peter. He ran into the water after the President and went out farther than he ever had before. I was worried.”
She also explained that the reason she was laughing in the picture “was because of what one woman [in the crowd] was yelling, ‘Mabel, I touched him.’ The President was laughing about this too.”
Famous photo by Stanley Tretick who captured JFK giving Lawford, Shriver & Kennedy kids the ride of their lives at Hyannis Port, MA one summer. This January 2nd, 1962 edition of Look magazine sold out on newsstands.
But for a brief moment in August 1962, the camera captured an all-too-human side of a sitting president being a boy, doing what he loved to do, if only for an unguarded moment.
The L.A. beach photo also captured the reaction of admiring bystanders – in some ways, surrogates for the larger nation – seeing their president mixing with the masses, doing what they normally did on a Sunday afternoon at the beach, and being one of them. It was, in a sense, a quintessential American moment.
But there is also poignancy in this photo as well, knowing what lies ahead for this bright young president only 15 months later – leaving that begging, lasting question: why did this promising light go out so soon?
For more on the history of JFK and his family at this website see “Kennedy History,” a topics page with ten additional stories on JFK and RFK. See also, the “Politics & Culture” page for other choices.
Thanks for visiting – and please consider supporting this website. Thank you. - Jack Doyle
August 1959: Senator John F. Kennedy during session with the press in Omaha, Nebraska. Photo, Jacques Lowe.
Senator John F. Kennedy would not officially announce his presidential candidacy until January 1960. In 1959, however, he continued his “informal campaign” for president, then in its third year. In his travels, Kennedy had made a practice of issuing denials of a presidential bid as he went. Still, he was running, and running hard, and most Democratic party insiders knew that well by 1959. Back in Washington, meanwhile, by mid February 1959, a “stop Kennedy” movement had begun forming among his rivals.
During the year, he would spar with critics and challengers attempting to derail his bid to win the Democratic nomination. In early March 1959, his Catholic faith surfaced in the media after Look magazine ran an interview that quoted him at length on the issue. That brought both pro- and anti-Catholic voices into the fray. Kennedy’s Catholicism, in fact – no matter how many times he would seek to explain his firm belief in separation of church and state, that his sole allegiance would be to his oath as president, that he would not be “controlled by the Pope,” etc., etc. – would dog him until election day.
March 6, 1959: JFK, 41, and Jacqueline Kennedy, 29, arriving at airport, Salt Lake City, Utah. Deseret News.
But throughout 1959, Kennedy traveled the length and breadth of the land, with a full schedule of speeches and public appearances. In August, for example, Kennedy was the main attraction at a gathering in Omaha, Nebraska at the home of Bernard Boyle, a Democratic national committeeman.
At the event, known locally as “Bernie’s Barbeque,” Kennedy gave a brief speech and signed some copies of his book Profiles in Courage. He also told the 400 or so people and press assembled there that the May 10th,1960 Nebraska primary would be key to his election plan. Photographer Jacques Lowe had traveled with Kennedy to the Omaha event, and he snapped one of his iconic photos of Kennedy, displayed in the first photo above, with JFK projecting a relaxed, confident demeanor as press and visitors gathered around him.
On October 16th, 1959 in Crowley, LA, at the Int’l Rice Festival, Senator Kennedy did the honors of crowning the new Rice Queen, Judith Ann Haydel. E. Reggie Archive.
Kennedy’s travels in 1959 took him to a variety of venues – from the International Rice Festival in Crowley, Louisiana where, among other things, he crowned that year’s Rice Queen, to Duluth, Minnesota where he appeared in a live broadcast on a local TV show. Kennedy also visited the Midwest in 1959, including Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin. He also toured California and Oregon; met with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley at a World Series baseball game at Comiskey Park; and at one stop in Wisconisn, spotted a St. Louis Cardinals baseball team bus and sought out the famous star, Stan Musial, to campaign for him. There were also stops at a U.S. Steel Co. coal cleaning plant in West Virginia; a talk before a lady garment workers conference in Miami Beach; Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner speeches in various cities; and appearances before some state legislatures, including those in Tennessee and Montana. And as he had done for Democrats in the new state of Alaska in 1958, campaigning for state candidates as Alaska held its first elections, Kennedy visited Hawaii in July 1959 to stump for Democratic candidates there as Hawaii held its first elections later that month. But during his political travels of 1959, Kennedy had some difficult moments too, especially when he faced meager turnouts, as he was still unknown in many locations. “In Oregon,” recalled photographer Jacques Lowe who traveled with JFK for part of 1959, “Kennedy walked into a union hall to find eleven men waiting to hear him.” Undeterred, according to Lowe, JFK didn’t miss a step. “Without hesitation, he launched into his speech.”
October 1959: Sparse greeting committee on hand as JFK, Jackie, & Pierre Salinger arrive in Portland, Oregon. Photo, Jacques Lowe.
In presidential polling that year, Kennedy wasn’t always the top choice of voters, or even considered at the top of the ticket. One Gallup poll of July 22, 1959 had JFK running as Adlai Stevenson’s V.P., with that ticket beating a Nixon- Rockefeller slate by 53%-to- 42%, with 5% undecided. Other polls could and did vary widely, depending on who was making them and the audience being polled. In August 1959, a Congressional Quarterly survey of Democrats in Congress had Senator Lyndon Johnson (D-TX) as the top choice with 32 percent, followed by Sen. Stuart Symington (D-MO) and Adlai Stevenson (D-IL), each with 18 percent. JFK was fourth in that poll with 17 percent. But a Gallup Poll of August 14, 1959 had Kennedy and Stevenson tied for the lead, each at 26 percent, with others far behind. The Chicago Sun Times, a paper with Republican leanings, offered an editorial on the two August polls, stating the Democrats were “a party in search of a candidate.”
Sept 1959: JFK featured on the cover of a Duluth, MN TV Guide booklet for week of Sept 26-Oct 2, as Kennedy was then slated to appear on KDAL-TV, Sept 26, before a live audience. Also shown on the cover are local newsmen, Dick Anthony and Mundo DeYoannes.
During 1959, Kennedy was also still forming his campaign team. On September 1, 1959, Pierre Salinger joined JFK’s campaign staff. Already working for Kennedy in Washington and elsewhere was a core group of insiders including Ted Sorensen, Larry O’Brien, Kenny O’Donnell, Lou Harris, and others. JFK’s younger brother, Bobby, who had formally resigned his Senate Committee position, joined the campaign full-time in September 1959 and would become campaign manager.
Stephen Smith, JFK’s brother-in-law, married to Jean Kennedy, had opened up a Kennedy campaign headquarters in January 1959 at the Esso building in Washington, DC. Smith and other members of Kennedy’s staff and family would also travel with JFK in various combinations as he toured the country in 1959. But Jackie Kennedy, in particular, traveled with him frequently that year, and was with him on some of his loneliest and most difficult campaign stops — including those where JFK was still an unknown quantity, playing second fiddle to local politicians or given ”less-than-spotlight” positions in farm shows, high school assemblies, and union hall meetings.
By September 1959, Kennedy and his team began using their own private plane for campaign travel — a Convair 240 series – which helped smooth some of the logistics and hassles of campaigning. The 1948 airplane was purchased by JFK’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, retrofitted for campaign use, and leased to the campaign though a Kennedy company. The plane, named The Caroline after JFK’s daughter, was a twin-engine craft with Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines. As the campaigning intensified through the following year, The Caroline would provide great travel range and flexibility, and thereby, some advantage to Kennedy over his competitors.
Back in the Senate, meanwhile, JFK kept up with his responsibilities there, attending hearings and working on range of issues, including labor reform legislation, which did not emerge to Kennedy’s liking or labor’s, but did manage to make some improvements. In his Senate capacity, Kennedy was also involved in national defense issues, civil rights matters, aid to cities, foreign affairs issues, and education, among others. He also continued to write articles that would occasionally appear in the popular press, publishing, for example, a TV Guide article on November 14, 1959 on the role of television in politics, billed on the cover as, “How TV Revolutionized Politics by Sen. John F. Kennedy.”
Nov 12, 1959: Senator John F. Kennedy visiting with townspeople in River Falls, Wisconsin.
Other Democratic candidates also began entering the presidential sweepstakes in 1959, either directly or through surrogates. On July 14, 1959 Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy and Governor Orville Freeman announced that Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey, would be a candidate for president. In October 1959, U.S. Rep. Sam Rayburn (D-TX), then Speaker of the House, announced the creation of a Johnson-for-President Committee signaling the candidacy of Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, Senate Majority leader. And in late December, Senator Wayne Morse entered the Oregon primary as a favorite son. On December 30th, 1959, Senator Humphrey made his candidacy official. A few days earlier on the Republican side, presidential candidate, New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, withdrew from his party’s race. Vice President Richard Nixon now had clear sailing to the Republican nomination.
Senator Kennedy and his team, meanwhile, in late October 1959, began preparing for the official presidential race the following year, 1960 – a tough year ahead with Democratic Primary battles in the spring leading up to the National Democratic Convention in July.…At the meeting, JFK shone forth as his own brilliant strategist, giving a three-hour presentation that was essentially a detailed political survey of the entire country, with- out notes… On October 28, 1959, a core group of a dozen or more key advisors and staff assembled with Kennedy and his brother Bobby at Hyannis Port, MA. This group had come together to plan political and election-year strategy, primarily for entering and winning a selection of Democratic primaries and winning the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination. At the meeting, JFK shone forth as his own brilliant strategist, giving a three-hour presentation that was essentially a detailed political survey of the entire country, without notes, amazing all those assembled. “What I remember,” said Lawrence O’Brien, recounting JFK’s performance to journalist Theodore White, “was his remarkable knowledge of every state, not just the Party leaders, not just the Senators in Washington, but he knew all the factions and key people in all the factions.” Ted Sorensen added that JFK was not only the best candidate, but “the best campaign manager too,” a guy who had an incredible capacity for names, dates and places, and a solid grasp of where he was liked and not liked and why.
1959: JFK captured by photographer Gene Barnes as he addressed a California women’s group in Pomona.
Toward the end of 1959, Senator Kennedy began picking up larger crowds in his campaigning. Still, after three years on the road, the grind of it all no doubt took its toll. Yet those who watched Kennedy up close during this time had mostly good reviews, especially in how JFK treated his audience, as photographer Jacques Lowe later observed:
“If there was anything truly impressive about the Kennedy of the 1959 ‘undercover’ campaign it was this: He never talked down to an audience. If he was addressing a farm group, he didn’t play the cornball or insert small-talk in his speech. He spoke about man’s higher aspirations – simply and never too distantly. His listeners went away occasionally uplifted, occasionally unimpressed, but never patronized.”
What follows below is an abbreviated listing of some of JFK’s travel and speaking itinerary for the year 1959, highlighted with photographs and a few magazine covers from that year. A number of his speeches from 1959 are also listed below in “Sources, Links & Additional Information” at the bottom of this article. See also at this website additional stories on JFK’s “road to the White House,” including separate stories on his campaigning in 1957 and 1958, as well as other stories such as, “The Jack Pack, 1958-1960.” Stay tuned to this website for additional JFK stories in the future. Thanks for visiting – and please consider supporting this website. Thank you. - Jack Doyle
One of JFK’s visits in 1959 was the Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, TN, where he visited in February along with wife Jacqueline. DOE photo.
Feb 1959: Jackie & JFK at Oak Ridge Nat’l Labs, Oak Ridge, TN, with Alvin Weinberg and Sen. Al Gore, Sr.
ORNL Director, Alvin Weinberg briefing JFK at the Oak Ridge Graphite Reactor, 1959. DOE photos.
May 9, 1959: Senator Kennedy (left) with Senator Jennings Randolph (white hat) and coal miners, U. S. Steel Cleaning Plant, Gary, WV. WV state archives.
June 1, 1959: JFK on the cover of Newsweek magazine, as the religion issue gets top billing in an early survey for the 1960 race.
Portion of front page from “The Ohio State Morning Lantern” newspaper, Columbus, Ohio, July 2, 1959 reporting on JFK visit to the state in late June 1959.
Sept 19, 1959: Senator John F. Kennedy giving speech at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. Photo, JFK Presidential Library.
Sept. 27 1959: Senator John F. Kennedy and Cleveland Mayor Anthony Celebrezze are featured speakers at the Cuyahoga County Democratic Steer Roast.
Oct 1959: JFK courting Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley at Comiskey Park during Dodgers-White Sox World Series game, along with baseball commissioner "Happy" Chandler (with hat) and Daley’s son, Richard M., then a state senator, in foreground. Chicago Sun-Times.
Oct 5, 1959: Ticket for local dinner at the Hotel Clark in Hastings, NE, featuring Senator John F. Kennedy.
Oct 1959: JFK speaking at the Int’l Rice Festival in Crowley, LA where he and Jackie were hosted by Judge Edmund Reggie, at left, dark suit. E. Reggie Archive.
Oct 1959: Senator John F. Kennedy addressing a crowd of some 130,000 at the Louisiana Rice Festival in Crowley, Louisiana. Photo, Edmund Reggie archive.
Nov. 2, 1959: Senator Kennedy giving an address at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), CA.
Nov. 1959: JFK with California Gov. Pat Brown on Kennedy’s visit to So. California. Brown was a likely “favorite son” candidate in California’s June 1960 primary, which JFK would not enter. (L.A. Mirror-News).
Fall 1959: A Jacques Lowe photo of JFK, Jackie and brother-in-law Steve Smith (back to camera) at an Oregon diner. JFK then was still unknown in many locations.
November 12, 1959: JFK with students at River Falls State College, River Falls, WI. JFK did not appear bothered by the signmaker’s difficulty in spelling his name.
Nov. 1959: JFK in a quiet moment gazing into a tug boat’s wake during a tour of Coos Bay, Oregon. (Jacques Lowe).
Nov 30, 1959: JFK in Denver, CO where he gave an address to the American Municipal Assoc. Cleveland mayor Anthony J. Celebrezze is seated and Jackson, MS mayor Allen C. Thompson is greeting Kennedy.
Jan 15: Charlotte, NC, Chamber of Com
Jan 31: Phila., PA, Roosevelt Day Dinner
Feb 2: Boston, Harvard /Neiman Fellows
Feb 11: Wash., DC, Rural Electric Co-ops
Feb 15: CBS-TV, Face the Nation
Feb 24: Oak Ridge, TN, Rotary Club Speech
Feb 24: Oak Ridge National Labs Tour
Feb 24: Nashville, TN, Democratic Dinner
Feb 25: Nashville, Tennessee Legislature
Mar 2: Wash., D.C., AFL-CIO Speech
Mar 3: Look magazine, JFK interview
Mar 6: Medford, OR, Roosevelt Day Dinner
Mar 6: Salt Lake City, UT, Roosevelt Dinner
Mar 7: Boise, ID, Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
Mar 8: Butte, MT, Jeff-Jackson Dinner
Mar 8: Helena, MT, Montana Legislature
Mar 17: Providence, RI, St. Patrick’s Dinner
Mar 21: Wash., DC, No. Carolina Dem Club
Mar 25: Wash., DC, Nat’l Grain Co-ops
Apr 1: Palm Beach, FL, Strategy Mtg.
Apr 4: Akron, OH, Sheraton-Mayflower
Apr 4: Akron, Beacon-Journal interview
Apr 4: Akron, Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
Apr 5: Canton, OH
Apr 5: Cleveland, OH
Apr 5: Newark , NJ
Apr 5: NY City, Lunch, Brook Club
Apr 5: NY City, Adolph Toigo
Apr 9: Milwaukee, WI, Gridiron Dinner
Apr 10: Beloit, WI, Beloit College
Apr 10: Janesville, WI, Union Hall
Apr 12: Indianapolis, Negro College Fund
Apr 13: Indianapolis, Nat’l Library Week
Apr 13: Lafayette, Indiana
Apr 15: Wash., DC, Methodist Bishops
Apr 16: Wash., DC, Civil Liberties Conf
Apr 16: Cleveland, OH, Cleveland Press
Apr 27: College Pk., Univ. of Maryland
Apr 30: NY, NY, Women in Radio & TV
May 1: Sacramento, CA, State Legislature
May 1: Los Angeles, Press Club of L.A.
May 4: Wash., DC, Int’l Conf. India/U.S.
May 8: Boston, MA, LBJ & Truman Dinner
May 9: Gary, WV, US Steel Cleaning Plant
May 9: Welch, WV, Fundraising /Coal Spch
May 15: Miami Bch, Lady Garment Workers
May 19: Portland, OR, Dinner
May 21: Buffalo, NY, Grv. Cleveland Dinner
May 23: Detroit, MI, Jeff-Jack Dinner
May 24: Chicago, Daily News Youth Awards
June 1: Cover story, Newsweek magazine
June 3: NY City, Cap & Millinery Workers
June 6: Garden City, NY, Dem. Dinner
June 8: Boston, MA, J.F. Chapman
June 11: Harvard Commencement
June 15: Bethesda, MD, Chevy Chase H.S.
June 16: Ocean City, Leag. of Municipalities
June 19: Seattle, WA, Press Conference
June 19: Seattle, KIRO Radio (Jackie)
June 19: Seattle, JFK- KING TV taping
June 19: Seattle, WA, Post-Intelligencer June 19: Seattle, Jackie – Dem. Women
June 20: Seattle, Jackie – Women’s Clubs
June 20: Seattle, Eagles Convention
June 20: Seattle, Seattle Times visit
June 20: Seattle, KIRO-TV panel
June 20: Seattle, KIRO-Radio
June 20: Seattle, Jeff-Jack Day Dinner
June 20: Seattle, Democrats /Olympic Hotel
June 21: Seattle, Morning Mass
June 21: Tacoma, WA, Breakfast meeting
June 21: Yakima, WA, Press Conference
June 21: Yakima, Democratic Dinner
June 22: Flight to Chicago-Washington, DC
June 27: Columbus, OH, Press Conference
June 27: Bellaire, OH, Jeff-Jack Day Dinner
June 28: NY, NY, Society of African Culture
July 2: Dallas, TX, State Junior Bar
July 3-4-5: Hawaii Tour & Dem. Candidates
July 13: Spring Lake, NJ, Gov’s Day Picnic
July 30: Milwaukee, TV Taping, WTTI
July 30: Milwaukee, WTNJ, Open Qs
July 30-31: Milwaukee, D.A.’s Convention
Aug 1: Portland, OR, Press Conference
Aug 1: Portland, Broiler Restaurant Mtg.
Aug 1: Portland, Portland Journal Aug 1: Portland, Portland Oregonian Aug 1: Portland, Dave Epps Mem. Dinner
Aug 2: Portland, Church/Mass
Aug 2: Portland, Young Dems Coffee Hour
Aug 2: Portland, Conference
Aug 2: Portland, TV/Bob Holmes/KOIN
Aug 2: Portland, TV/Viewpoint/McCall
Aug 2: Portland, Edith Green Reception
Aug 3: Seaside, OR, AFL-CIO Speech/TV
Aug 3: Seaside, OR, Dinner/G. Brown
Aug 3: Portland, TV/Fennel Program
Aug 9: Omaha, NE, Picnic & Press Conf.
Aug 29: Jackie Kennedy, Life cover story
Sep 1: Pierre Salinger joins JFK
Sep 11: San Francisco, AFL-CIO
Sep 15: Columbus, OH, Arrival
Sep 16: Columbus, OH, Bankers Assoc.
Sep 16: Columbus, Ohio Academy G.P.
Sep 17: Oxford, OH, Miami University
Sep 17: Cincinnati, Campaign Hdqtrs
Sep 17: Cincinnati, Dem. Luncheon
Sep 17: Cincinnati, TV/Radio Press Conf
Sep 17: Cincinnati, High School Editors
Sep 17: Dayton, OH, Press Conference
Sep 17: Dayton, OH, County Bar Assn.
Sep 18: Akron, OH, Press Conference
Sep 18: Akron, League of Municipalities
Sep 18: Athens, OH, Ohio University
Sep 18: Athens, Ohio University Rally
Sep 19: Bowling Green Univ. Reception
Sep 19: Toledo, OH, Dem. Luncheon
Sep 19: Toledo, Press Conf, Perry Hotel
Sep 19: Toledo, Lucas Co. Dem. Picnic
Sep 19: Youngstown, OH, Dem. Dinner
Sep 20: Newport News, VA
Sep 20: Pt. Comfort, Va. Municipalities
Sep 20: Washington, D.C.
Sep 24: Madison, WI, Labor Leaders
Sep 24: Madison, Press /Park Hotel
Sep 24: Madison, Capital Times Sep 24: Darlington, WI, Luncheon spch
Sep 24: Flatteville, WI, State College spch
Sep 24: Lancaster, WI, Court House spch
Sep 24: Prairie du Chein, WI, private mtgs
Sep 24: Prairie du Chein, Dinner w/Dems
Sep 24: Prairie du…, Checkerboard Aud.
Sep 25: Richland Cntr, WI, Highland Cntr.
Sep 25: Virogua, WI, Griole Café lunch
Sep 25: Sparta, WI, City Aud/Reception
Sep 25: LaCrosse, WI, State College speech
Sep 25: LaCrosse, TV appearance/taping
Sep 25: LaCrosse, Sawyer Aud. speech
Sep 26: Eau Claire, WI
Sep 26: Rice Lake, WI, Land of Lakes Hotel
Sep 26: Rhinelander, WI, A-port Press Conf
Sep 26: Rhinelander, Eagle Hall Temple
Sep 26: Duluth, MN, KDAL-TV, Live
Sep 26: Superior, MN, Central High School
Sep 27: Cleveland, OH, Dem Leaders Lunch
Sep 27: Cleveland, Euclid Beach Pk /Roast
Oct 1: Rochester, NY, Temple B’rith Kodesh
Oct 2: Indianapolis, Mayor Boswell Dinner
Oct 4: Omaha, NE, evening arrival
Oct 5: Fremont, NE, Farm Policy
Oct 5: Columbus, NE, Farm Policy
Oct 5: Norfolk, NE, Farm Policy
Oct 5: Hastings, NE, Farm Policy & Dinner
Oct 9: Fayette City, PA, County Dem Dinner
Oct 10: Wheeling, WV, Airport Press Conf.
Oct 10: Wellsburg, WV w/ Sen. J. Randolph
Oct 10: Charleston, WV, w/Sen. J. Randolph
Oct 11: Westchester, NY, Dem Picnic
Oct 11: Westchester Country Club
Oct 11: New Haven, CT, Negro Reception
Oct 11: New Haven, Cocktail Party
Oct 11: New Haven, Democratic Women
Oct 12: Atlantic City, NJ, UAW Convention
Oct 12: Atlantic City, Small World taping
Oct 12: Washington, DC, Arrive Home
Oct 13: Lincoln, NE, Brkfst, Gov’s Mansion
Oct 13: Lincoln, Press Conference
Oct 13: Lincoln, Nebraskan Wesleyan Univ.
Oct 13: Lincoln, Service Clubs of Lincoln
Oct 13: Lincoln, Mtg w/ Nebraska Friends
Oct 13: Lincoln, Dem Recep / KETV Tape
Oct 13: Lincoln, NE, AFL-CIO St. Convnt’n
Oct 14: Kearney, NE, Teachers College
Oct 14: Kearney, Press Conference
Oct 14: Kearney, Reception
Oct 14: Grand Island, NE, Chamber of Com
Oct 14: North Platte, NE, Dem Reception
Oct 14: Scotts Bluff, NE, Dem Dinner
Oct 15: Baton Rouge, LA, Capitol Hse Hotel
Oct 15: New Orleans, Press Conference
Oct 15: New Orleans, Radio/TV News group
Oct 15: New Orleans, Candidates Reception
Oct 16: New Orleans, Negro Dem Leaders
Oct 16: Lafayette, LA, E. Reggie Reception
Oct 16: Lafayette, LA, Old Bourne C. Club
Oct 16: Crowley, LA, Int’l Rice Festival
Oct 16: Lake Charles, LA
Oct 17: Milwaukee, WI. Airport Press Conf.
Oct 17: Milwaukee, Pulaski Day / Poland
Oct 17: Waukesha, WI, Luncheon
Oct 17: Milwaukee, WISN-TV
Oct 17: Milwaukee, Schroeder Hotel Recep
Oct 18: San Francisco, CA, Press Conf
Oct 18: San Francisco, League of Calif Cities
Oct 18: San Francisco, Dem. Reception
Oct 18: Salem, OR, Arrival
Oct 20: Salem, Committee at Berg Home
Oct 20: Salem, Willamette University
Oct 20: Portland, OR, Municipalities Lunch
Oct 20: Portland, Coffee, YMCA
Oct 20: Portland, Clakamas County Dinner
Oct 21, Portland, Democratic Roundtable
Oct 21: Portland, Portland Realty Board
Oct 21: Portland, Portland State College
Oct 22: New York, NY, Al Smith Dinner
Oct 24: Bloomington, IL, Dem. Reception
Oct 24: Springfield, IL, Press Luncheon
Oct 24: Springfield, Midwest Farm Conf.
Oct 24: Joliet, IL, Local Dems
Oct 24: Joliet, IL, Democratic Dinner
Oct 24: Joliet, IL, American Legion Hall
Oct 25: Rockford, IL, Dem Breakfast
Oct 25: Rockford, IL, Tebala Shrine Temple
Oct 25: DeKalb, IL, County Chairmen
Oct 25: DeKalb, IL, Elk’s Club Luncheon
Oct 25: DeKalb, IL, Egyptian Theater
Oct 25: Rock Island/Moline, IL
Oct 25: Rock Island, IL, Dem Reception
Oct 25: Moline, IL, Le Claire Theatre Rally
Oct 26: Quincy, IL, TV Press Conference
Oct 26: Quincy, IL, Dem Reception
Oct 26: Quincy, IL, Quincy College
Oct 26: Peoria, IL, Democratic Luncheon
Oct 26: Peoria, IL, Press Conference
Oct 26: Decatur, IL, Reception
Oct 26: Decatur, Masonic Temple, Press
Oct 26: Decatur, Masonic Temple Dinner
Oct 26: Decatur, Masonic Temple TV Spch
Oct 28: Hyannis Port, MA, Strategy Mtg
Oct 30: Oakland, CA, Mills College speech
Oct 31: Bakersfield, CA, Press Conference
Oct 31: Santa Monica, CA, Airport Recep.
Oct 31: Lompoc, CA, La Purisma Inn Lunch
Oct 31: Lompoc High School
Oct 31: San Diego, CA, Press Conference
Oct 31: San Diego, John A. Vietor Reception
Oct 31: San Diego County Dems Dinner
Nov 1: San Diego, CA
Nov 1: Burbank, CA, Lockheed Terminal
Nov 1: Hollywood, CBS-Taping, Inquiry Nov 1: Riverside, CA, Press Conf
Nov 1: Riverside, Arnold Heights School
Nov 1: Anaheim, CA, Disneyland by Rail
Nov 1: Anaheim, Orange Co. Democrats
Nov 1: Los Angeles, CA, Reception
Nov 1: Los Angeles, Ambassador of Ceylon
Nov 2: Los Angeles, Press Conference
Nov 2: Los Angeles, UCLA Reception
Nov 2: Los Angeles, UCLA /Royce Hall
Nov 2: Los Angeles, U of So. Cal Reception
Nov 2: U of So. Cal, Address Student Rally
Nov 2: Los Angeles, Jeff-Jack Day Dinner
Nov 5: Klamath Falls, OR
Nov 6: Klamath Falls, OR, Democrats
Nov 6: Coos Bay, OR, Lions Club Luncheon
Nov 6: Coos Bay, Barge Trip of Harbor
Nov 6: Coos Bay, Democratic Dinner
Nov 7: Bend, OR, Jr. Chamber Luncheon
Nov 7: North Bend, OR, No. Bend H. S.
Nov 7: Pendleton, OR, Press Conference
Nov 7: Umatilla Co Dem Party Dinner
Nov 8: Milton-Freewater, OR, Reception
Nov 8: Walla Walla, Reception
Nov 8: Baker, OR, Democratic Dinner
Nov 8: Baker, OR, KBKR Radio
Nov 9: La Grande, Luncheon
Nov 9: La Grande, E. Oregon College
Nov 9: Portland, OR, Mtg. w/ Labor
Nov 12: Minneapolis, A-port Press Conf.
Nov 12: River Falls, WI, RF State College
Nov 12: Eau Claire, Elks Club Luncheon
Nov 12: Eau Claire, WI, EC State College
Nov 12: Eau Claire, WEAU-TV
Nov 12: Marshfield, WI, Hotel Charles
Nov 13: Portage, WI, Portage High School
Nov 13: Watertown, WI, Dem. Luncheon
Nov 13: Milwaukee, Marquette University
Nov 13: Kenosha, WI, Labor Leaders
Nov 13: Kenosha, WI, Dem State Convntn
Nov 13: Kenosha, Hotel Wisconsin Recep.
Nov 14: TV Guide, JFK on TV & Politics
Nov 14: Oklahoma City, OK, Press Conf
Nov 14: Norman, OK, OU-v-Army game
Nov 14: Oklahoma City, Jeff-Jack Dinner
Nov 15: Hyannis Port, MA
Nov 15: Augusta, ME, Gov. Clauson
Nov 15: Augusta, Dem. Party Dinner
Nov 16: Wash., DC, Nat’l Milk Producers
Nov 17: Wilmington, DE, DuPont/Hercules
Nov 17: Wilmington, Bldg. Trades Union
Nov 17: Wilmington, Press Conference
Nov 17: Wilm., DE, Brandywine 100 Dinner
Nov 19: Kansas City, MO, Arrival
Nov 19: Independence, MO, Harry Truman
Nov 19: Kansas City, Nat’l Guard Armory
Nov 19: Kansas City, Dem Luncheon
Nov 19: Kansas City, Local Labor Leaders
Nov 19: Wichita, KS, Labor Meeting
Nov 19: Wichita, Hotel Allis, Press Conf
Nov 19: Wichita, Democratic Reception
Nov 19: Wichita, Democratic Dinner
Nov 20: Wichita, Cerebral Palsy Home
Nov 20: Wichita, Wichita University
Nov 20: Dodge City, KS, Dem Reception
Nov 20: Hays, KS, Press Conference
Nov 20: Hays, KS, Democratic Dinner
Nov 21: Iowa City, IA, State Committee
Nov 21: Iowa City, Iowa Memorial Union
Nov 21: Iowa City, Speak at Reception
Nov 21: Iowa City, Univ. Club Luncheon
Nov 21: Iowa City, Iowa vs. Notre Dame
Nov 21: Des Moines, IA
Nov 21: Carroll, IA
Nov 28: Denver, CO, Democratic Dinner
Nov 28: Boulder, CO, Dem. Reception
Nov 29: Pueblo, CO, Democratic Dinner
Nov 30: Grand Junction, CO, Dem. Dinner
Nov 30: Denver, American Municipal Assn.
Dec 2: Durham, NC, Duke University
Dec 7: NY City: Pres. Truman Reception
Dec 7: NY City, Eleanor Roosevelt Tribute
Dec 8: NY City
Dec 9: Nebraskans for Kennedy opens
Dec 10: Pittsburgh, PA, Bishop Wright
Dec 10: Pittsburgh, PA, Press Conf.
Dec 10: Pittsburgh, Univ of Pittsburgh
Dec 10: Pittsburgh, Dem. Luncheon
Dec 10: Pittsburgh, KDKA, “Sound Off”
Dec 10: Pittsburgh, WIIC-TV
Dec 10: Pittsburgh, Allegheny Bar Assn.
Dec 11: Gary, IN, Hotel Gary Reception
Dec 11: Gary, IN, Benefit Banquet
Dec 17: Washington Post: JFK to Announce
Note: This listing provides a rough overview of JFK’s 1959 travel itinerary, speeches, and other activities at the listed locations. Some dates and events are “best approximations” given uncertain and/or conflicting sourcing information. More detailed information on JFK’s activities at some of the these locations is available at the JFK Presidential Library in Boston. The full titles of a number of his major speeches in 1959 are included below, in the second half of “Sources.” More photos also follow below.
Article Citation: Jack Doyle, “JFK’s Early Campaign: 1959,” PopHistoryDig.com, September 10, 2013.
Sources, Links & Additional Information
August 24, 1959: Life magazine cover story: “Jackie Kennedy, A Front Runner’s Appealing Wife.”
October 1959: Jackie Kennedy looking out on the scene at the Int’l Rice Festival in Crowley, LA, where JFK addressed a crowd of more than 130,000. Edmund Reggie archive.
January 1959: Senator Kennedy and wife Jacqueline at reception of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
May 1959: Senator John F. Kennedy being briefed by local officials in West Virginia in early May.
1959: JFK spoke at a sold out Democratic party banquet at the Maxwell House Hotel in downtown Nashville, TN, late winter. Mayor Ben West, right, acted as toastmaster for the event. Nashville Archives.
1959: U.S. Senator Al Gore, Sr.(D-TN), left, Nashville Mayor’s wife, Mrs. Ben West, sit with Senator John F. Kennedy at Democratic Party dinner. Nashville Archives.
1959: Local dignitaries greet Senator John F. Kennedy at Tillamook Naval Air Station, Tillamook, Oregon.
September 25, 1959: Cover of Dinner Program for the Democratic Party of La Crosse County, Wisconsin, featuring guest speaker, U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy.
Nov 13, 1959: Senator John F. Kennedy addressing an audience at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI.
October 1959: JFK being interviewed by Rev. Rawley Meyers, a reporter for the “Southern Nebraska Register,” a Catholic newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Oct 1959: JFK, who generally avoided donning gift hats of any kind, shown here in a “rice hat” awarded him at the Int’l Rice Festival in Crowley, LA. Edwin Edwards, later governor, shown at far right. Edmund Reggie archive.
Historical marker in Crowley, LA, commemorating the date and location of JFK’s October 16th, 1960 speech before “an enthusiastic crown of thousands of Louisianans” at 23rd International Rice Festival.
November 19, 1959: Former President Harry S. Truman greeting Senator John F. Kennedy at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri.
John F. Kennedy marker at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, commemorating JFK’s visit there, September 18, 1959, quoting from his speech: "With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love..."
Dec 2, 1959: JFK before his address at Page Auditorium, Duke University. Kennedy is standing in the Music Room of the Flowers Building. Photo, Duke University.
Headline from a Los Angeles Times newspaper story describing a speech Senator John F. Kennedy had given on November 1, 1959 at a Democratic dinner in L.A.
April 10, 1959: Senator John F. Kennedy photographed from balcony as he spoke to a capacity crowd in the Eaton Chapel of Beloit College, Beloit, WI.
1959: JFK attends Harvard commencement as a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers. He is talking with Harvard Treasurer, Paul C. Cabot (in top hat) and Sidney Weinberg, senior partner at Goldman Sachs, who received an honorary degree that day.
1959: JFK and Jackie in parade during campaign trip to Wheeling, West Virginia. Photo, Mark Shaw.
1959: Jackie Kennedy saying a few words on campaign trail with JFK in West Virginia. Photo, Mark Shaw.
Oct 31, 1959: Cover of dinner program honoring Senator John F. Kennedy who would deliver a speech that evening before the sponsoring Democratic Committee of San Diego County, California.
March 1959: JFK and Jackie being greeted by local delegation upon their arrival in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Sept 18, 1959: JFK in candid moment with Ohio University officials during his visit there.
Feb 1959: JFK with Oak Ridge Nat’l Labs Director Alvin Weinberg, Sen. Al Gore Sr (D-TN), and wife Jacqueline Kennedy, Oak Ridge, TN. DOE photo.
Feb 1959: JFK, Jackie & Senator Gore being briefed by ORNL Director Alvin Weinberg (scene later made into mural, as shown below). DOE photo.
Oak Ridge National Labs Visitor Center mural of February 1959 visit to ORNL by Sen. John F. Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline, and Sen. Al Gore, Sr., then being briefed by ORNL Director Alvin Weinberg.
1959: JFK talking with his sister, Patricia Kennedy Lawford and her husband, Peter Lawford, at unidentified restaurant.
Aug 21, 1959: JFK with family sailing off Hyannis, MA.
August 21, 1959: Jackie, JFK, and family members returning to shore after sailing off Hyannis, MA.
1959: JFK, daughter Caroline, and Jackie near the shoreline at Hyannis Port, MA. Photo, Mark Shaw.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, JFKlibrary.org, Boston, MA
Kenneth P. O’Donnell and David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1970.
Jacques Lowe, Portrait: The Emergence of John F. Kennedy, New York: Bramhall House / McGraw-Hill, 1961.
The New York Times, with photographs by Jacques Lowe, The Kennedy Years, New York: Viking Press, 1964.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Chamber of Commerce Dinner, Charlotte, North Carolina, “Labor Racketeering,” January 15, 1959, 43pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Roosevelt Day Dinner, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, “Liberalism,” January 31,1959, 34pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, National Rural Electrification Cooperative Association, Washington, D.C., “Power Policy,” February 11, 1959, 6pp.
Remarks in the United States Senate by Senator Kennedy, “The Economic Gap,” February 19, 1959, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Tennessee Rotary Club, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, “Nuclear Weapons,” February 24, 1959, 8pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Nashville, Tennessee, “The Democratic Party,” February 24, 1959, 35pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Joint Session of the Tennessee Legislature, Nashville, Tennessee, “Leadership,” February 25, 1959, 13pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, AFL-CIO Building & Construction Trades Dept., National Legislative Conference, Wash., D.C., “Labor Legislation,” March 2, 1959, 27pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Roosevelt Day Dinner, Medford, Oregon, “Water Resource Development,” March 6, 1959, 2pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Roosevelt Day Dinner, Salt Lake City, Utah, “The Democratic Party,” March 6, 1959, 23pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Boise, Idaho, “Water Resource Development; The Democratic Party,” March 7, 1959, 27pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Butte, Montana, “Unemployment Compensation,” March 8, 1959, 4pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Montana Legislature, Helena, Montana, “Leadership,” March 8, 1959, 19pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick’s Dinner, Providence, Rhode Island, “Irish History,” March 17, 1959, 23pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, North Carolina Democratic Club Annual Dinner, Washington, D.C., “National Security,” March 21, 1959, 32pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, National Federation of Grain Cooperatives Annual Spring Conference, Washington, D.C., “Federal Farm Policy,” March 25, 1959, 22pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Milwaukee Gridiron Dinner, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “Free Press,” April 9, 1959, 18pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, United Negro College Fund Convocation, Indianapolis, Indiana, “American Education,” April 12, 1959, 20pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Meeting Opening National Library Week, Indianapolis, Indiana, “The Public Library,” April 13, 1959, 4pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, National Civil Liberties Clearing House Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., “Civil Liberties,” April 16, 1959, 19pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Cleveland Press Book and Author Luncheon, Cleveland, Ohio, “The Public Library,” April 16, 1959, 25pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the American Women in Radio and TV, New York, New York, “Women in Professions; Labor Racketeering,” April 30, 1959, 51pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the California Legislature, Sacramento, CA, “Leadership,” May 1, 1959, 13pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Press Club of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, “Labor Racketeering,” May 1,1959, 29pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Committee for International Economic Growth Conference on India and the United States, Washington, D.C., “The Bases of U.S. Interest in India-Its New Dimensions,” May 4, 1959, 43pp.
Introduction by Senator Kennedy of Lyndon B. Johnson, Truman Dinner, Boston, Massachusetts. May 8, 1959, 8pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Fund-Raising Dinner, Welch, West Virginia, “Depressed Areas Legislation; Coal,” May 9, 1959, 25pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, International Ladies Garment Workers Union Annual Convention, Miami Beach, Florida, “Labor Racketeering,” May 15,1959, 39pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Grover Cleveland Dinner, Buffalo, New York. “Labor Racketeering; The Democratic Party,” May 21, 1959, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Detroit, Michigan, “Ten Revolutions of Our Time,” May 23,1959, 33pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Chicago Daily News Youth Achievement Awards Program, Chicago, Illinois, “Careers in Politics,” May 24, 1959, 9pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers Convention, New York, New York, “Labor Racketeering; Immigration,” June 3, 1959, 41 pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Garden City, New York, “The Democratic Party,” June 6, 1959, 27pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Chevy Chase High School, Bethesda, Maryland, “Careers in Politics,” June 15, 1959, 17pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy Before the League of Municipalities, Ocean City, Maryland, “Urban Problems,” June 16, 1959, 25pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Fraternal Order of Eagles Convention, Seattle, WA, “Unemployment Compensation; Social Security,” June 20, 1959, 16pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Seattle, Washington, “The Democratic Party,” June 20, 1959, 28pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Yakima, Washington, “The Democratic Party; Water Resource Development,” June 21, 1959, 29pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Bellaire, Ohio, “The Democratic Party,” June 27,1959, 26pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, American Society of African Culture Annual Conference, New York, New York, “Africa,” June 28, 1959, 44pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Hawaii Tour, Hawaii, “The U.S. and Hawaii and Our Future in Asia; The Democratic Party,” July 3-July 5, 1959, 39pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Essex County Democratic Governor’s Day Annual Picnic, Spring Lake, New Jersey, “Urban Overpopulation,” July 13, 1959, 8pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, District Attorneys’ Convention, Milwaukee, WI, “Labor and Business Racketeering,” July 31, 1959, 9pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Dave Epps Memorial Dinner, Portland, Oregon, “Geneva Conference on Atomic Testing and Surprise Attack,” August 1, 1959, 21 pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, AFL-CIO Convention, Seaside, OR, “Labor Racketeer-ing; Unemployment Compensation; Care of the Aged,” August 3,1959, 11 pp.
Remarks in the United States Senate by Senator Kennedy, “The Power of Labor for the Good of America,” September 10,1959, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, AFL-CIO Convention of Building Trades, San Francisco, California, “Labor Legislation,” September 11, 1959, 111pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Montgomery County Bar Association Dinner, Dayton, Ohio, “Labor Racketeering; The Steel Strike and the Taft-Hartley Law,” September 17,1959, 27pp.
Speech Introductions by Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Athens, Ohio; Lucas County Democratic Picnic, Toledo, Ohio, September 18, 1959-September 19, 1959, 3pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Temple B’rith Kodesh Temple Club, Rochester, New York, “Israel–A Land of Paradoxes,” October 1, 1959, 9pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Mayor Charles Boswell Dinner, Indianapolis, Indiana. “National Security,” October 2, 1959, 6pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Washington County Democratic Dinner, Fayette City, Pennsylvania, “The Steel Strike and the Taft-Hartley Law,” October 9, 1959, 6pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, UAW Convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey, “Economic Development,” October 12, 1959, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, AFL-CIO State Convention, Lincoln, Nebraska, “Labor Racketeering,” October 13, 1959, 16pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the Radio and Television News Directors Association, New Orleans, Louisiana, The Role of the Media,” October 15, 1959, 7pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Pulaski Day, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “U.S. Policy Toward Poland and Other Captive Nations,” October 17, 1959, 11 pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Portland Realty Board Luncheon, Portland, Oregon, “The Future of Housing and Real Estate,” October 21, 1959, 8pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, AI Smith Dinner, New York, New York, “A Tribute to AI Smith,” October 22, 1959, 16pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Midwest Farm Conference, Springfield, Illinois, “Federal Farm Policy,” October 24, 1959, 7pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Mills College, Oakland, California, “Mills College and the Loyalty Oath,” October 30, 1959, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, UCLA Student Convocation, Los Angeles, California, “The Control of Nuclear Weapons,” November 2, 1959, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, “The Future of America; Depletion Tax Allowances,” November 14,1959, 11pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Annual Convention, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “U.S.-Soviet Competition,” November 14, 1959, 10pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Maine Democratic Party Issues Conference Banquet, Augusta, Maine. “Electrical Energy in Maine,” November 15, 1959, 4pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the National Milk Producers Federation, Washington, D.C., “Federal Farm Policy; The Dairy Farmer: The Challenge Ahead,” November 16,1959, 27pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Luncheon, Kansas City, Kansas, “U.S.-Soviet Competition,” November 19, 1959, 27pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Wichita, Kansas, “The 1960 Election-and 1968,” November 19, 1959, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Reception, Dodge City, Kansas, “Federal Farm Policy,” November 20, 1959, 7pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Denver, Colorado. “U.S.-Soviet Competition; Water and Power Development Memorandum,” November 28, 1959, 13pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Reception, Boulder, Colorado, “Loyalty Oath,” November 28, 1959, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Reception, Pueblo, Colorado, “Labor Legislation,” November 29, 1959, 16pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Grand Junction, Colorado, “Water Resource Development,” November 30, 1959, 23pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the American Municipal Association, Denver, Colorado, “Urban Problems,” November 30, 1959, 6pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the Allegheny County Bar Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, “Administrative Justice and Delay,” December 10, 1959, 9pp.
March 1958: Senator John F. Kennedy and wife, Jacqueline, campaigning for his Senate re-election in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He won his Senate race with more than 73% of the vote, boosting his presidential profile for 1960.
In 1958, the second year of Senator John F. Kennedy’s “unofficial” campaign for his party’s presidential nomination, the junior senator from Massachusetts also faced a re-election campaign at home for his U.S. Senate seat. But Kennedy’s Senate race in Massachusetts also figured into his presidential calculus, as he set out to win re-election by a wide margin, believing this would improve his visibility in the party and nationally. Kennedy figured correctly, as he did receive increased attention after winning 73.6 percent of votes cast in that race, the largest popular margin ever received by a candidate in the state. A poll of Democratic chairmen in Massachusetts not long after the election put Kennedy at the top of their list for the 1960 presidential nomination.
So, even with his Senate re-election campaign, JFK was eyeing the bigger prize. And throughout 1958, in addition to campaigning in Massachusetts, he also traveled extensively across the U.S., meeting with party officials, the media, and giving speeches. It was all part of his presidential and Democratic Party ground game.
Feb 24, 1958: JFK at the Sunday Evening Forum in Tucson, Arizona where he was asked if a man his age could be president. Kennedy, 42 at the time, responded: "I don't know about a 42-year-old man, but I think a 43-year-old man can." Photo, Tucson Citizen.
His speeches and appearances ranged from his denunciation of “venal and irresponsible” labor lawyers in a Fordham Law School speech in February 1958 – then referring to lawyers he had observed during his time on the Senate Rackets Committee – to an appearance and speech at the Annual National Corn Picking Contest in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in October 1958 where he spoke about federal farm policy. During 1958, a few notable Democrats were beginning to endorse JFK for the 1960 presidential nomination – not least of whom was Gov. Abraham A. Ribicoff of Connecticut, who announced in mid-May 1958 at the Governors Conference in Miami his backing of Kennedy for president. In June, Kennedy was on the cover of Newsweek, offered as a contender. In July, Cabell Phillips of the New York Times, wrote that Senator John F. Kennedy – “the handsome, well-endowed young author-statesman from Massachusetts” – was the man “many Democrats regard as their surest bet in the campaign to ‘Stop Nixon in ’60’.” By late September that year, a gathering at the Southern Governors Conference also indicated that Kennedy appeared to be the favorite Democratic presidential candidate.
Nov. 1958: JFK posing for portrait photo at the home of Peter and Patricia Lawford, Santa Monica, CA. Los Angeles Times photographer William S. Murphy took the photo for a story on JFK that appeared the next day.
In 1958, Kennedy was also stumping for his party, boosting Democratic candidates across the U.S. for the mid-term elections that year. On one trip he made into West Virginia to support local candidates, New York Times reporter James Reston, then traveling with Kennedy, noted that JFK was “quietly but diligently building support these days for the 1960 Democratic Presidential nomination.” Kennedy was in the state, Reston reported, “helping the West Virginia Democrats’ candidates in the hope that they will in turn help him two years from now.” Nor was this a “new adventure” for the senator, as Reston explained: “Ever since his strong bid for the Democratic Vice Presidential nomination in 1956, he has been methodically going from one state to another, meeting party leaders, speaking at party rallies and getting himself known.”
Kennedy also made a trip to Alaska on November 11th and 12th, 1958, then helping to boost Democratic candidates there for a special November 25th election, as Alaska was becoming a new state. Following his Alaska visit, Kennedy headed south to California for a brief rest and visit at his sister and brother-in-law’s home – Patricia and Peter Lawford – in Santa Monica. Kennedy was also there to serve as godfather at the baptism of the Lawford’s third child, Victoria. While at the Lawfords, Kennedy did an interview with a Los Angeles Times reporter on November 13th. It was the week following the 1958 mid-term elections, and Kennedy spoke about the election and the Democrats. During th einterview, he was also asked about his candidacy for president in 1960, to which he replied: “It’s too early. The wheels spin around pretty fast. A year from now I’ll have an answer to that one. All I want to do now is thaw out. It was 4 below when I left Fairbanks Wednesday morning.”
1958: JFK & Jackie riding in car during campaign event & parade in Boston. Photo, Carl Mydans.
What follows below is an abbreviated listing of some of JFK’s travel and speaking itinerary for the year 1958, highlighted with a few photographs and a couple of magazine covers also from that year. A number of his speeches from 1958 are also listed below in “Sources, Links & Additional Information” at the bottom of this article. See also at this website, “JFK Early Campaign, 1957” and “The Jack Pack, 1958-1960.” Additional stories on JFK’s road to the White House in 1960 will be posted in future weeks. Thanks for visiting – and please consider supporting this website. Thank you.
– Jack Doyle
1958: JFK campaigning in Massachusetts for re-election, with campaign aide handing out bumper stickers.
Feb. 1958, NY: Laurence J. McGinley, president of Fordham University, presents Senator Kennedy with honorary degree at Fordham Law Association luncheon.
1958: Sen. Kennedy shaking hands with Massachusetts shipyard workers during his re-election campaign.
June 1958: Newsweek magazine put JFK on the cover of its June 23rd issue with taglines: “Jack Kennedy - Shadows of ’60" / “Out in Front? Out on a Limb?”
1958: Senator Kennedy visiting with former president Herbert Hoover in Washington, D.C.
1958: Senator John F. Kennedy in New Bedford, MA during his 1958 senate re-election campaign.
Nov. 24th, 1958, Time magazine, featuring seven "Democratic Hopefuls" in the early bidding for the 1960 presidential nomination: at top, Adlai Stevenson, former Illinois Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate (1952 and 1956); standing from left: Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (MN), Sen. Stuart Symington (MO), Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson (TX); and seated, from left, New Jersey Gov. Robert Meyner, Sen. John F. Kennedy (MA) and then California Gov.-elect, Edmund "Pat" Brown.
Jan 12: Boston, MA, Knights of Columbus
Jan 16: NY, NY, Boy Scouts of America
Jan 20: Richmond, VA, Women’s Club
Feb 4: Latrobe, PA, St. Vincents College
Feb 7: Lynn, MA, Hotel Edison Spch
Feb 8: Maiden, MA, Torbert MacDonald
Feb 9: NY, NY, B’nai Zion Banquet
Feb 11: Philadelphia, PA, La Salle College
Feb 13: Wash., DC, John Carroll Society
Feb 15: NY, NY, Fordham Law Alumni
Feb 18: Baltimore, MD, Loyola College
Feb 20: Cleveland, OH, Book & Authors
Feb 22: Tucson, AZ, Democratic Dinner
Feb 23: Tucson, AZ, Democratic Forum
Feb 24: Denver, CO, Denver University
Feb 26: Wash., DC, Conf on Int’l Aid
Feb 27: Baltimore, MD, U.N. Assoc.
Mar 1: Los Angeles, CA, FDR Dinner
Mar 2: Chicago, IL, Polish Daily News Mar 6: Baltimore, MD, WBC Conf.
Mar 7: Bristol, VA, Jeff-Jack Dinner
Mar 8: Charlottesville, VA, Univ of VA
Mar 10: Boston, Harvard Bd of Overseers
Mar 12: Wash., DC, AFL-CIO Conference
Mar 13: Wash., DC, Women’s Dem Club
Mar 13: ABC-TV, Navy Log: PT 109 Mar 15: Wash., DC, Gridiron Club Dinner
Mar 16: Boston Univ /Newman Breakfast
Mar 16: Holyoke, MA, Holyoke Parade
Mar 16: Maiden, MA, John Volpe Co.
Mar 16: Everett, MA, Sons of St. Patrick
Mar 17: Boston, St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Mar 17: Lawrence, MA, St. Patrick’s Dance
Mar 19: Wash., DC, YMCA Dinner Spch
Mar 21: Boston, MA, Harvard Club Spch
Mar 22: Des Moines, IA, Jeff-Jack Dinner
Mar 23: Roxbury, MA, Freedom House
Mar 25: U.S. Senate, Development in India
Mar 29: Indianapolis, IN, Jeff-Jack Dinner
Mar 30: Boston, MA, Greek Celebration
May 1: Haverhill, MA, Chamb of Commerce
May 3: W. Springfield, MA, Industry Spch
May 3: Wallingford, CT, Choate Alum Day
May 4: Fall River, MA, Daugthers of Isabella
May 8: Senate spch, “Unemployment…”
May 10: Fitchburgh, MA, JFK spch read
May 11: Wash., DC, “The State of Israel”
May 12: Boston, Harvard Bd of Overseers
May 13:Wilkes-Barre, PA, Chamb of Com.
May 14: Atlantic City, NJ, Clothing Workers
May 14: Boston, “The Diocese of Boston”
May 15: Lawrence, MA, “Unemployment”
May 15: Chestnut Hill, MA, Boston College
May 16: Madison, WI, Univ. of Wisconsin
May 17: Milwaukee, WI, Jeff-Jack Dinner
May 18: Eugene, OR, Jeff-Jack Day Dinner
May 19: Gov. Ribbicoff (CT), Endorses JFK
May 30: Dorchester, MA, Memorial Day
May 31: New Hampshire, Jeff-Jack Dinner
Jun 1: Boston, State of Israel Celebration
Jun 2: Wash., DC, Trinity College
Jun 4: Wash., DC, Freedman Hospital
Jun 7: Boston, N.E. College of Pharmacy
Jun 7: Manchester, NH, “Democratic Party”
Jun 8: Northampton, MA, Smith College
Jun 9: Quincy, IL, Quincy College
Jun 11: Morgantown, WV Jeff-Jack Dinner
Jun 14: Casper, WY, Democratic Dinner
Jun 15: Billings, MT, Democratic Dinner
Jun 20: Salem, MA, Homecoming/Salem
Jun 23:White Sulph Sprgs, Tobacco Assoc.
Jun 27: Harford, CT, State Dems Conv’tn
Aug 14: Senate Remarks, “Military Gap”
Aug 20: Boston, Am. Hellenic Educators
Sep 10: Atlantic City, NJ, Bakery Workers
Sep 11: Miami Beach, U.S. Mayors Conf.
Sep 18: Atlantic City, NJ, Steelworkers
Sep 24: Gloucester, MA, Senate Campaign
Sep 24: Danvers, MA, Hunt Mem Hospital
Sep 24: Swampscott, MA, Lady Elks Spch
Sep 25: Newburyport, MA, Mtg w Reporters
Sep 25: Andover, MA, Tyre Rubber Co.
Sep 26: Burlington, VT, Rural Co-ops
Sep 27: Greenfield, MA, Greenfield H.S.
Sep 27: Northhampton, MA, City Hall
Sep 28: Pittsfield / North Adams, MA
Sep 28: Holyoke, MA, War Mem Bldg
Sep 29: Springfield, MA, Milton Bradley Co
Sep 29: Westfield, MA, H.B. Smith Co.
Sep 29: Agawan, MA, Shopping Center
Sep 29: W. Springfield, Pub Square Mtg
Sep 29: Chicopee, MA, United Fund Dinner
Oct 2: Worcester, MA, Assumption College
Oct 3: Boston, Massachusetts Realtors
Oct 4: Concord, NH, Ed for Pub Service
Oct 8: Dover, DE, Rally at State Capitol
Oct 10: Parkersburg, WV, for Mid-Terms
Oct 17: Cedar Rapids, IA, “Farm Policy”
Oct 21: WHYN-TV, Sen. Kennedy Story Oct 24: Frank Sinatra endorses JFK
Oct 25: Boston, Samuel Gompers Mem.
Nov 5: JFK re-elected U.S. Senator
Nov 10: Juneau, AK, Alaska Dem Party
Nov 11: Alaska Tour / Democratic Party
Nov 12: Fairbanks, AK
Nov 13: Santa Monica, CA, R&R
Nov 14: Los Angeles Times story/profile
Nov 15: Puerto Rico, Democratic Dinner
Dec 16: St. Thomas, V.I., Dem. Party
Dec 19: Lou Harris hired as JFK pollster
Note: The above listing of Sen. Kennedy’s travels and speeches in 1958 may not include all of his activities during that year, especially in Massa- chusetts where he had many multiple-town stops during his Senate re-election campaign. The full titles of a number of his major speeches are included below, in the second half of “Sources.” More photos also follow below.
Article Citation: Jack Doyle, “JFK’s Early Campaign: 1958,” PopHistoryDig.com, August 21, 2013.
Sources, Links & Additional Information
October 2, 1958: Senator John F. Kennedy speaking at Assumption College, Worcester, MA.
October 2, 1958: Senator Kennedy unveiling a portrait of his brother at dedication of Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Memorial Science Hall, Assumption College.
March 15, 1958: Kennedy brothers, from left, Teddy, Jack and Bobby, at Gridiron Club in Washington, DC, where JFK delivered a speech.
March 1958: Jacqueline Kennedy and JFK during a reception at the University of Southern California.
March 1958: Senator Kennedy holding baby daughter, Caroline, with Jackie at his side, photographed in their Georgetown /Wash., DC home by Life magazine photo-grapher Ed Clark for magazine issue below.
The April 21st1958 edition of Life magazine featured the young Kennedy family on its cover, with the tagline, “Jacqueline, Caroline and Jack Kennedy.”
June 2, 1958, Wash., DC: JFK at Trinity College greeting graduate Barbara Bailey and her father, John Bailey, who became a key operative & strategist in JFK’s 1960 victory. Barbara Bailey Kennelly later won a seat in the U.S. Congress (D-CT) and also ran for governor.
1958: Senator John F. Kennedy & Jackie greeting Boston police officer on Chelsea Street in south Boston.
Feb 11, 1958: Sen. Kennedy with La Salle College officials in Phila., PA, where he received an honorary degree and delivered a speech, “Careers in Politics.”
March 1958: Jacqueline Kennedy with the three Kennedy brothers at University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, where Teddy (left) was then a student, Bobby (right) a law school graduate, and JFK (center), there to give a speech at the Law School’s first Law Day.
October 26th, 1958: Senator Kennedy campaigning for re-election and visiting with textile workers at the Charlton Woolen Co. plant in Charlton, MA.
Cover of “A Nation of Immigrants,” a book begun by JFK in 1958 when he was a U.S. Senator and published after his death in 1964.
Martin Sandler’s 2013 compilation of JFK’s letters range from those sent to Martin Luther King and Clare Booth Luce, to John Wayne and Nikita Khrushchev, among others.
Maureen Harris and Steve Gilbert have complied 30 of JFK’s speeches in their 2013 “Word For Word” book.
Edward Claflin’s 1991 book, “JFK Wants to Know: Memos From the President's Office, 1961-1963,” includes a preface by JFK insider, Pierre Salinger.
An October 2013 New York Times book, “The Kennedy Years,” includes NYT news stories and columns of that era, special essays, and some 125 photos.
John Newman’s 1992 book, “JFK and Vietnam.”
Cover photo from John Logsdon’s 2010 book, “John F. Kennedy and The Race to the Moon.”
Jeff Greenfield’s October 2013 book, “If Kennedy Lived,” poses a “what if” historical scenario.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, JFKlibrary.org, Boston, MA.
Kenneth P. O’Donnell and David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1970.
Jacques Lowe, Portrait: The Emergence of John F. Kennedy, New York: Bramhall House/McGraw-Hill, 1961.
The New York Times, with photographs by Jacques Lowe, The Kennedy Years, New York: Viking Press, 1964.
“Senator John F. Kennedy, Alaskan Tour Papers, 1958,” Alaska State Library, Historical Collections. In November 1958, the Democratic Party held a speaking tour in Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks to promote its candidates for Alaskan offices. The keynote speaker of this tour was John F. Kennedy, accompanied by former Governor Ernest Gruening of Alaska, E.L. Bartlett, and Governor William Egan.
“Archive Photos: Kennedy and Johnson in Tucson,”AzStarNet.com, July 27, 2012.
“John F. Kennedy – 1958 Campaigning for Senator in New Bedford, MA,” Whaling City.net.
JFK Speeches & Remarks: 1958
Address of Senator Kennedy, Pere Marquette Council of Knights of Columbus 60th Anniversary Banquet, Boston, Massachusetts, “Can We Compete With the Russians?,” January 12, 1958, 10pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Annual Boy Scouts of America Luncheon, New York, New York, “Foreign Policy,” January 16, 1958, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the Women’s Club of Richmond, Virginia. “Can We Compete With the Russians?,” January 20, 1958, 17pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy upon Receipt of Honorary Degree from Saint Vincents College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, “Careers in Politics,” February 4, 1958, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Testimonial Dinner Honoring Congressman Torbert H. MacDonald, Maiden, Massachusetts, “The Need for Political Leadership,” February 8, 1958.19pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, B’nai Zion Golden Jubilee Banquet, New York, New York. “Israel: A Miracle of Progress,” February 9, 1958, 21 pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy upon Receipt of Honorary Degree from La Salle College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, “Careers in Politics,” February 11, 1958, 12pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the John Carroll Society, Washington, D.C., “Foreign Policy,” February 13, 1958, 38pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Fordham Law Alumni Association Luncheon, New York, New York, “Labor Racketeering,” February 15, 1958, 34pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Loyola College Annual Alumni Banquet, Baltimore, Maryland, “Education in the U.S. and USSR,” February 18, 1958, 13pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Book and Authors Club Luncheon, Cleveland, Ohio, “Intellectuals and Politicians,” February 20, 1958, 23pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Tucson, Arizona, “The Democratic Party; U.S. Economic Problems,” February 22, 1958, 29pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Social Science Foundation Lecture, Denver University, Denver, Colorado, “The Global Challenge We Face,” February 24,1958, 44pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Fifth National Conference on International Economic Aid and Social Development, Washington, D.C., “U.S. Policy Toward India,” February 26, 1958, 18pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, United Nations Association of Maryland Dinner, Baltimore, Maryland, “The United Nations,” February 27, 1958, 27pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at FDR Memorial Dinner, Los Angeles, California. “The Democratic Party,” March 1, 1958, 12pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy upon Receipt of Man of the Year Award by the Polish Daily News, Chicago, Illinois, “U.S. Policy Toward Poland,” March 2, 1958, 8pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, WBC Second Conference in Public Service Programming, Baltimore, Maryland, “The Challenge of Public Broadcasting,” March 6, 1958, 29pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Bristol, Virginia, “The Democratic Party,” March 7, 1958, 12pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, AFL-CIO Unemployment Conference, Washington, D.C., “Unemployment Compensation,” March 12, 1958, 9pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Women’s Democratic Club Luncheon, Washington, D.C., “The Democratic Party; Foreign Policy,” March 13, 1958, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy Before the Gridiron Club, Washington, D.C., “Leadership,” March 15, 1958, 6pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, YMCA Annual Branch Dinner, Washington, D.C., “Juvenile Delinquency,” March 19, 1958, 11pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Harvard Club, Boston, Massachusetts, “Leadership,” March 21, 1958, 16pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Des Moines, Iowa, “The Democratic Party; Federal Farm Policy,” March 22, 1958, 53pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Freedom House, Roxbury, Massachusetts, “Education in America; Freedom House,” March 23, 1958, 19pp.
Remarks in the United States Senate by Senator Kennedy, “The Choice in Asia-Democratic Development in India,” March 25, 1958, 19pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Indianapolis, Indiana, “The Democratic Party; Federal Farm Policy,” March 29, 1958, 27pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Bismarck, North Dakota, “The Democratic Party; Federal Farm Policy,” April 11, 1958, 26pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Huron, South Dakota, “The Democratic Party; George McGovern; Federal Farm Policy,” April 12, 1958, 36pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt Centennial Lecture, Dickinson, North Dakota, “Theodore Roosevelt; Careers in Politics,” April 12, 1958, 24pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Mississippi Economic Council Dinner, Jackson, Mississippi, “Recession and Inflation,” April 16, 1958, 42pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Eighth Annual Pittsburgh World Affairs Forum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, “The Global Challenge We Face,” April 18, 1958, 25pp.
Senator John F. Kennedy, Introduction of Senator Mike Monroney, Boston, Massachusetts, April 19, 1958, 9pp.
Remarks of Senator Kennedy, North Atlantic Regional Meeting of the National Citizens Council for Better Schools, Washington, D.C., “The Role of the Federal Government in Public Education,” April 21-April 22, 1958, 36pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Mississippi Valley Historical Association Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, Minnesota, “The Role of Politicians in History,” April 25, 1958, 21pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Dinner, Eugene, Oregon. “Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” April 27,1958, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the Retail Workers, Washington, D.C., “Unemployment Compensation; Minimum Wage,” April 29, 1958, 7pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Rockefeller Public Service Awards, Washington, D.C., “Continued Career Training,” April 30, 1958, 3pp.
Remarks in the United States Senate by Senator Kennedy, “Unemployment Comp- ensation,” May 8, 1958, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy to Be Read by Congressman MacDonald, Fitchburgh, Massachusetts, “The Democratic Party,” May 10, 1958,10pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Greater Washington Observance of Israel’s Tenth Anniversary, Washington, D.C., “The State of Israel,” May 11, 1958, 19pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, “Recession and Unemployment Compensation,” May 13, 1958, 6pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey, “Labor Racketeering,” May 14, 1958, 30pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, 150th Anniversary of Archbishopric of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, “The Diocese of Boston,” May 14, 1958, 60pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Luncheon, Lawrence, Massachusetts, “Unemployment Compensation,” May 15, 1958, 4pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Boston College Seminar, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, “Air Travel Facilities in Boston,” May 15, 1958, 19pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “The Democratic Party; Liberalism,” May 17, 1958, 41pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Eugene, Oregon, “The Democratic Party; Liberalism,” May 18, 1958, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Trinity College Commencement, Washington, D.C., “Careers in Politics,” June 2, 1958, 27pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Association of Former Residents, Freedman Hospital, Howard University Banquet, Washington, D.C., “Medical Facilities and Research,” June 4,1958, 20pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Manchester, New Hampshire, “The Democratic Party,” June 7,1958, 46pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Smith College Commencement, Northampton, Massachu- setts, “Careers in Politics,” June 8, 1958, 29pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Morgantown, West Virginia, “The Democratic Party,” June 11, 1958, 43pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Casper, Wyoming, “The Democratic Party; Development of Water Power,” June 14,1958, 54pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Billings, Montana, “The Democratic Party; Federal Farm Policy,” June 15,1958, 52pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Salem Homecoming Celebration, Salem, Massa- chusetts, “History of Salem,” June 20, 1958, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Tobacco Association of the United States and Leaf Tobacco Association Joint Meeting, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, “Reciprocal Trade,” June 23, 1958, 16pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Connecticut Democratic State Convention, Hartford, Connecticut, “The Democratic Party,” June 27, 1958, 27pp.
Remarks in the United States Senate by Senator Kennedy, “United States Military and Diplomatic Policies-Preparing for the Gap,” August 14, 1958, 6pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, American Bakery and Confectionary Workers Inter- national Union, AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey, “Labor Racketeering,” September 10, 1958, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, U.S. Mayors Conference Luncheon, Miami Beach, Florida, “Time for an Urban Magna Carta,” September 11, 1958, 9pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, United Steelworkers of America Convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey, “Labor Racketeering,” September 18, 1958, 19pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Region One Conference, Burlington, Vermont, “Rural Electrification,” September 26, 1958, 8pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Dedication of Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Memorial Science Hall, Assumption College, Wor- cester, MA, October 2, 1958.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Massachusetts Real Estate Association Banquet, Boston, Massachusetts, “Housing and Real Estate Legislation,” October 3, 1958, 19pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Annual National Corn Picking Contest, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “Federal Farm Policy,” October 17, 1958, 12pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Massachusetts Federation of Labor Annual Samuel Gompers Memorial Dinner, Boston, Massachusetts, “Unemployment Compen- sation; Social Security; Labor Racketeer- ing,” October 25, 1958, 13pp.
Senator John F. Kennedy, Speeches, Alaska Tour, November 10, 1958-November 11, 1958, 27pp., Major Subjects: Water resource development; the Democratic Party.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic Dinner, Puerto Rico. “U.S.-Latin American Relations,” November 15, 1958, 31pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, “The Democratic Party,” December 16, 1958, 21pp.
1956 campaign button – part of the hastily-assembled material used to boost JFK for the VP slot at the DNC.
When Jack Kennedy set out to run for President of the United States, he decided to begin early and run hard. Kennedy had been surprised by nearly winning the 1956 Democratic nomination for Vice President at the party’s national convention in Chicago. Adlai Stevenson, the Democrats’ presidential nominee that year, had thrown open the VP selection to the full convention, and JFK and Senator Estes Kefauver became the principal contestants. The ensuing race proved to be very close, providing Americans with some dramatic television that summer.
Kennedy, who earlier in 1956 published the book, Profiles in Courage, led in the balloting at one point. But with some arm-twisting and delegate switching, Kefauver prevailed after two rounds of roll-call voting. Yet Kennedy would later remark to his inner circle, that if he came that close to the VP nomination after only “four hours of work and a handful of supporters,” a more concerted effort over the next several years might well give him the big prize: the presidential nomination and a shot at the White House. And so he began in 1957 – well in advance of the 1960 Democratic National Convention – making targeted visits and traveling the U.S., all with the aim of building his candidacy from that point on through the fall 1960 presidential election campaign.
Aug. 29, 1957: Senator John F. Kennedy, far left, with other fellow senators, from left: George Smathers (D-FL), Hubert H. Humphrey (D-MN) and William Proxmire (D-WI), all listening to Majority Leader, Lyndon B. Johnson (D-TX).
Kennedy in 1957 was a junior U.S. Senator nearing the end of his first six-year term, also mounting a senate re-election campaign in Massachusetts. But even then, JFK was more than just a U.S. Senator and had begun vying for leadership within his party. In 1957 he would win a seat on the prestigious Senate Foreign Relations Committee and also join the Senate Rackets Committee then investigating organized crime and labor — the same committee where his younger brother Bobby was serving as committee counsel. In early May 1957, JFK would win the Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles in Courage. Meanwhile, the media had already discovered the young handsome senator, who would grace the covers of a few magazines that year as well.
1956: JFK shown in publicity photo for his book, “Profiles in Courage,” which helped him gain notice in 1957 and beyond.
The year 1957 had its share of notable events. In late September, President Eisenhower had to send federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce court-ordered desegregation of public schools and to keep the peace. In October, the first earth-orbiting satellite was sent into space, Sputnik, launched by the Russians. Among movies that year were Peyton Place and Twelve Angry Men; in literature, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road was popular; on Broadway, West Side Story was playing; and on television, Leave it To Beaver made its premiere. In the 1957 World Series, the Milwaukee Braves beat the New York Yankees in a seven-game series.
1957: RFK & JFK during Senate Racketts hearings, then investigating crime infiltration of labor unions.
Senator Kennedy that year received more than 2,500 speaking invitations from across the nation, and he would accept more than 140 of them. Still, out in the country, Kennedy was not well known, and in those early campaign days – referred to by his inner circle as the “undercover presidential campaign” – there would often be small turnouts and empty seats in the local venues where he appeared. But Kennedy was also doing the important spade work of political organizing on these trips; getting to know which local politicians and organizers were the most effective and who could help him win the nomination and beyond. What follows below is an abbreviated listing of some of JFK’s travel and speaking itinerary for the year 1957, highlighted with a few photographs and magazine covers also from that year. A number of his speeches from 1957 are also listed below in “Sources, Links & Additional Information” at the bottom of this article. See also at this website, “The Jack Pack, 1958-1960.” Additional stories on JFK’s road to the White House in 1960 will be posted in future weeks. Thanks for visiting — and please consider supporting this website. Thank you. - Jack Doyle
JFK’s Early Campaign
Speeches, Dinners, Media, Democratic Party Activity, Etc,.
January 1957: JFK with University of Illinois officials in Champaign where he gave a commencement address.
March 11, 1957: JFK on the cover of Life magazine, and author of, “Where Democrats Should Go From Here.”
May 31, 1957: JFK at the University of South Carolina with university president Donald Russell.
June 3, 1957: Sen. Kennedy delivering commencement address at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.
Nov. 1957: Nevada state Senator E. L. Cord shaking hands with JFK during a Young Democrats tour in Reno, NV. On the left is U.S. Senator Alan Bible (D-NV).
Jan 12: New York, NY, Irish Institute
Jan 16: NY, NY, Armed Forces Mgmt Assoc
Jan 27: Champaign, IL, University of Illinois
Feb 4: Wash., DC, Herbert Hoover Dinner
Feb 7: Albany, GA, Chamber of Commerce
Feb 12: ABC-TV: “Omnibus: Call it Courage”
Feb 19: Atlantic City, NJ, Nat’l School Board
Feb 22: So. Bend, IN, Univ. of Notre Dame
Feb 23: Springfield, MO, Jackson Day
Feb 24: Cleve., OH, Cnf Christians & Jews
Mar 11: JFK on cover of Life magazine
Mar 17: Baltimore, MD, St. Patrick’s Dinner
Mar 21: Birmingham, AL, Municipalities
Mar 23: NY, NY Tribune/H School Forum
Mar 29: Albuquerque, NM, Dem. Dinner
Apr 4: Lynchburg, VA, Democratic Dinner
Apr 10: Wash.,DC, Machine Products Assn.
Apr 14: NYTimes magazine article by JFK
Apr 29: Wash., DC, Notre Dame Night
Apr 29: Wash., DC, Nat’l Chamber of Com
May 1: Wash., DC, U.S. Senate Portraits
May 3: Wash., DC, Assoc. Harvard Clubs
May 6: NY, NY, Overseas Press Club Spch.
May 7: Pulitzer Prize, Profiles in Courage May 9: Wilm., DE, Jeff-Jack Day Dinner
May 11: Boston, MA, Democratic Club Mtg
May 17: Omaha, NE, Jeff-Jack Day Dinner
May 18: Lincoln, University of Nebraska
May 21: Boston, New England Publishers
May 23: Chicago, IL, Cook County Dems
May 31: Columbia, SC, Univ. of So. Carolina
Jun 3: Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University
Jun 7: Hot Springs, AR, Arkansas Bar Assoc.
Jun 10: Atlanta, GA, S.E. Peanut Assoc.
Jun 10: ” “, Univ. of GA Commencement
Jun 13: Detroit, Relief for Poland Dinner
Jun 15: Plymouth, MA, Mass. Bar Assoc.
Jun 15: Rockland, ME, Jeff-Jackson Dinner
July 1: ABC-TV’s “Press Conference” Show
July 2: U.S. Senate Spch, France & Algeria
Aug 22: Madison, WI, Wis. Dem Dinner
Sept 1: Milton, MA, Milton Seminary
Sept 11: NY, NY, U.S. Conf. of Mayors
Sept 19: New Rochelle, NY, Iona College
Sept 19: Albany, NY, State Dem Dinner
Oct 8: Fredericton, New Brunswick Univ.
Oct 9: Chicago, Economic Club Dinner
Oct 9: Swampscott, MA, Teachers’ Convn
Oct 10: Baltimore, MD, Teachers’ Convn
Oct 10: Great Barrington, MA, Town Clerks
Oct 13: New Bedford, MA, United Givers
Oct 14: Boston, Nat’l Assoc Ag Agents
Oct 15: Chicago, Inland Daily Press Assoc
Oct 17: Jackson, MS, Young Democrats
Oct 18: Gainesville, FL, Univ. of Florida
Oct 19: Gainesville, U of FL/Phi Alpha Delta
Oct 23: NY, NY, Hungarian Fighters
Oct 23: ABC-TV(drama), Navy Log: PT 109 Oct 24: Boston, Assoc Industries of MA
Oct 27: NY, NY, Yeshiva University
Oct 30: Easton, PA, Democratic Dinner
Oct 31: Wash., DC, AFL-CIO /Indust. Dept.
Nov 1: Philadelphia, PA, University of PA
Nov 6: Topeka, KS, Kansas Dem Club
Nov 7: Oklahoma City, Jeff-Jack Dinner
Nov 7: Oklahoma, “Farm Policy”
Nov 7: Lawrence, KS, University of KS
Nov 8: Reno, NV, Young Dem Clubs
Nov 17: NY, NY, Am. Jewish Congress
Nov 18: Daytona Bch, FL, Municipalities
Nov 19: NY, NY, Temple Emmanuel
Nov 24: NBC-TV: “Look Here”
Nov 27: Birth of Caroline Kennedy
Nov 28: Dallas, TX, Texas Teachers
Dec 2: JFK on cover of Time magazine
Dec 3: Chicago, Conf of Christians & Jews
Note: The above listing of Sen. Kennedy’s travels
and speeches in 1957 may not include all of his activities during that year. The full titles of his speeches are included below, in the second half
of “Sources.” More photos also follow below.
Article Citation: Jack Doyle, “JFK’s Early Campaign: 1957,” PopHistoryDig.com, August 7, 2013.
Sources, Links & Additional Information
December 2, 1957: Sen. John F. Kennedy appears on the cover of Time magazine with a feature story titled, “Democrat’s Man Out Front.”
February 22, 1957: Sen. Kennedy being honored with the 1957 Patriotism Award, Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana. Photo, Notre Dame archives.
Oct 1957: JFK receiving honorary degree from Lord Beaverbrook at University of New Brunswick in Canada, where JFK gave speech, "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors" at the fall convocation.
Nov 7, 1957: Sen. Kennedy visits with Kansas University students while in Lawrence, KS to give the 1957 convocation speech. Journal-World file photo.
1957: Robert F. Kennedy (center left) and Senator John F. Kennedy (center right) during the McClellan Rackets hearings, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
1957: Robert F. Kennedy and Senator John F. Kennedy during McClellan Rackets hearings, Washington, D.C.
1957: Robert and John F. Kennedy (center) questioning witness at Senate Rackets Committee hearings.
“Navy Log,” a TV series of the 1950s, included a show broadcast 23 Oct 1957 – “PT 109" – a dramatization of a WWII incident, in which Naval Lieutenant Commander John F. Kennedy helped save crew members after their PT 109 boat was struck by a Japanese destroyer. Show was rerun, March 13,1958.
JFK visiting with two of Boston’s finest while campaigning in Massachusetts sometime in 1957.
June 1957: JFK and wife Jacqueline at family gathering at Hickory Hill house in McLean, VA, home of RFK.
July 1957: Jack and Jackie (then pregnant) at Tiffany benefit ball at Marble House in Newport, RI. JFK is greeting socialite Mrs. John Drexel III. Photo, Life / Ralph Morse.
November 27, 1957: JFK and Jacqueline at the christening of their daughter, Caroline, with then Archbishop Richard Cushing of Boston.
Cover of hardback edition, “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye,” written by two of JFK’s closest aides, Kenny O’Donnell and Dave Powers, and published in 1970.
Back cover of “Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye,” showing JFK at an airport with his close aides, Dave Powers (center) and Kenny O’Donnell (right), who traveled with JFK across the U.S. during his earliest campaigning.
Photographer Jacques Lowe’s 1961 book on JFK includes history of JFK’s early campaigning.
First edition of Theodore White’s classic political campaign book covering the 1960 presidential election.
Robert Dallek’s 2003 book on John F. Kennedy, “An Unfinished Life” (hardback edition ).
Chris Matthews’ 2011 book, “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.”
1965 hardback edition of “A Thousand Days,” Arthur Schlesinger’s monumental, Pulitzer Prize -winning history of JFK’s time in office as President.
2003 book, “Remembering Jack,” featuring some 600 photos of JFK and the Kennedy family by the late photographer, Jacques Lowe.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, JFKlibrary.org, Boston, MA.
Kenneth P. O’Donnell and David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1970.
Jacques Lowe, Portrait: The Emergence of John F. Kennedy, New York: Bramhall House/McGraw-Hill, 1961.
The New York Times, with photographs by Jacques Lowe, The Kennedy Years, New York: Viking Press, 1964.
Theodore H. White, The Making of the President 1960, New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1962.
David Pietrusza, 1960–LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign That Forged Three Presidencies, New York: Union Square Press, 2008.
W. H. Lawrence, “…Kefauver Is Nominated for Vice President, Defeating Kennedy on the Second Ballot; Tennessean Wins after Close Race…,” New York Times, August 18, 1956.
C. P. Trussell, “Kennedy Gets Post Sought by Kefauver; High Senate Spot Goes to Kennedy Other Assignments Listed,” New York Times, January 9, 1957
“Mideast Plan Scouted; Senator Kennedy Warns Policy Is Not Cure-All for Area,” New York Times, January 17, 1957.
Joseph A. Loftus, “Senators Agreed on Rackets Panel; Tentative Plan Puts 4 From Each Party on Special Labor Inquiry Group,” New York Times, January 26, 1957.
“Politics: Our Most Neglected Profession,” John F. Kennedy, January 27, 1957, Record Series # 39/1/5, University of Illinois Archives.
Benjamin Fine, “School Officials Urge Integration; Administrators’ Convention Adopts Strong Resolution Against Segregation; Local Action Is Asked; U. S. Building Aid Favored; Kennedy Sees Backing by Congress This Year; Federal Aid Urged,” New York Times, February 21, 1957.
John D. Morris, “7 Democrats Aid G.O.P. on Mideast; Kennedy Leads Senate Fight for Eisenhower Doctrine Without Any Revisions; Vote on Tuesday Likely…,” New York Times, March 2, 1957.
“Kennedy Warns His Party on ’60; Democrat Says ‘New Ideas’ Would Be Needed to Beat Nixon for Presidency,” New York Times, The Week In Review, March 7, 1957.
“Nixon Hails Kennedy; Praises Speech Supporting the President on Mideast,” New York Times, March 11, 1957.
John F. Kennedy, “Search For the Five Greatest Senators; a Senator Describes the Problems in Choosing the Best Men from the Senate’s 168 Years.” The New York Times Magazine, April 14, 1957.
Bill Becker, “Kennedy Favors Aid to Satellites; Urges Formulation of New U.S. Policy at Overseas Press Club Dinner,” New York Times, May 7, 1957.
“Kennedy Aids Negroes; Senator Presents $500 Pulitzer Check to College Fund,” New York Times, May 12, 1957.
Donald Janson, (Omaha, NE), “Senator Kennedy Urges ‘Bold’ U.S. Move To Grant Poland $200,000,000 in Aid.,” New York Times, May 18, 1957.
Bob Ackerman, “Kennedy Urges Graduates to Enter Politics; Says US Needs Talents,” The State (Columbia, South Carolina), June 1, 1957.
United Press (Hot Springs, Arkansas), “Kennedy Disclaims Bid; Won’t Seek Presidency in ’60 –Suggests McClellan,” The New York Times Book Review, June 8, 1957.
“Convention to Be TV Show Audience” (JFK interviewed by ABC’s Martha Rountree on “Press Conference” show), New York Times, June 25, 1957.
“Kennedy Says He’d Run If Offered’ 60 Nomination,” Washington Post/Times Herald, July 1, 1957, p. A-12.
Arthur Krock, “Five Political Figures with a Single Thought; Three Democrats, Two Republicans Are Already in the Running For A Presidential Nomination…,” New York Times, July 7, 1957.
“Kennedy in ’60 Backed; Seen by McClellan as Possible Nominee of Democrats,” New York Times, August 5, 1957.
“Senator Kennedy To Advise For TV; He Will Oversee a ‘Navy Log’ Story of Own War Exploit…,” New York Times, August 6, 1957.
Joseph A. Loftus, “Senator Scores Inquiry Lawyers; Kennedy Says They Do More Than Advise Labor Clients…,” New York Times, August 8, 1957.
Associated Press, (Gainsville, FL), “Senator Kennedy Calls on Bar Groups To Check Unethical Practices in Field,” New York Times, Week in Review, October 20, 1957.
Navy Log: PT 109 (TV dramatization of the PT-109 incident, in which the heroism of Naval Lieutenant Commander John F. Kennedy helps save crew members when their PT boat is struck by a Japanese destroyer), Original broadcast, ABC TV October 23, 1957 (rerun March 13,1958).
Irving Spiegel, “Senator Defends Minority Causes; Kennedy Backs Principle of ‘Multiple Loyalties’– He Gets Yeshiva Award American Loyalty Concept,” New York Times, October 28, 1957.
Roger Creene, “Not Too Reluctant Is the Coy Kennedy,” Washington Post /Times Herald, November 10, 1957, p, E-3.
“Catholic President Upheld by Kennedy,” New York Times Book Review, November 25, 1957.
Sean Kirst, “Amid Election Day Fatigue, JFK’s Syracuse Reminder of the Nobility of Elected Office,” The Post-Standard, Nov. 6, 2012.
JFK Speeches & Remarks: 1957
Address of Senator Kennedy Before the Irish Institute, New York, New York, “Irish History,” January 12, 1957, 12pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at the University of Illinois Senior Convocation, Champaign, Illinois, “Politics: Our Most Neglected Profession,” January 27, 1957, 25pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Dinner Honoring Herbert Hoover, Washington, D.C., “The Second Hoover Commission,” February 4,1957, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Annual Chamber of Commerce Dinner, Albany, Georgia, “Foreign Policy,” February 7, 1957, 23pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at the Annual Convention of American Association of School Administrators and National School Board Association, Atlantic City, New Jersey, “The Education of an American Politician,” February 19,1957, 21pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy upon Receipt of the 1957 Patriotism Award, Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana. “Careers in Politics,” February 22, 1957, 33pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at 34th Annual Jackson Day Banquet, Springfield, Missouri, “The Democratic Party; Foreign Policy,” February 23, 1957, 37pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at the 1957 Brotherhood Year Observance-The National Conference of Christians and Jews, Cleveland, Ohio, “Comity and Common Sense in the Middle East,” February 24, 1957, 23pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at St. Patrick’s Day Dinner, Baltimore, Maryland, “Irish History; Labor Racketeering,” March 17, 1957, 22pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Alabama League of Municipalities Banquet, Birmingham, Alabama, “Labor Racke- teering,” March 21, 1957, 23pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the New York Herald Tribune Forum for High Schools, New York, New York, “Foreign Policy in a Democracy,” March 23, 1957, 8pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Democratic Dinner, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Democratic Party; Foreign Policy,” March 29, 1957, 26pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Chamber of Commerce Dinner, Lynchburg, Virginia. “Labor Racketeering; Foreign Policy,” April 4, 1957, 22pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the National Screw Machine Products Association, Washington, D.C., “Small Business Tax Relief,” April 10, 1957, 3pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Universal Notre Dame Night Celebration, Washington, D.C., “Labor Racketeering,” April 29, 1957, 18pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at the First General Session of the 45th Annual Meeting of the National Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C., “America’s International Responsibilities,” April 29, 1957, 21pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy from the Special Committee on the Senate Reception Room, “Choice of Five Senators Whose Portraits Are to Be Placed in the Senate Reception Room,” May 1, 1957, 82pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Symposium of the Associated Harvard Clubs, Washington, D.C., “The Role of the University in Government,” May 3, 1957, 6pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at the Annual Awards Dinner of the Overseas Press Club, New York, New York, “U.S. Policy Towards Poland,” May 6, 1957, 19pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Delaware State Jefferson-Jackson Day Democratic Dinner, Wilmington, Delaware, “The Democratic Party,” May 9, 1957, 28pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Democratic Club Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, “Participation of Women in Politics,” May 11,1957, 6pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Omaha, Nebraska, “The Democratic Party; U.S. Policy Towards Poland,” May 17, 1957, 29pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy at University of Nebraska Convocation, Lincoln, Nebraska, “Careers in Politics,” May 18, 1957, 20pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, New England Publishers Association Luncheon, Boston, Massachusetts, “Labor Racketeering,” May 21, 1957, 21 pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Annual Dinner and Reception, Democratic Party of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, The Democratic Party; U.S. Policy Towards Poland,” May 23, 1957, 23pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, University of South Carolina Commencement, Columbia, South Carolina, “Careers in Politics,” May 31, 1957, 19pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Syracuse University Commencement, Syracuse, New York, “Careers in Politics,” June 3, 1957, 20pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Arkansas Bar Association Annual Convention, Hot Springs, Arkansas,” Labor Racketeering,” June 7, 1957, 23pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the Southeastern Peanut Association, Atlanta, Georgia, “Farm Policy,” June 10, 1957, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, University of Georgia Commencement, Athens, Georgia, “Careers in Politics,” June 10, 1957, 20pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, American Relief for Poland Dinner, Detroit, Michigan, “U.S. Policy Toward Poland,” June 13, 1957, 12pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Massachusetts Bar Association Luncheon, Plymouth, Massachusetts, “Labor Racketeering,” June 15, 1957, 13pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Rockland, Maine, “The Democratic Party,” June 15, 1957, 19pp.
Remarks of Senator Kennedy on the Senate Floor, “The Struggle Against Imperialism-Part II: Poland and Eastern Europe,” August 21, 1957, 58pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Wisconsin Democratic Dinner, Wisconsin, “The Democratic Party,” August 22, 1957, 23pp.
Remarks of Senator Kennedy in the United States Senate. “Proposed Amendment of Constitution Relating to Election of President and Vice President,” August 30, 1957, 3pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Milton Seminary Benefactor’s Day, Milton, Massachusetts, “Christian Missionaries,” September 1,1957, 9pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, U.S. Conference of Mayors, New York, New York, “Our American Cities and Their Second Class Citizens,” September 11, 1957, 40pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, lona College Convocation, New Rochelle, New York, “Honorary Degrees,” September 19, 1957, 5pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, University of New Brunswick Convocation, Fredericton, New Brunswick, “U.S.-Canada Relations,” October 8, 1957, 16pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Economic Club Dinner, Chicago, Illinois, “Foreign Policy,” October 9, 1957, 26pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Teachers’ Association Convention, Swampscott, Massachusetts, “Education in America,” October 9, 1957, 11pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Teachers’ Association Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, “Education in America,” October 10, 1957, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Massachusetts Town Clerks’ Association Convention, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, “Urban Politics,” October 10, 1957, 10pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, United Givers Fund Kick-Off Dinner, New Bedford, Massachusetts, “Philanthropy,” October 13, 1957, 15pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, National Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, “Farm Policy,” October 14, 1957, 25pp.
Address of Robert F. Kennedy before the Inland Daily Press Association, Chicago, Illinois,” Labor Racketeering,” October 15, 1957, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Young Democrats Dinner, Jackson, Mississippi, “The Democratic Party,” October 17, 1957, 18pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, University of Florida Blue Key Banquet, Gainesville, Florida, “Can We Compete with the Russians?,” October 18, 1957, 15pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, University of Florida Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity Breakfast, Gainesville, Florida, “Labor Racketeering,” October 19, 1957, 18pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Annual Freedom Award to the Hungarian Freedom Fighters, New York, New York, “Foreign Policy; Hungary,” October 23, 1957, 9pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Associated Industries of Massachusetts Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, “Labor Racketeering,” October 24, 1957, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy upon Receipt of Yeshiva University’s Charter Day Award of 1957, New York, New York, “Tribute to James J. Lyons; Background of Yeshiva University,” October 27, 1957, 8pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Democratic City Committee Annual Pre-Election Dinner, Easton, Pennsylvania, “The Democratic Party; Leadership in Foreign Affairs,” October 30, 1957, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, AFL-CIO Industrial Union Department Second Constitutional Convention, Washington, D.C., “Labor Legislation,” October 31,1957, 25pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Oklahoma, “Farm Policy,” November 1957, 7pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Howard Crawley Memorial Lecture, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “The New Dimensions of American Foreign Policy.” November 1, 1957, 20pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Kansas Democratic Club Banquet, Topeka, Kansas, “The Democratic Party,” November 6, 1957, 3pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Oklahoma Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, “Science and Security,” November 7, 1957, 12pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, University of Kansas Convocation, Lawrence, Kansas, “Careers in Politics,” November 7, 1957, 10pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Young Democratic Clubs of America Convention, Reno, Nevada, “The Democratic Party,” November 1957, 10pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, American Jewish Congress National Congress Week, New York, New York, “U.S. Domestic Problems,” November 17, 1957, 16pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy before the Florida League of Municipalities, Daytona Beach, Florida, “Urban Politics; Labor Racketeering,” November 18, 1957, 18pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Temple Emmanuel, New York, New York, “Foreign Policy,” November 19, 1957, 9pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, Texas State Teachers Association Convention, Dallas, Texas, “American Education,” November 28, 1957, 14pp.
Address of Senator Kennedy, National Conference of Christians and Jews Dinner, Chicago, Illinois, “Foreign Policy,” December 3, 1957, 14pp.
Profile view of the JFK statue in downtown Fort Worth, Texas – installed in 2012 to commemorate the President’s visit there on November 22, 1963.
On the fateful day of November 22nd, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy (JFK) was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, some may not know that JFK also visited another Texas city earlier that same day – Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth is the twin city of Dallas, commonly known today as the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. But in 1963, Fort Worth would become the place where John F. Kennedy made his last two speeches.
The president had come to Texas as part of some early politicking for his planned 1964 re-election bid – Texas being a key state in the electoral math. Kennedy was then making a larger tour of western states, sounding out some possible campaign themes, including education, conservation, and national defense, among others. But in Texas at that time there was also a bit of a rift in the Democratic party. And JFK’s civil rights and foreign affairs policies were also not popular among Texas conservatives. A month earlier in Dallas, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, had been roughed up by a crowd after making a speech there. So Kennedy had come to Texas, in part, to do some fence-mending and also to gin up popular support for his party prior to 1964.
Map shows JFK’s 2-day Nov `63 itinerary: San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, then back to D.C.
On the Texas trip – which had scheduled stops in five cities over two days – JFK was accompanied by his wife, Jackie, who was making her first public appearance since the August 9th death of their two-day-old baby, Patrick. The first stops on the trip were San Antonio and Houston on November 21st, 1963, where the president made a series of speeches. They then came to Fort Worth later that night. After a scheduled speech in Fort Worth the next morning, November 22nd, the president and his party would then take a short flight to Dallas for the day, then to Austin, the final stop. Following the Austin visit, they were scheduled to fly home that night to Washington, D.C. But the tragic events in Dallas that day intervened.
After their first two visits on November 21st, the Kennedys arrived at Ft. Worth’s Carswell Air Force Base at 11 pm. Despite the late hour, cheering crowds greeted them at the airport and all along their route to downtown Fort Worth, where the Kennedys would spend the night at the Texas Hotel. Local art patrons, knowing JFK and Jackie were both art lovers, assembled a sampling of art pieces from Fort Worth collectors and installed what amounted to a private exhibit in the President’s hotel suite. Sixteen original pieces of modern art and sculpture were installed, including works by Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso and others. A special catalog, “An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. Kennedy,”listed the details on each piece and their owners.
The next morning, The Star-Telegram ran the front-page banner headline: “Welcome, Mr. President!” with sub-heads: “JFK Lands Amid Roar of Cheers” and “Crowd Lines Route to Town; 10,000 Welcome President.” That morning, the president was scheduled to speak at a breakfast gathering of civic leaders of the Forth Worth Chamber of Commerce. Despite an earlier rain and misty conditions, a huge crowd of Texans had gathered outside the hotel hoping to get a glimpse of the President. Against the advice of Secret Service, an impromptu speech was hastily arranged in the parking lot outside across the street from the Texas Hotel, using a truck bed for a speaker’s platform. Congressman Jim Wright of Texas, traveling with the president that day, had previously been pushing the White House to allow a short public speech in Fort Worth in addition to the President’s scheduled Chamber of Commerce speech later that morning.
Fort Worth, Texas: At approximately 8:45a.m. on the morning of November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a short speech to thousands of Texans in downtown Fort Worth prior to his formal speech inside the Texas Hotel before the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Rep. Jim Wright is standing just beyond JFK.
Fort Worth: 1963
On his Texas trip, the president was traveling with a group of Texas dignitaries that included, in addition to Congressman Wright: Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Texas Governor John Connally, U.S. Sen. Ralph W. Yarborough, Texas state senator Don Kennard, and others. These officials appear in the Fort Worth photo above and some of the other photos of the same speech below. The president was quite encouraged by the large crowd that turned out that morning, and he thanked them for coming out in what had been a rainy morning.
Nov 1963: JFK with Rep. Jim Wright in Fort Worth, Texas.
President John F. Kennedy addressing Fort Worth ,TX crowd on the morning of November 22, 1963 outside Hotel Texas.
JFK looking out over crowd and downtown Fort Worth, Texas during speech on the morning of November 22, 1963.
JFK in Fort Worth with Sen. Ralph Yarborough, Gov. John Connally and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson behind him.
After his Fort Worth speech, JFK plunged into the crowd.
At about 8:45 a.m., President Kennedy, with Congressman Jim Wright at his side, strode out of the hotel, also flanked by Vice President Johnson and Senator Ralph Yarborough, with Governor Connally a few steps behind. Johnson, Yarborough and Connally all wore raincoats, as the skies were still overcast. Kennedy and Wright were in their suit coats. Jackie Kennedy had remained behind in the hotel suite.
“There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth,” President Kennedy began when he mounted the platform, “and I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it. . . . We appreciate your welcome.” Then he continued with the rest of his speech, which follows:
“. . .This city’s been a great western city, the defense of the west, cattle, oil, and all the rest. It has believed in strength in this city, and strength in this state, and strength in this country.”
“What we’re trying to do in this country and what we’re trying to do around the world, I believe, is quite simple. And that is to build a military structure which will defend the vital interests of the United States. And in that great cause, Fort Worth – as it did in World War II, as it did in developing the best bomber system in the world, the B-58, and as it will now do in developing the best fighter system in the world, the TFX – Fort Worth will play its proper part.”
“And that is why we have placed so much emphasis in the last three years in building a defense system second to none. Until now the United States is stronger than it’s ever been in its history.”
“And secondly, we believe that the new environment – space, the new sea – is also an area where the United States should be second to none… And this state of Texas, and the United States, is now engaged in the most concentrated effort in history to provide leadership in this area, as it must here on Earth. And this is our 2nd great effort, and next December, next month, the United States will fire the largest booster in the history of the world, putting us ahead of the Soviet Union in that area, for the first time in our history.”
“And thirdly, for the United States to fulfill its obligations around the world, requires that the United States move forward economically; that the people of this country participate in rising prosperity… And it is a fact in 1962, and the first six months of 1963, the economy of the United States grew, not only faster than nearly every Western country – which had not been true in the 50’s – but also grew faster than the Soviet Union itself.”
“That’s the kind of strength the United States needs – economically, in space, militarily. And in the final analysis, that strength depends on the willingness of the citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership. I know one place where they are – here in this rain, in Fort Worth, in Texas, in the United States, we’re going forward. Thank you.”
Kennedy received rousing cheers and prolonged applause throughout this speech, and was generally greeted enthusiastically by the large crowd. He then plunged into the crowd for a time, shaking hands and thanking folks for coming out.
President Kennedy greeting citizens of Fort Worth, Texas who just heard him make a brief speech in front of the Hotel Texas on the morning of November 22, 1963. Photo by White House photographer, Cecil Stoughton.
Next it was on to a more formal speech inside the Hotel Texas addressing an audience of about 2,000 civic, business, and labor leaders at a breakfast meeting of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Tickets for this event had vanished well in advance of Kennedy’s appearance, as demand for tickets had outstripped the capacity of the hotel’s ballroom. Among the political and business leaders in the room that morning were Vice President Johnson, Governor Connally, U.S. Senator Yarborough, and Rep. Jim Wright. Also attending were: Byron Tunnell, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives; Waggorier Cart, Texas Attorney General; Raymond Buck, president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce; and Marion Hicks, a vice president of General Dynamics in Fort Worth and also vice president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.
Jackie Kennedy, center, in light suit behind agent, making her entrance at the Hotel Texas to join JFK at the head table.
Jackie Kennedy at the head table between JFK and Lyndon Johnson, left, and official of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, at the podium.
President Kennedy during his speech to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce at the Hotel Texas, Nov. 22, 1963.
As the guests at the head table were taking their seats, JFK, according to Jeb Byrne, Kennedy’s advance coordinator for the Fort Worth visit, called one of the Secret Service agents over to the head table and told him to ask Mrs. Kennedy to come down to the ballroom. He also instructed the agent to ask the orchestra to play “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” when she made her entrance into the ballroom.
Jackie arrived, escorted by two agents, and she was dressed in a striking pink suit and matching pillbox hat – an outfit that would later become a painful symbol of one of the nation’s most horrible days. But at this moment, Jackie Kennedy was the center of attention and received a rousing welcome and audience ovation as she joined JFK at the head table.
After the perfunctory political “thank yous” and acknowledgments of local leaders, the president began his speech by praising his wife’s greater aura: “Two years ago, I introduced myself in Paris by saying that I was the man who had accompanied Mrs. Kennedy to Paris. I am getting somewhat the same sensation as I travel around Texas. …Nobody wonders what Lyndon and I wear.”
In his prepared remarks, Kennedy expanded on themes he had touched on earlier in his outdoor speech. Again, he touted Fort Worth’s contribution to national defense with its World War II bombers, combat helicopters, and a current project, the TFX aircraft. The focus was military preparedness and U.S. leadership. “We are still the keystone in the arch of freedom,” he said. “We will continue to do… our duty, and the people of Texas will be in the lead.”
It was a speech written for a Texas Chamber of Commerce audience, and they loved it. Following the speech, the President and Mrs. Kennedy walked down the main aisle shaking hands and engaging members of the audience for a few minutes before Secret Service agents guided them on a security-cleared route back to their hotel suite. There, with some time to catch their breath before departing for Dallas, the president made a few telephone calls, one to former Vice President, John Nance Garner, at his home in Ulvade, Texas, to wish him a happy 95th birthday. Garner had served as vice president in FDR’s first two terms in the 1930s. The Kennedys also took some time to view the original art works adorning their suite, placing a call to one of the of exhibit’s organizers, Ruth Carter Johnson, to thank her for her thoughtfulness.
Front page of the New York Times on November 23, 1963 includes photo of LBJ being sworn on Air Force One in with Mrs. Kennedy beside him.
The presidential party then left the hotel by motorcade to Carswell Air Force Base for the 13-minute flight to Dallas. A short time later, the national horror of a presidential assassination would plunge the nation into a period of shocked disbelief and prolonged national mourning, as assassin Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president while he was riding in an open limousine along with Jackie and Governor Connally.
Arriving at Love Field in Dallas that morning, the President and Mrs. Kennedy engaged in some brief welcoming activities before entering their limousine. The JFK motorcade proceeded along a 10-mile route through downtown Dallas on its way to the Trade Mart, where the President was to speak at a luncheon. At approximately 12:30 p.m., the President was struck by two bullets. Shortly thereafter, at about 1:00 p.m., he was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital. Lyndon Johnson was sworn in on Air Force One with Mrs. Kennedy beside him in her blood-stained pink outfit that only hours earlier had dazzled a Fort Worth breakfast audience. After that tragic day, America would never be quite the same, as a measure of innocence was lost with the President’s assassination. John F. Kennedy was 46 years old.
The Texas Statue
Earlier artist’s rendition of the JFK Tribute Site in downtown Fort Worth, Texas at General Worth Square Park.
JFK Tribute site in Fort Worth, TX as of November 2012.
Closer view of the JFK statue in Fort Worth, TX, with one of the large background photos from JFK’s 1963 visit.
After JFK’s assassination, cities and towns across the country sought ways to honor the fallen president, and a number of place-name designations followed bearing the JFK or Kennedy moniker. Schools, streets, parks, airports, public buildings and more were named for the fallen president. In Fort Worth, too, an effort to memorialize Kennedy began in early 1964, when a group of local women pushed to have the city acquire the parking lot where Kennedy spoke, name it for him, and turn it into a public square. However, that effort failed, but the women tried again after a local bond issue passed to build a new convention center downtown. This time some 10,000 signatures were gathered for a petition seeking to name the new convention center after JFK. The county commissioners rejected that idea too, but they later agreed to name the theater inside the convention center for Kennedy, installing a small bronze plaque near the box office with the title, The John F. Kennedy Theater. By the year 2000, however, that theater was razed in the construction for an expanded convention center. Meanwhile, the parking lot where Kennedy had given his November 1963 speech was turned into a public square, named for the city’s fortifier and founder, General William Jenkins Worth.
In 1999, plans were begun to include a Kennedy memorial on that site under the direction of the JFK Tribute Committee of Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives Inc. By 2001, Texas sculptor Lawrence Ludtke had created an eight foot statue of JFK, which was cast in bronze in 2009. In that same year, the Fort Worth City Council authorized an agreement with Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives Inc., for improvements to General Worth Square Park, including the JFK Tribute site, approving $250,000 in spending.
In January 2011, Taylor and Shirlee Gandy, co-chairs of the JFK Tribute Committee, with the backing of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., started a $2 million public fundraising effort. Dozens of prominent residents, foundations, and trusts contributed to the project, among them: the Gandys, Bob and Janice Simpson, Downtown Fort Worth Inc., the Martha Sue Parr Trust, the Jane and John Justin Foundation, Tarrant Co. Commissioners Court, and the Ann L. and Carol Greene Rhodes Charitable Trust.
The tribute site was dedicated at a public ceremony in November 2012. The site is centered on the JFK statue and includes a 2,000 square foot granite plaza backed by large wall with 6-ft. x 8-ft. photographic panels depicting scenes from 1963, along with other panels with selected historic quotes. The JFK site also includes a water wall, night lighting, and extensive landscaping. Audio tours of the site are available as are downloadable transcripts of JFK’s 1963 Fort Worth speeches by mobile app or from the JFK Tribute website.
The Ludtke treatment of Kennedy in the statue presents the president in a gesturing, positive mode. “His posture is pressing forward,” explained Andy Taft, the president of Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, “and Ludtke considered that a very optimistic pose for the president – moving forward, pressing with optimism into the future.” The Tribute site seeks to honor the positive ideals and themes of JFK’s final speeches. That is consistent with JFK’s message that day in his Forth Worth speeches, as he spoke about the importance of a strong U.S. economy, the space program, military preparedness, and U.S. leadership.
At the November 2012 ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony, a number of Texas politicians and local officials were on hand to lend their support for the site, including Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, former House Speaker Jim Wright, former Fort Worth Mayor Bob Bolen, and various Fort Worth City Council members. The JFK Tribute site exists, according to the Tribute Committee, to honor the positive ideals and themes of the President’s historic final speeches. “President Kennedy’s vision and the impact of his leadership are as relevant today as they were in 1963,” said Taylor Gandy, JFK Tribute Co-Chair at the site’s dedication. The tribute is also about Fort Worth and its people, then and now.
“This isn’t about the tragedy in Dallas,” explained Mayor Betsy Price during the dedication ceremony. “This is about the [Kennedy] welcome here. . . . Fort Worth’s story has been almost forgotten.” But now, thanks to the persistence and generosity of Fort Worth citizens, both Kennedy’s ideals and Fort Worth’s enthusiasm for a nation’s young president are set in a worthy public display.
For additional stories at this website on Politics & Culture, or Icons & Celebrities, please visit those category pages, or go to the Home Page for other choices. Additional stories at this website related to Kennedy family history are listed below in Sources. Thanks for visiting — and please consider supporting this website. Thank you. - Jack Doyle
Rat Pack members without Joey Bishop, from left: Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Dean Martin. Photo, Life magazine, 1960.
“The Jack Pack” was the name briefly attributed to a famous group of 1960s entertainers who supported U.S. Senator John F. “Jack” Kennedy (JFK) in his 1960 run for president. “The Jack Pack” moniker was actually a variant of “The Rat Pack,” a nickname for a coterie of Hollywood stars and Las Vegas entertainers that included: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. In 1960, this group was temporarily dubbed “the Jack Pack” by Sinatra when they worked in various ways to support Kennedy’s election bid. Kennedy had socialized with Sinatra and the group on occasion and liked the camaraderie, which later turned to political and financial support on his behalf.
What follows here is Part 1 of a two-part story featuring “Jack Pack” history, primarily with Frank Sinatra at the center. Part 1 covers Sinatra’s politics, the Rat Pack scene in Las Vegas, and some of the group’s friends during Kennedy’s presidential run – mostly from 1958 through Kennedy’s election in November 1960. Part 2 of the story picks up at JFK’s presidential inauguration in January 1961, covering selected Sinatra, Rat Pack, and Kennedy Administration history through JFK’s assassination in November 1963 – plus a few related outcomes beyond those years. First, some background on the Rat Pack.
In the late 1940s, film star Humphrey Bogart had a loyal group of friends and drinking buddies in an area of Los Angeles known as Holmby Hills. Then Hollywood rookie, Frank Sinatra, who had moved his family into that area in 1949, became a nearby neighbor to Bogart, and then a member of his group. Legend has it that Bogart’s wife and film star Lauren Bacall, saw the drunken crew of friends all together one night at a casino and remarked that they looked like a “rat pack.”
Life magazine “rat pack” photo, from left: Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, and Dean Martin.
Sometime after Bogart passed on in 1957, Sinatra established his own inner group of cavorting buddies, all from Hollywood and the world of enter- tainment. Sinatra’s “Rat Pack” – not initially called that at first – came about gradually from their work in Las Vegas and their Hollywood contacts. The late-1950s-early-1960s “Rat Pack” era appears to have begun in Las Vegas in January 1959 when Sinatra and Dean Martin – then performing separately at The Sands lounge and casino – began appearing in each other’s acts. Sinatra knew Joey Bishop from the early 1950s on the east coast, when Bishop performed at the Latin Quarter in Manhattan. He later asked Bishop to open for him at Bill Miller’s Riviera club in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and soon thereafter Bishop was regularly opening for Sinatra, becoming known as “Sinatra’s comic.” Bishop also began appearing in first-rate clubs even when Sinatra was not on the bill.
Dean Martin, Sammy Davis & Frank Sinatra having a good time.
Sinatra was singing with Tommy Dosey’s band in 1941 when he first met Sammy Davis, Jr., then an aspiring dancer with the Will Mastin Trio. They reconnected some time later after Sammy was discharged from the U.S. Army, and Sinatra would later help Davis in his career. Peter Lawford and Sinatra had worked in a few films together in the 1940s, but Sinatra came to know him much better as Jack Kennedy’s brother-in-law. More on that relationship a bit later.
By the early 1960s in any case, the Rat Pack became known for its multiple-person stage acts – with all five of the principals on stage together, plus others occasionally. The Sands, in fact, would sometimes advertise the horseplay on its outdoor marquee with billings such as: “Dean Martin – Maybe Frank – Maybe Sammy.” Others from Hollywood and the entertainment world would also occasionally appear and/or hang out with the Rat Pack group. Shirley MacLaine, for example who starred with Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1959′s Some Came Running, would also become a Rat Pack “associate” from time to time.
Dean Martin on stage at the Sands in Las Vegas, where Rat Pack performances drew large crowds of celebrities & VIPs from Hollywood and elsewhere.
The core group of the Rat Pack, however – consisting of Sinatra and his co-performing buddies – basically set up shop in Las Vegas during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Las Vegas at the time was still growing, and the Rat Pack helped bring in the notice, the visitors, and the money. The Rat Pack’s nightclub act evolved into an entertaining and popular song, dance and comedy act with a lot of cutting up on stage, a rolling bar of alcoholic beverages, along with a measure of social commentary thrown in from time to time.
The Rat Pack “schtick” was part Vaudeville, part Hollywood, and part “bad boys.” It became a unique stage genre and vintage Las Vegas. But it only lasted a few years before it burned out and was eclipsed by a fast-changing cultural scene. In its day, however, the Rat Pack did the trick and fit the national mood. Musically and culturally, it occupied the transition period between the first surge of rock `n roll in the 1950s by the likes of Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Buddy Holly – music which Sinatra initially derided – and the arrival of the Beatles in 1964.
Rat Pack stage act with rolling beverage cart, early 1960s.
In addition to their stage act, the Rat Pack compadres also made films together – some shot in Las Vegas. Ocean’s Eleven of 1960 was among the more famous of the Rat Pack films, but there were also nearly a dozen others. Through the early-1960s period, Sinatra and his Rat Pack group reigned supreme in contemporary culture; they became the “cool guys” of their generation, bringing a good share of business to both the Las Vegas nightclub scene and Hollywood’s box office. Their network of contacts, friends, and business partners ranged across Hollywood, Vegas, and beyond, including some underworld figures like Sam Giancana of Chicago and also various Hollywood stars such as Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh, Angie Dickinson, and others.
Rat Pack film, "Sergeants 3," 1962.
The “Rat Pack network” of that era could also be a potent fundraising and vote-getting machine, a fact not lost on Kennedy family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, an old hand when it came to Hollywood stars and the film business. The Rat Pack in 1960 became intertwined with the Kennedy family – especially by way of Peter Lawford’s marriage to Jack Kennedy’s sister, Patricia.
However, for some Rat Packers like Dean Martin, politics was a bit of a side show, not to be taken too seriously. Martin, in fact, had met and caroused with a young Congressman Jack Kennedy in Chicago one night 1948 when he and Jerry Lewis were working as a comedy team at the Chez Paree club – a meeting that left “Dino” unimpressed.
But in 1960, Jack Kennedy and politics became very central to Rat Pack leader, Frank Sinatra.
Frank Sinatra with then-U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy outside of The Sands hotel in Las Vegas, NV, Feb 1960, when Kennedy stayed there during a campaign swing.
Frank Sinatra, from his days as a young boy growing up in New Jersey, had been involved in politics by proximity if nothing else. His mother had worked as a Democratic Party committee woman in New Jersey, and as a boy he marched in political parades. But once he became famous as a young singer in the 1940s and caught the national limelight, politicians soon noticed and sought him out. In 1944 he received an invitation to the White House from Franklin Roosevelt, then in his third term. At the time, Roosevelt was under fire from conservatives in the press, especially the Hearst newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst. Sinatra, too, had also received some unflattering ink from the Hearst papers. At his meeting with FDR, the two shared stories with Sinatra giving the president some insight on the music business. But Sinatra was awe struck by the White House attention and couldn’t believe how far he’d come. Roosevelt, he told the press, was “the greatest guy alive today, and here’s this little guy from Hoboken shaking his hand.”
Sheet music cover for song “The House I Live In,” from the RKO short film of the same name starring Frank Sinatra, 1940s. Chappell & Company (1942).
Sinatra supported FDR and contributed to the Democratic Party. He also appeared at the party’s rally at Madison Square Garden that campaign season. He would also become a close friend to Eleanor Roosevelt and years later would invite her to appear on his television show. Sinatra was also active in certain causes, particularly fighting racism and segregation. In 1945, he appeared in, produced, and won an Oscar for the 1945 short film and song, The House I Live In – a plea for ethnic and religious tolerance. In the film role, Sinatra intercedes to protect a Jewish kid being attacked by a gang of bullies. Sinatra appeals to them through the lyrics of the film’s song: “The faces that I see / All races and religions / That’s America to me.” This short film was scripted by Albert Maltz, a person who would later come into Sinatra’s life when he became involved with Jack Kennedy. Sinatra would sing “The House I Live In” on various occasions during his career, and sometimes at political gatherings, as he did at a 1956 Democratic party rally in Hollywood. Sinatra would also put his career at risk at times when he refused to play clubs and hotels that discriminated against blacks. Actress Angie Dickinson, who sometimes cavorted with the Rat Pack, would later call Sinatra, “a very powerful, subtle force in civil rights…[and] not only in Las Vegas.”
Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner at Los Angeles political rally for presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, 1955.
After World War II, Sinatra became publicly associated with left-wing groups and supported organizations that were later identified by Congress as Communist front groups during inquiries by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Though Sinatra was named in some committee documents, he was never brought before HUAC. The Hearst newspapers, however, gave him a rough time over his left-wing involvements. Sinatra’s career, however, like others in Hollywood at the time, suffered. According to one account, Columbia records asked Sinatra to return advance money and MGM released him from a film contract. He was also dropped from his radio show. But Sinatra remained politically involved.
Frank Sinatra with former President Harry Truman (center) and toastmaster George Jessel in November 1957 at Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner and fundraiser, Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles.
In 1947, he urged former FDR vice president Henry Wallace to run for President, which Wallace did as a Progressive Party candidate. But in 1948, Sinatra also campaigned for the re-election of FDR successor, Harry S. Truman. In 1952 and 1956, he supported the unsuccessful presidential bids of Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson. He campaigned for Stevenson in 1956, also the year he came into contact with the Kennedy family for the first time. At the 1956 Democratic convention he sang the National Anthem, but remained at the convention to observe some of the politicking that occurred after Adlai Stevenson had thrown open the vice presidential nomination to the full convention. A young new Senator, John F. Kennedy, was making a run for that spot. Kennedy lost to Senator Estes Kefauver, but Sinatra had watched the Kennedy machine in operation on the convention floor. From that point on Sinatra took an interest in the rising young senator he believed was heading places. But it was British actor Peter Lawford, a subsequent “rat pack” member, who would help Sinatra become much closer to Kennedy and the Kennedy family.
Patricia Kennedy Lawford and Peter Lawford, 1960s.
Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford had known each other from working in Hollywood, dating to the 1947 musical comedy film, It Happened in Brooklyn, in which they both appeared. But their paths crossed again in the early 1950s under somewhat less cordial circumstances. Sinatra had been angered by a 1953 gossip column account of Lawford’s meeting with Ava Gardner, who Frank had recently broken up with. Some bad blood reportedly flowed between the two over the incident. Sinatra later discovered he’d overreacted to the Ava Gardner story, and he and Lawford more or less went their separate ways. Lawford, meanwhile, married Patricia Kennedy in 1954, the sister of then U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy.
In August 1958, at a dinner party at Gary Cooper’s home, Sinatra came to know Peter and Pat Kennedy Lawford somewhat better. By New Year’s Eve 1958, the Lawfords were celebrating at a private party with Sinatra at Romanoff’s in Beverly Hills, a popular spot with Hollywood stars.The Lawfords soon had a regular bedroom at Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs place, where they made frequent visits. They were all together that night, seated at Sinatra’s table with Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. In July 1959, the same group would return to Romanoff’s along with Dean Martin and others at a Sinatra-sponsored 21st birthday party for Natalie Wood. The friendship between Sinatra and Lawfords grew to the point where the Lawfords frequently visited Sinatra’s Palm Springs estate, making the 120-mile drive there from Los Angeles on many weekends. In fact, the Lawfords had a regular bedroom at Sinatra’s place where they kept clothing for return visits. Sinatra and the Lawfords also traveled to Europe together on vacation. Pat Lawford was so charmed by Sinatra she middle-named her daughter “Frances.” Sinatra also helped Peter Lawford land film work in Hollywood, including a role in the 1959 film Never So Few. The two men also became partners in a Beverly Hills restaurant named Puccini’s and Lawford soon became a full-time member of Sinatra’s Rat Pack in Las Vegas.
Frank & Jack
Kennedy’s dramatic bid for the VP slot at the 1956 at the Democratic Convention – and his charisma – had been seen by millions of TV viewers.
Some sources date Frank Sinatra’s first meeting with Jack Kennedy to 1955 when Kennedy attended a Democratic Party rally where Sinatra had also appeared. And in 1956, as mentioned earlier, Sinatra was quite taken with what he saw in the young Kennedy seeking the VP slot at the Democratic convention that year. But through the Lawfords, Sinatra came to know Jack Kennedy more on a personal level. The Lawfords owned a large beach front house in Malibu – the former mansion of Hollywood mogul Louis B. Mayer – a place, it would turn out, where “rat packers,’ Kennedy campaigners, and other political and Hollywood “glitterati” would gather occasionally for parties and other events.
Jack Kennedy and Sinatra appear to have spent time together in the summer of 1958, whether at the Lawfords or elsewhere. Some sources have Sinatra endorsing Kennedy for president as early as October 1958, though Kennedy was more than a year away from formally announcing his candidacy at that point.Sinatra visited Kennedy at his Mayflower Hotel “hide away” suite in D.C., and Kennedy, when traveling in the U.S. West, would sometimes visit Sinatra. Sinatra was also quoted in the press about that time calling the young Senator “a friend of mine.” Meanwhile, on trips east, Sinatra would sometimes visit Kennedy in Washington, D.C. at a “hide-away” suite that Kennedy kept at the Mayflower Hotel where he would have dinner parties for celebrities and private guests. Likewise, Kennedy, when traveling west on political business, would sometimes visit Sinatra. In early November 1959, after a Democratic fundraiser in Los Angeles, JFK and his aide Dave Powers were Sinatra’s guests at his Palm Springs estate for a couple of nights. On that visit, before coming to Palm Springs, Sinatra and JFK had earlier attended a Democratic Party fundraiser in Los Angeles and had dined at Pucinni’s restaurant in Beverly Hills – the restaurant owned by Sinatra and Peter Lawford. Kennedy and Powers stayed at Sinatra’s Palm Springs house for two nights on that visit. Reportedly, after Kennedy’s stay there, Sinatra began calling the room JFK had used “the Kennedy room” and later had a nameplate put on the door noting “John F. Kennedy Slept Here.” JFK’s father — clan patriarch and former Ambassador, Joseph P. Kennedy — also stayed at Sinatra’s place on at least one occasion during 1959-1960. But JFK at this point, in late 1959, was a recently re-elected U.S. Senator, not yet a formal presidential candidate.
JFK announcing his presidential bid, U.S. Senate Caucus room, January 2, 1960.
On Saturday, January 2, 1960 at the Senate Caucus room in Washington, D.C., Kennedy officially announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. Kennedy had already been campaigning, of course, meeting with party officials and traveling the country. But after his formal announcement, and a January 14th speech at the National Press Club in Washington, Kennedy’s campaign would begin to target primary election states and other locations where he needed to improve his standing. One early campaign stop Kennedy made was in New Hampshire, where the first primary election would be held in March.
On Monday, January 25, 1960, Kennedy and wife Jackie, visited Nashua, New Hampshire, one of the state’s larger towns. On that wintry afternoon, Kennedy walked down Main Street by himself and went into several local stores, shaking hands as he went. One of the shop owners gave Kennedy a pair of golashes to wear, as it was pretty slushy in the streets that day. It was a different era in primary politics then, as Kennedy had no entourage of body guards and handlers. Local folks were meeting him face to face. At one point, as he rounded the corner of Main and West Pearl streets in Nashua, continuing to shake hands, he made he way to one of the town’s downtown landmarks, Miller’s Department Store. At about that point he was joined by his wife, Jackie, and put his arm around her and they continued down the street, arm-in-arm.
Kennedy headlines from Nashua, New Hampshire, January 1960.
There was a rally that day at the Nashua City Hall Plaza, with participants in winter coats holding Kennedy placards as the candidate told the crowd he was running for president. Kennedy would also meet and be photographed with City Hall employees that day, and give a talk at the local Roatary Club as well. The next day in The Nashua Telegraph newspaper, the Kennedy visit was front-page news, as would be the case in other towns and cities as Kennedy campaigned that year for his party’s nomination. “Crowds Out To See Kennedy,” said the headline. And from that point on, it was regular campaigning, sometime with his wife Jackie along, and/or other members of the Kennedy clan.
The Sands marquee at night during 1960 highlighting the Rat Pack group.
Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, meanwhile, began filming the original Ocean’s Eleven movie, a film about a plot to rob several Las Vegas casinos. While filming, Rat Pack members would also perform in the Copa Room at The Sands, doing two or more stage shows each night and sometimes partying with friends thereafter into the wee hours. One famous run of their show – from January 26 through February 16, 1960 – was billed the “Summit at the Sands,” a title that played on an international summit meeting in Paris at the time between President Dwight Eisenhower, Russia’s Nikita Khrushchev, and French President Charles De Gaulle. The Rat Pack “summit” was an “anything goes” stage act of song, dance, and cutting up that became quite popular.
The Sands act with Sinatra and his Rat Pack drew high-rolling and well-known Hollywood royalty – actors, actresses, and producers such as: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Kim Novak, Jack Benny, Cole Porter, Red Skelton, Lauren Bacall, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Gregory Peck, Cyd Charisse, Peter Lorre, and others. Sinatra, who had been singing at The Sands since 1953, already had a Hollywood following. “He drew all the big money people,” Las Vegas lounge singer Sonny King would later say of Sinatra. “Every celebrity in Hollywood would come to Las Vegas to see him, one night or another.” Sinatra and the Rat Pack, in fact, are given credit in some quarters for putting Las Vegas on the “big time” entertainment map, and helping spawn the frenetic economic growth and building boom that occurred there through the 1960s and beyond. At one point in February 1960 – at the height of the Rat Pack’s “Summit” shows – the Sands had received eighteen thousand reservation requests for its two hundred rooms.
JFK meeting Rat Pack members & others outside the Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, Feb 1960. From left, clockwise: film director Lewis Milestone (back turned) Dean Martin left of Milestone, shaking hands with JFK, Buddy Lester, Joey Bishop center, Sammy Davis, Jr., partially hidden by Kennedy's arm, Kennedy, and Frank Sinatra.
In early 1960, one of Jack Kennedy’s part-campaign/ part-recreation visits was to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he would hook up with his friend, Frank Sinatra. On Sunday, February 7, 1960, the candidate and his entourage – including a young Ted Kennedy, then Western states coordinator for the campaign – were stumping through the American West for political support and fundraising before the big eastern primaries were to begin. They set up shop in the Sands Hotel, holding press conferences there and fundraisers, but also taking in the stage shows of Frank Sinatra and friends during their stay. Whenever Jack Kennedy came to a show, he was usually seated up front near the stage. And Sinatra, at some point during the act, would single him out for recognition. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he would say with microphone in hand, gesturing toward Kennedy, “Senator John F. Kennedy from the great state of Massachusetts, the next President of the United States.” Sinatra would often add laudatory lines, calling him “one of the brightest persons here or anywhere…” Kennedy would rise briefly to a standing ovation from the audience.
Judith Campbell, in earlier photo, who was in her late 20s when she first met John F. Kennedy.
There were also a few private gatherings at the Sands between the Kennedy campaign group, Sinatra’s Rat Pack group, and various Sinatra friends during JFK’s February visit. On the evening of February 7, 1960, they gathered for dinner at Frank Sinatra’s table in the Garden Room. Among Sinatra’s guests that evening was a woman in her late 20s named Judith Campbell, who was introduced to Senator Kennedy and his entourage. Campbell was formerly married to actor William Campbell, and for a time had been seeing Frank Sinatra. Campbell joined the group and sat next to Ted Kennedy. Jack Kennedy sat directly across from her. Campbell would later recall Teddy as a rosy-cheeked young man, “who was very good looking” and a great teaser, with “eyes that never stopped flirting.” But Campbell, according to her own later account of that evening, was more taken with the charm, sophistication, and “plain likability” of Jack Kennedy. The following day, Jack Kennedy invited Judith Campbell for lunch on the patio of Frank Sinatra’s suite at the Sands. Kennedy would later rendevous with Judith Campbell in New York in early March prior to the New Hampshire primary.
Years later, there would be all manner of reports and allegations about Kennedy meetings with Campbell and other women, some of whom were introduced to Kennedy by Frank Sinatra and/or Peter Lawford, including Marilyn Monroe.
Years later, there would be all manner of reports and allegations about Kennedy meetings with Campbell and other women, some of whom were introduced to Kennedy by Frank Sinatra and/or Peter Lawford, including Marilyn Monroe. FBI files would also include reports of showgirls visiting and/or partying with Kennedy and his entourage at the Sands in February 1960. Still other reports and books mention possible Kennedy-female liaisons at the Cal-Neva resort at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, a resort part owned by Sinatra and frequented by Rat Pack members and friends. Some reports also note an effort by the Kennedy campaign in 1960 to “clean things up” after the Sands visit (and possibly others) to collect all available photographs, etc., lest they become public. On the topic of JFK partying and female companions there is an extensive, but not always credible collection of books, magazine stories, and other sources found on-line and elsewhere.
JFK shaking hands with Jack Entratter, manager & entertainment chief at the Sands, February 1960.
But on Kennedy’s February 1960 swing West, and during his stay at The Sands, he did quite well by most accounts. Beyond the introduction to Campbell, Kennedy left the Sands, according to one account, with “satchels full of cash,” referring to fundraising gains made in part through Sinatra’s friends and connections, including the owners of the The Sands hotel and casino. Frank Sinatra by this time was well on board to help JFK win his party’s nomination and the national election beyond. He would work hard for Kennedy throughout 1960. And while Hollywood and politics had certainly mingled before, this was something of a new mixture between nationally-popular entertainment titans and a rising political star. Sinatra, in particular, pulled out all the stops for his new political friend, and apart from any personal advantage he stood to gain from the association, Sinatra appears to have sincerely believed that Jack Kennedy would be good for the country.
Record label for Kennedy campaign song, “High Hopes,” by Frank Sinatra, recorded, Feb 1960.
Among other things, Sinatra lent his voice to the Kennedy campaign. He refashioned one of his earlier songs for Kennedy campaign use – “High Hopes” – a song first popularized by Sinatra in the 1959 film, A Hole in the Head, a comedy directed by Frank Capra in which Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, Eleanor Parker, Keenan Wynn, and others appeared. The original song was written by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Sammy Cahn, who also helped to rework the new version for the Kennedy campaign. The original “High Hopes” had been a hit song, featured with a children’s choir and lyrics that described animals doing seemingly impossible acts. The song appeared on pop music charts of its day, was nominated for a Grammy, and also won an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 32nd Academy Awards – all of which made it a highly recognizable tune.
“High Hopes” JFK Version, 1:49
Everyone is voting for Jack.
‘Cause he’s got what all the rest lack.
Everyone wants to back, Jack.
Jack is on the right track.
‘Cause he’s got High Hopes!
He’s got High Hopes!
1960′s the year for his High Hopes!
Come on and vote for Kennedy.
Vote for Kennedy,
and we’ll come out on top!
Oops! There goes the opposition, ker…
Oops! There goes the opposition, ker…
Jack’s the nation’s favorite guy.
Everyone wants to back, Jack.
Jack is on the right track.
‘Cause he’s got High Hopes!
He’s got High Hopes!
1960′s the year for his High Hopes!
Come on and vote for Kennedy
Vote for Kennedy,
Keep America Strong
Kennedy, he just keeps rolling along
Kennedy, he just keeps rolling along
Kennedy, he just keeps rolling along
Vote for Kennedy !
_______________________ Listen to full song at JFK Library.
Sinatra recorded a special promotional 45rpm version of “High Hopes” in February 1960 for use on the campaign trail, throughout key primary states, and into the general election. This tune, with special “elect-Jack-Kennedy” lyrics, and backed by a chorus version of “all the way,” pretty much became the JFK campaign theme song. And while Frank Sinatra wasn’t always available to make personal appearances on behalf of Kennedy — though he did his share — his presence still permeated the campaign everywhere by way of this song.
And on some occasions, “High Hopes” received a little bit of extra help. Leading up to the West Virginia Democratic primary election in May, juke boxes in that state, which were controlled through an organized crime network, were updated with copies of the “High Hopes” recording.
Kennedy aides also went through the state paying tavern and restaurant owners a small stipend to assure that the new jukebox version of “High Hopes” was played frequently. Beyond West Virginia, the special recording was widely circulated and used during Kennedy’s election run, played at campaign rallies, on jukeboxes, and also heard in some TV ads. The Sinatra song for JFK was heard all across the country.
During the primary election season, however, Kennedy handlers became nervous about Sinatra and the Rat Pack becoming too overtly connected to the campaign, as Democratic rivals, including Hubert Humphrey and Lyndon Johnson, would try to cast those associations in a negative light. So, Sinatra and other Rat Packers did limited public campaigning for Kennedy during the primaries. And not long after the New Hampshire primary– in which Kennedy had won the state’s Democratic Party nomination on March 8, 1960 – there came some controversy with Frank Sinatra.
The Maltz Affair
1950, photo from film clip, Albert Maltz.
In February 1960, Sinatra planned to hire Albert Maltz to write the screenplay for a film he was making about an army deserter during WWII using the title, the Execution of Private Slovick. But Maltz was one of the famous “Hollywood Ten” – alleged communist party members who appeared before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in November 1947. Maltz was one of those jailed in 1951 for contempt of Congress, refusing to tell the committee whether he had ever been a member of communist organizations. When word of Sinatra’s plan to use Maltz was reported by the New York Times on March 12, 1960, the reaction, especially in some conservative corners, began to reach into Sinatra’s involvement with the Kennedy campaign. Sinatra fought back, claiming his critics were hitting “below the belt.” At one point he even took out an ad in the Hollywood trade papers saying he was his own man and could hire who ever he wanted. General Motors, however, then a giant economic power, had been lined up to sponsor some of Frank’s TV specials, and threatened to withdraw over the Maltz connection.
Frank Sinatra & Elvis Presley on Sinatra’s May 1960 “Welcome Home Elvis” TV special.
One of Sinatra’s planned TV specials at the time was to “welcome home” Elvis Presley, the young rock ’n roll star whose earlier U.S. Army enlistment was then ending. But Presley’s manger, Colonel Parker, also called Sinatra, saying Presley might have to pull out. Then the Catholic Church, including a Boston cardinal, began suggesting that if JFK were perceived as soft on communism, this might cost him some Catholic votes. With that, patriarch Joe Kennedy weighed in, telling Sinatra he felt the controversy would hurt Jack’s presidential bid. In early April 1960s, Sinatra finally agreed let Maltz go, but he paid him in full. Sinatra also had a bit of dust up with fellow Hollywood star and then Richard Nixon supporter John Wayne over the Maltz affair. Wayne and Sinatra had attended a benefit dinner at the Moulin Rouge club in Los Angeles later that spring, and they nearly came to blows over Maltz, according to one account. The incident arose over earlier negative comments Wayne had made about Kennedy and Sinatra’a hiring of Maltz. Wayne reportedly told a reporter, “I wonder how Sinatra’s crony, Senator John F. Kennedy, feels about Sinatra hiring such a man.” In any case, neither Kennedy nor Sinatra appeared mortally wounded by the Maltz affair. Sinatra, for his part, was then having a good run on broadcast television. His “Welcome Home Elvis” TV special – the final show in a series of four successful Sinatra TV specials – was broadcast in May 1960, and according to reports at the time it earned “massive viewing figures.” That special, and others that preceded it, also typically included other Rat Pack members, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and at the Elvis show, Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy.
Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy shown on Life magazine cover, March 28, 1960.
Kennedy, meanwhile, in March and April of 1960, was facing a formidable challenger in the Wisconsin Democratic Presidential primary, fellow U.S. Senator Hubert Humphrey, a popular liberal from Minnesota. The two senators had squared off in Wisconsin. Both men had campaigned extensively in the state. Kennedy used his family members and wife, Jackie, to help cover the state. Kennedy sisters Eunice, Jean and Pat were there, as were brothers Bobby and Ted. The March 28, 1960 edition of Life magazine did a feature piece on the two candidates spread over several pages with photos of their respective campaigns in the state. There was also a small photo of Frank Sinatra included in Life’s story with the caption “voice Sinatra,” referring to his Kennedy ”High Hopes” recording, but also mentioning that he did not appear in the state for Kennedy in person. On April 5, 1960, the day of the primary election, Kennedy emerged the victor, beating Humphrey by a count of 478,118 to 372,034. It was an important primary win for Kennedy. However, Kennedy’s margin of victory in Wisconsin had came mostly from heavily Catholic areas, and that left party bosses unconvinced of his appeal to non-Catholic voters. So the next primary state of West Virginia – a heavily Protestant state where Kennedy would also face Humphrey, but where anti-Catholic bigotry was said to be widespread – would be crucial.
Poster announcing April 26, 1960 campaign event with Senator John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, during West Virginia primary.
West Virginia turned out to be a critical state that Kennedy needed to win for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Without a primary win there, he faced the prospect of a brokered convention decided by Democratic Party bosses where competing candidates such as Lyndon B. Johnson, Adlai Stevenson, and/or Hubert Humphrey might do quite well. Initially, Kennedy thought he would not need to run in the West Virginia primary, as earlier polling in the state in 1958 had shown him to be well ahead of the likely Republican nominee, Richard Nixon. It also appeared there would be no Democratic challenger to run in the primary. But after Hubert Humphrey decided to run there, another Lou Harris Poll found Kennedy running well behind Humphrey. Kennedy’s Catholic religion also became a factor in West Virginia. But on May 8th, two days before the election, Kennedy’s campaign brought Franklin Roosevelt’s son into the state to help, and in a radio broadcast paid for by the campaign, FDR, Jr. asked JFK how his Catholicism would effect his presidency. Kennedy replied that taking the oath of office required swearing on the Bible that the president would defend separation of church and state. Any candidate that violated this oath, Kennedy said in the broadcast, not only violated the Constitution but “sinned against God.”Kennedy patriarch Joseph Kennedy reportedly asked Frank Sinatra to seek election help in West Virginia from Chicago mob leader Sam Giancana. Kennedy also framed the religion issue one of tolerance versus intolerance, and this in particular, helped put Humphrey on the defensive, since Humphrey had long prided himself a champion of tolerance. Kennedy defeated Hubert Humphrey in the West Virginia primary. In addition to Kennedy’s own deft maneuvering in that campaign, he reportedly also had other help.
Kennedy patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy reportedly asked Frank Sinatra to seek election help in West Virginia from Chicago mob leader Sam Giancana. Giancana allegedly helped spread cash around the state and also influenced certain unions to help get out the vote in the primary election. In any case, Kennedy defeated Hubert Humphrey in the West Virginia primary with more than 60 percent of the vote, helping dispel doubts that he could win in Protestant territory and that Americans would support a Roman Catholic nominee. It was Kennedy’s seventh victory in the primaries. On the following day, Humphrey conceded and withdrew from the presidential race. However, there were still other Democratic rivals who could challenge Kennedy at the convention. Chief among these was U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas.
U.S. Senator Lyndon Johnson would announce his candidacy in July 1960.
Later that summer, in the week before the Democratic National Convention, former U.S. President Harry S. Truman said at a July 2nd, 1960 news conference in Independence, Missouri, that John F. Kennedy lacked the maturity to be President, and that he should decline the nomination. Truman may have been trying to help some of the other Democratic candidates, such as Lyndon Johnson or Adlai Stevenson, who might fare better at a brokered convention. Truman also had tangled with Joseph P. Kennedy in his political past, so there may have been some bad blood there as well. But a few days after Truman made his remarks, Lyndon Johnson on July 5, 1960, announced that he would seek, and said he expected to win, the presidential nomination at the upcoming convention. Johnson asserted Kennedy had less than 600 of the required 701 delegates needed for a nomination. Johnson claimed he had at least 500. Adlai Stevenson, the party’s nominee in 1952 and 1956, had also announced his candidacy about a week before the convention. But Johnson was the bigger threat, and he challenged Kennedy to a TV debate which was apparently held during or leading up to the convention before a joint meeting of the Texas and Massachusetts delegations, and which most observers believed Kennedy won. After that, Johnson was not able to expand his delegate support beyond the South.
John F. Kennedy arriving at the Democratic National Convention on July 9, 1960, at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California.
As the Democratic National Convention opened in Los Angeles, California at the Sports Arena in July 1960, Frank Sinatra and friends helped fill a “big donors” fundraising dinner on Sunday evening, July 10th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Sinatra and Judy Garland performed that evening at the event. More than 2,800 guests attended, with a number of Hollywood attendees recruited by Sinatra, among them: Milton Berle, Tony Curtis, George Jessel, Janet Leigh, Shirley MacLaine, Joe E. Louis, Mort Sahl, and others. Then, as the convention got down to the business at hand, it was formally opened on Monday, July 11th, 1960. On stage, and as part of the opening ceremony, was Frank Sinatra and some of his friends – Sammy Davis, Janet Leigh, and Tony Curtis, and Peter Lawford. Also in attendance were Nat “King” Cole, Shirley MacLaine, Lee Marvin, Edward G. Robinson, Hope Lange, Lloyd Bridges and Vincent Price. Some of these celebrities were introduced to the convention one by one. However, when Sammy Davis, Jr. came forward, he was booed by the Mississippi and Alabama delegations. Davis was devastated. Choked up, he managed to sing through the National Anthem with Sinatra and others, but left the convention hall shortly thereafter.
Sammy Davis, Jr. and May Britt, undated. Photo, Brian Duffy.
Sammy Davis, as part of Sinatra’s team, had worked hard for Kennedy. On the campaign trail, the Kennedy people would give Davis a list of rallies and cocktail parties in cities and towns where Davis would be playing. Davis would attend these gatherings, sometimes to sing a song or just mingle with the guests. He would later report that he enjoyed doing it and being involved in the excitement of the campaign. Yet politically, inside the Kennedy campaign, Davis was seen as a potential liability in some parts of the country, especially in the south. And Kennedy needed southern Democratic support to win the election. The south at that time was still deeply mired in its segregated ways. In fact, in 1960, most Southern states still had on their books anti-miscegenation laws, which prohibited marriage between whites and blacks. The Supreme Court would not strike down those laws until 1967.
Tony Curtis & Frank Sinatra share a happy moment with Patricia Kennedy Lawford and Peter Lawford at the Democratic Convention, July 1960. Photo: Life/Ed Clark
Earlier that year, Sammy Davis had become involved with Swedish actress and Hollywood movie star May Britt. The two had fallen in love and made plans for marriage. Davis, in fact, had announced in May 1960 that the couple would be married in mid-October 1960. Frank Sinatra agreed to be Davis’ best man at the wedding. A torrent of bad press, with all manner of ugly public and private displays of hatred and threats came at Davis for the pending biracial union between he and Britt. Soon, Kennedy was being hit by some critics as approving interracial marriage. Sinatra was being singled out as well. Newspaper stories about Sinatra being Davis’ best man sometimes ran next to stories about Sinatra campaigning for Kennedy. Reportedly, Joe Kennedy sent word to Davis to postpone the wedding. In any case, Davis began to feel the pressure, and he knew that Sinatra was feeling it too. He decided to postpone the wedding until November 13, 1960. But at the Democratic Convention that July evening as he tried to sing the National Anthem after the southern booing, Sammy Davis was a deeply wounded man. “Delegates Boo Negro,” read one news headline in the New York Times the next day – accompanied by a smaller sub head that noted, “But Sammy Davis Jr. Is Also Applauded at Convention.”
Frank Sinatra & JFK huddle during a dinner at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, July 1960.
Interestingly, however, on July 10, 1960 — the day before Davis was booed — JFK appeared at a rally of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Kennedy was cooly received there, but won the crowd over when later in his remarks he vowed to end segregation.
Two days later in the inner workings of the convention, Kennedy’s team did push through a civil rights plank calling for the end of segregation. Martin Luther King, Jr at the time called it “the most positive, dynamic and meaningful civil rights plank that has ever been adopted by either party.” However, it would take another four years before some of those provisions would become law.
Patricia Kennedy Lawford, left, looks on as her brother, John F. Kennedy makes his remarks at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, July 1960.
Meanwhile, back at the Democratic convention on the evening Davis was booed, Sinatra and other friends helped to work the floor of the convention for Kennedy delegates. He, Judy Garland, Kay Thompson, and others worked to persuade Democratic delegates to support Kennedy for the nomination. On July 13th, Sinatra joined JFK and the Kennedy clan monitoring the early convention activity by TV from the Beverly Hills mansion of Joe Kennedy’s Hollywood friend, Marion Davis. There were meetings and comings and goings there that day with labor leaders and party bosses from all over the country, preparing for the convention vote. The formal casting of delegate votes for the candidates would occur the following day.
Jackie Kennedy reading about JFK’s nomination in the “Boston Globe” newspaper back home in Hyannis Port, MA, July 14, 1960. AP photo.
On the evening of Wednesday, July 13, 1960, John F. Kennedy won his party’s nomination for President on the first ballot. Wyoming’s 15 delegates gave him the two-thirds majority. With 761 votes needed to nominate, Kennedy received 806. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson came in second with 409 votes. Sinatra at that time was quite excited with JFK’s victory, reportedly back-slapping Peter Lawford and saying, “We’re on our way to the White house, buddy boy…”
Back at the convention the next day at 9 a.m., Kennedy asked Lyndon Johnson to be his running mate, and to the surprise of many, Johnson accepted. Johnson was not the preferred candidate of many in JFK’s camp, including his brother, Bobby. But Johnson would prove to be an important pick on election night. Meanwhile, after hours, as the political business of that day’s convention activities subsided, Peter and Pat Lawford threw a nomination party for JFK at their Santa Monica home, with Frank Sinatra and various other celebrities attending, among them, Marilyn Monroe.
A Jack Kennedy-Lyndon Johnson campaign poster for the 1960 presidential election.
On a late Friday afternoon, July 15, 1960, Democratic Presidential nominee John F. Kennedy appeared before a crowd of some 80,000 people in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to deliver his formal acceptance speech. At the time, the gathering was touted as the largest crowd ever to hear a political speech. It was in this speech that the phrase “The New Frontier” was first used. In his remarks, Kennedy cited the American West as the “last frontier,” saying “we stand today on the edge of a new frontier— the frontier of the 1960s.” As the convention concluded, the Democrats had their ticket ready to do battle with the Republicans: Jack Kennedy for President and Lyndon Johnson for Vice President — “Leadership for The 60′s,” as one campaign poster put it.
The Rat Pack film, “Ocean's 11,” premiered with a street party in Las Vegas, Nevada, August 1960.
As the Democrats made plans for their fall campaign, the Republicans convened their convention in Chicago, Illinois at the International Amphitheatre from July 25 to July 28, 1960, nominating Richard Nixon. The attention of the Rat Pack, meanwhile, shifted to the premiere opening of their new film, Ocean’s 11. Frank Sinatra had already attended a New York meeting in June with film director Lewis Milestone and Warner Brothers executives to plan a big August 1960 grand opening and film premier in Las Vegas. That summer, Sinatra had also arranged to have a private showing of the film at his Palm Springs home for Jack and Jackie Kennedy. In Las Vegas at the film premier that August, Sinatra and various Rat Packers were on hand to meet with the press to promote the film and also to do their stage act.
A 1960 "Oceans 11" movie poster billing Rat Pack members plus Angie Dickinson.
All five of the Rat Pack core group appeared in the film – Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Joey Bishop. A number of other stars also appeared, some briefly, among them: Angie Dickinson, Cesar Romero, Richard Conte, Buddy Lester, Shirley MacLaine, Red Skelton, and George Raft. The plot of the film involves a group World War II veterans recruited by Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra) and Jimmy Foster (Peter Lawford) to rob five different Las Vegas casinos in an elaborate New Years eve heist. The film was among the top ten grossing films that year but was not widely cheered by all film critics. Bosley Crowther of the New York Times, writing in August 1960, observed: “A surprisingly nonchalant and flippant attitude toward crime — an attitude so amoral it roadblocks a lot of valid gags — is maintained through “Ocean’s 11…”. Still, the film was popular because of its stars. And over the years, it would become a signature “Rat Pack” film – remade in 2001with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and others. Sinatra and his Rat Packers, in various combinations, would appear in at least nine other Hollywood films made between 1958 and 1970. Sergeants 3, for example, another film with all five Rat Pack members, would come out in 1962. Back at the 1960 Kennedy campaign, meanwhile, the effort was now focused on the fall contest with Richard Nixon and the Republicans. Sinatra and friends would continue to help out where they could.
Frank Sinatra appearing at a gathering of Kennedy supporters at the home of Janet Leigh, September 1960.
As the general election campaign began, Sinatra persuaded some of his Hollywood friends to hold small receptions for prospective Kennedy supporters. Sinatra was friends with Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, both successful film stars who had been married to each other since 1951. Leigh had co-starred with her husband in five films through the 1950s, including Houdini (1953) and had just appeared in the Alfred Hitchock classic Psycho, released in June 1960, in which she is murdered in one of Hollywood’s most famous shower scenes. Leigh and Curtis had also attended the Democratic National Convention that July.
In early September 1960, Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis agreed to use their home for a “Key Women for Kennedy” campaign event. On September 7th, a crowd estimated at 2,000 turned out at Leigh’s place for quite a successful gathering. Ted Kennedy, then the western states coordinator for his brother’s campaign, was also on hand for the event. Frank Sinatra, shown at left, appeared there as well.
Out on the campaign trail, the issue of Kennedy’s Catholic religion had not gone away. Many still feared that government under Kennedy would be unduly influenced by religious interests, and the issue was still seen as a distinct liability for the candidate. As Kennedy made a campaign swing through Texas, he decided to take on the religion issue directly. On September 12, 1960, he spoke before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in Houston, Texas where he famously told his audience: “I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me.” Also that September, in Hawaii, which had only recently become a state, Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford were on location filming The Devil at 4 O’ Clock. While in the state, both did some campaigning for Kennedy, including one performance before an audience of about 9,000 at the Waikiki Shell.
Richard Nixon & JFK debate on television, 1960.
By late September 1960, the Presidential race was capturing mainstream public attention, as the first of the Kennedy-Nixon televised debates was broadcast nationally on Monday, September 26, 1960. The debate was telecast from the studios of WBBM-TV in Chicago. The one-hour debate demonstrated the power of image over substance, as Kennedy came across cool and collected, while Nixon, due in part to poor makeup and a recent illness, appeared tense and ill at ease on camera. Although Kennedy was given the edge by many who watched the debate on TV, others who only listened on radio believed Nixon won. Additional TV debates between the two would follow – one on Friday, October 7th from Washington, D.C.; a third on Thursday, October 13th with the candidates appearing on a split-screen telecast, Kennedy in New York and Nixon in Los Angeles; and a fourth on October 21st from New York.
Oct 31 1960: JFK tells Temple University students in Philadelphia he’d like to have a 5th TV debate with Nixon, who could “bring President Eisenhower along, too.” Photo: TSutpen.Blogspot.com
Through October 1960, Frank Sinatra continued to help Kennedy and the Democrats where he could, serving, for example, as a host for the Democratic Governor’s Ball in New Jersey in late October, and also appearing jointly with Eleanor Roosevelt in a radio appeal for Kennedy. Sinatra and his Rat Pack friends weren’t the only Hollywood glitteratti helping Kennedy. Singer Harry Belafonte appeared in one campaign TV ad. with Kennedy aimed at African-American voters. In other radio and TV commercials, Lena Horne, Milton Berle, Gene Kelly, Ella Fitzgerald, Henry Fonda, and Myrna Loy also made pitches for Kennedy or performed on his behalf. The candidate, of course, was doing his share too, making appearances in major cities during the closing days of the campaign. In late October, there were campaign stops in Philadelphia and New York. On Friday November 4th,1960, Kennedy appeared at the Chicago Stadium for a big pre-election rally where more than 1.5 million people came out.
Richard Nixon and the Republicans, meanwhile, were pulling out all the stops as well. On Sunday, November 6th, Nixon ran 32-page advertising supplements in Sunday newspapers, and later that evening pre-empted the General Electric Theater on CBS-TV for a 30-minute appeal to voters. On the day before the election, Monday, November 7th, Nixon appeared on ABC-TV for four hours (2-6 pm) in the first telethon in presidential campaign history, assisted by Hollywood celebrities Ginger Rogers, Lloyd Nolan, and Robert Young. Kennedy appeared on ABC-TV that evening too, following Nixon, from 6:00-to-6:30 pm. As election day approached, some polls had Kennedy leading by a slight edge, others had Nixon in the lead. Most believed it was too close to call.
Nov. 1960: JFK & aides watching returns on TV after the election. From left: artist Bill Walton, Pierre Salinger, unidentified man on stairs, Ethel Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Jack Kennedy, RFK. secretary Angie Novello, and campaign aide Bill Haddad. Photo, Jacques Lowe.
On the day before the election, Jack Kennedy spoke at city hall in Providence, Rhode Island before thousands of supporters, returning to his home in Boston following the speech. On election day, November 8th, 1960, he and his then pregnant wife Jackie, voted at a branch library near their Boston home. From there they joined Kennedy family members, friends and a few campaign staff at the family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, where several Kennedy homes were used in monitoring the election returns.
Frank Sinatra, meanwhile, watched the voting on the West coast from the home of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, along with other Hollywood stars and movie people, including Bill Goetze, Billy Wilder, Milton Berle, Dick Shepherd and others. The Curtis-Leigh home that evening served as a “clearinghouse” for Hollywood Democrats all around the country who had worked for Kennedy. Calls that evening were coming in from Henry Fonda in New York, Sammy Cahn in Las Vegas, Peter Lawford in Hyannis Port with the Kennedy family, and also Sammy Davis, Jr., who was then performing at the Huntington Hartford Theater in Hollywood, but giving his audience updates on the election returns.
Peter Lawford & Pierre Salinger following teletype returns, election night, Nov 1960.
In the voting that night, Illinois proved to be a crucial state, having 27 electoral votes. Nixon had taken most of the state’s 103 counties, rural and suburban. But Kennedy would take Cook County by a slender margin, and Chicago, where reportedly, Sinatra and Joe Kennedy had prevailed upon Sam Giancana for assistance. Democratic Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was also believed to have been helpful on Kennedy’s behalf in Illinois. Other states, including Texas, were also at issue with suspected election-night shenanigans on both sides. The Nixon camp too, in downstate Illinois and elsewhere, had its share of suspected vote manipulations.
On election night, as the early returns came in from large cities in East and Midwest – Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Chicago – Kennedy initially amassed a large lead in the popular and electoral vote. It appeared he had certain victory. However, after some early and premature TV declarations of Kennedy wins in selected states – and some retractions – an hours-long “too-close-to-call” contest set in, stretching late into the night. As later returns came in – especially from the rural and suburban Midwest, the western states, and Pacific Coast states, Nixon began to catch up. Some newspapers, including the New York Times, had even prepared “Kennedy elected” headline copy. But the election was still too close to call. Nixon made an appearance at about 3:00 a.m. that hinted toward concession, but he did not formally concede. It would not be until the afternoon of the following day, Wednesday, November 9th, that Nixon finally conceded and Kennedy claimed victory.
New York Times of November 10th, 1960 announcing JFK victory in presidential election. JFK shown with wife Jackie and family members at Hyannis Port, MA press event.
Kennedy had defeated Nixon in one of the closest presidential elections of the twentieth century. In the national popular vote Kennedy led Nixon by just two-tenths of one percent (49.7% to 49.5%), while in the electoral vote Kennedy won 303 votes to Nixon’s 219 (269 were needed to win).
Back on the west coast the next day, Frank Sinatra went work at an MGM set in Hollywood where they were making the film,The Devil at 4 O’Clock with Spencer Tracy and others. The film’s director was Mervyn LeRoy, a Republican, with whom Sinatra had made a friendly wager on the election outcome. A photo reportedly exists of Sinatra riding atop a donkey with LeRoy leading them around the MGM lot, apparently a result of Sinatra winning the wager. After the election, Rosalind Wyman, who served as the co-chair of the 1960 California Kennedy-Johnson campaign and Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, singled out Sinatra for his campaign help, saying he went wherever he was needed. Sinatra, of course, was elated with JFK’s victory, and looked forward to a continuing friendship with the president-elect in the years ahead.
JFK campaign button, 1960.
Part 2 of this story continues with Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford playing a major role in the Kennedy inaugural festivities of January 1961. Part 2 also covers the changing relationship between Sinatra, JFK and the Kennedy family as the Kennedy Administration moved into governing the country. Sinatra’s reaction to JFK’s assassination is also covered there, as well as Sinatra’s later turn toward the Republicans and what became of the Rat Pack members and a few of their friends beyond the 1960s. See also at this website, for example: “1968 Presidential Race–Democrats” and “1968 Presidential Race – Republicans,” both of which also focus on the Hollywood/politics mixture. Thanks for visiting. - Jack Doyle.
Article Citation: Jack Doyle, “The Jack Pack, 1958-1960,” PopHistoryDig.com, August 20, 2011.
Sources, Links & Additional Information
August 29, 1955: Time magazine cover story features Frank Sinatra’s rise to acting fame. Already a famous singer from the mid-1940s, Sinatra in 1954 won an acting Oscar for his role in the film, “From Here To Eternity.”
John F. Kennedy, who was first elected to Congress in 1946, is featured on Time’s cover, December 2, 1957, as the “Democrat's Man Out Front.”
Frank Sinatra performing at the Desert Inn, 1950s.
U.S. Senators John F. Kennedy, Hubert H. Humphrey, and Albert Gore Sr. in conversation during the 1956 Democratic Convention.
Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra on stage during one of their performances, 1960s.
John F. Kennedy and wife Jackie campaigning in Appleton, Wisconsin, March 1960. Photo, Jeff Dean.
John F. Kennedy, presidential candidate, meeting with West Virginia coal miners, 1960.
John F. Kennedy, campaigning in West Virginia coal country, 1960.
May 1960: John F. Kennedy at home in Washington, D.C. reading newspaper about his victory in the West Virginia primary and rival Hubert Humphrey quitting the race.
July 1960: Ted Kennedy, center, on the floor of the Democratic National Convention as the Wyoming delegation gives JFK the votes needed for the party's presidential nomination. Photo, L.A. Times.
Actress Janet Leigh, left, listens to JFK campaign coordinator Edward M. Kennedy, far right, at rally for his brother at Janet Leigh’s home, Sept 1960.
Frank Sinatra talking with Edward M. Kennedy, lower left at "Key Women for Kennedy” rally at Janet Leigh’s house, Beverly Hills, Sept 1960. Photo: Ralph Crane.
Sept 26, 1960: Los Angles Times headlines on the first Kennedy-Nixon presidential TV debate.
Oct 1960: U.S. Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. with John F. Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt in New York city during Kennedy's presidential campaign.
Nov 8, 1960: Los Angeles Times headlines on "down-to-the-wire" presidential election.
Ted Kennedy with sisters Eunice and Pat and Ethel Kennedy watching election-night returns at Hyannis Port, MA. AP photo/Henry Griffin.
Life magazine features “the victorious young Kennedys” on the cover of its November 21, 1960 edition.
The Rat Pack on stage together in a 1960s' performance.
This is the second part of a two-part story on the history of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack and their dealings with the 1960 presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy and his early Administration. The “Rat Pack” was a nickname for a coterie of Hollywood stars and Las Vegas club entertainers that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. For a time in 1960, this group and some of their friends were dubbed “The Jack Pack” when they helped the Kennedy-for-President campaign.
Through the early 1960s, Sinatra and his Rat Pack reigned supreme in contemporary culture; they became the “cool guys” of their generation. They brought record-breaking crowds to the Las Vegas nightclub scene and made millions for Hollywood’s box office through the movies they made. The Rat Pack’s network of contacts, friends, and business partners ranged across Hollywood, Las Vegas, and beyond, including movie stars such as Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh, Angie Dickinson, and Shirley MacLaine, and also some underworld figures such as Sam Giancana of Chicago.
“Rat Pack” members early 1960s, from left: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.
Sinatra and the Rat Pack became intertwined with the Kennedy family in part through Peter Lawford’s marriage to Jack Kennedy’s sister, Patricia, and later through Sinatra’s friendship with U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy. But the Rat Pack’s Hollywood and business network in the entertainment world also made it a potent force for fundraising and voter turnout, which soon become apparent in the 1960 presidential election and beyond.
Part 1 of the story covers Rat Pack history and the group’s involvement with the 1960 Kennedy campaign, up to and including John F. Kennedy’s election in November 1960. Part 2 of the story picks up here as plans for the 1961 Kennedy inauguration festivities are being made. This part of the story will also cover Frank Sinatra’s falling out with JFK and the Kennedy family during the early 1960s, as well as what became of various Rat Pack members and friends and Kennedy family members in the years following the Kennedy election.
Jan 1961: Frank Sinatra escorting Jackie Kennedy to her box at the National Guard Armory for a pre-inaugural gala staged by Sinatra to help pay off JFK & Democratic Party campaign debt.
In December 1960, Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford began planning a big, star-studded gala and party fundraiser to be staged at the National Armory in Washington, D.C. on January 19th, 1961, the night before JFK’s formal inauguration. Among the performers and notables Sinatra and Lawford would gather for this event were: Harry Belafonte, Milton Berle, Nat King Cole, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Kelly, Frederic March, Ethel Merman, Jimmy Durante, Mahalia Jackson, Bette Davis, Laurence Olivier, Leonard Bernstein, Fredric March, Sidney Poitier, Bill Dana, Kay Thompson, Roger Edens and others.
Sinatra was responsible for personally recruiting many of the stars, some flying in from filming and performing locations abroad. He and Lawford also convinced several Broadway producers to shut down for one night so actors such as Anthony Quinn, Ethel Merman and Laurence Olivier could attend. One account had it that Sinatra personally bought out the theater tickets for the performances of the Broadway plays in conflict so the those actors could partake in the Kennedy gala.
January 19, 1961: Part of scene at the JFK inaugural gala in Washington, DC, organized by Frank Sinatra.
Several thousand seats at the National Armory would be sold for $100 each and 72 ringside boxes for small groups were sold at $10,000 apiece. “We’ve already sold out the 72 boxes,” Peter Lawford told Time magazine in early December. Sinatra added, “This will be the biggest take in show-business history for a one-nighter. We expect to raise $1,700,000 for the one night…” In January, Sinatra and Lawford flew to Washington on Kennedy’s private Convair plane to begin work on the gala. The Hollywood stars, producers, directors, conductors, and musicians involved were housed at the Statler-Hilton Hotel in Washington, reportedly taking over the top floor or so. Sinatra also hired a Hollywood photographer named Phil Stern to document the entire enterprise, later giving each of the participants their own photo albums.
Sammy Davis, Jr., 1960s.
But in arranging the gala there was also some nastiness for Frank’s friend, Sammy Davis, slated to be one of the gala performers. Davis had planned to take leave from his engagement at the Latin Casino near Philadelphia in order to perform at the gala. But given his recent mid-November 1960 mix-race marriage to Swedish actress May Britt, Sammy was still too hot politically for the Kennedys. Reportedly, there had been discussions with Bobby, Jack and Peter Lawford on Sammy’s participation in the gala, concern being that Southern Democrats would object to Sammy and his new wife attending. Three days before the gala, after Sammy had bought a new tux and his wife a new gown, he received a call from the White House. It was Evelyn Lincoln, JFK’s personal secretary. She told Sammy the president didn’t want him at the inauguration, a decision by the president described as being forced upon him by the politics of the moment, and counterproductive to fight. Sammy said he understood. Peter Lawford called Davis to try to smooth things over, but Sammy was crushed.
Gene Kelly performing at JFK gala, January 19, 1961.
On gala day, there was a snow storm in Washington, dumping eight inches on the city through the evening. But the show went on. There was singing, dancing, poetry, stage skits, dramatic readings, and tributes to the presidential and vice-president. Gene Kelly danced; Sydney Poteir read poetry, and Pat Suzuki sang. Kelly sang “The Hat Me Dear Old Father Wore” and did an amazing dance routine. Fredric March did a recitation invoking God’s help to “give us zest for new frontiers, and the faith to say unto mountains, whether made of granite or red tape: Remove.” Bill Dana, famous in that era for portraying a fictional Chicano character known as José Jiménez, did a well-received comic routine with Milton Berle. Nat King Cole sang and so did a young, 34 year-old Harry Belafonte, whose 1956 Calypso album had become the first long-playing album in history to sell over one million copies.
Frank Sinatra & Peter Lawford enjoy a lighter moment at the 1961 gala for President-elect John F. Kennedy.
Jimmy Durante sang a version of the “September Song,” a JFK favorite. Sinatra sang twice that evening, once with “You Make Me Feel So Young,” and also “That Old Black Magic,” putting a few new twists on the old standard with lines like: “That old Jack magic had them in its spell / That old Jack magic that he weaves so well…” There was also a long biographical tribute sung to Kennedy describing his rise to power, using a parody of popular songs composed by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn. This skit began with Sinatra and Berle doing a send up of that era’s famous news team of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.“…[I]t may have marked the moment when popular entertainment became an indispensable part of modern politics.” - Todd Purdum “High Hopes,” was also used in this segment, now reworked by Sinatra with new lines that included: “Jack and Lyndon B /… Let’s follow their lead / They’re the men that our America needs!”
Todd Purdum, writing a Vanity Fair retrospective on the famous JFK gala 50 years later, summed it up this way: “It was an only-in-America blend of high culture and low comedy, of schmaltz and camp, and it may have marked the moment when popular entertainment became an indispensable part of modern politics.” In fact, Bette Davis said as much during the show in part of skit she did, reading from a script by radio dramatist Norman Corwin: “The world of entertainment—show-biz, if you please—has become the Sixth Estate…”
JFK with Frank Sinatra at the pre-inaugural gala, Jan 19, 1961, the night before JFK’s formal inauguration.
At one point near the show’s end, with an introduction from Sinatra, JFK rose to speak as a single spotlight shone on him. “We saw excellence tonight,” Kennedy said, while commending Sinatra and Peter Lawford for their work on the gala. “The happy relationship between the arts and politics which has characterized our long history I think reached culmination tonight,” he said.
Of Sinatra’s role in the gala Kennedy said, “You can not imagine the work he has done to make this show a success.” Kennedy called Sinatra “a great friend,” and added: “Long before he could sing, he used to poll a Democratic precinct back in New Jersey. That precinct has grown to cover a country, but long after he has ceased to sing, he’s going to be standing up and speaking for the Democratic Party, and I thank him on behalf of all of you tonight.”
1961: Inaugural dancing at the Armory.
The gala would raise millions to help reduce the Democratic campaign debt, and despite the snow and difficult logistics, Sinatra had pulled off one of the greatest Hollywood-on-the-Potomac fetes the city had ever witnessed.
Even though it was nearly 1:30 a.m. when the gala ended, and Jackie Kennedy had long since gone home as she was still recovering from the Cesarean birth of John Jr., JFK went to another party that night given by his father, Joseph Kennedy, at Paul Young’s restaurant in downtown D.C. JFK didn’t get home until 3:30 a.m.
However the next morning, Inauguration Day, Kennedy was up at eight, reviewing his speech and preparing for a full slate of official and ceremonial meetings with outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and then on to Capitol Hill for his swearing in and one of the more memorable inaugural speeches in U.S. history.
President John F. Kennedy delivering his inaugural address at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 20, 1961.
On the evening of the inauguration, as the President and first lady were making the rounds to the various inaugural balls being held in Washington, Sinatra threw a party at the Statler-Hilton Hotel for all the cast and crew who had been involved in the preceding night’s gala. The President, on a visit to the Statler-Hilton for one of the balls that evening, managed to slip away to join Sinatra’s party and mingle with the guests there. Frank Sinatra was very pleased, and went home to California feeling pretty good about himself and his friend in the White House.
The Sinatra File
Following the inauguration, the ties between Frank Sinatra and the Kennedy’s – especially those involving JFK and the White House – would gradually become strained and eventually would be severed. But this would not occur for another year or so.
FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, center, meeting with JFK and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, January 1961.
Sinatra had been monitored by the FBI stretching back to 1946 when he attended social gatherings in Cuba as a guest of some organized crime figures. The FBI had an active file on Sinatra which continued for years (Sinatra’s full FBI file would not be released publicly until December 1998, ultimately revealing nothing criminal, subversive, or unpatriotic; a file filled with mostly unsubstantiated complaints and anonymous sources).
But in February 1961, within weeks of JFK’s inauguration, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a pointed memo to the new U.S. Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy. The memo detailed Sinatra’s extensive connections to organized crime figures. Robert Kennedy would later impress upon his brother, the President, that he needed to distance himself from Sinatra.
Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford & Robert Kennedy wait for helicopter en route to a Cedars-Sinai Hospital charity event in Hollywood, July 1961.
Still, exchanges between the Kennedy family, Sinatra, and members of his Rat Pack continued through 1961 and beyond. In early July, Sinatra and Peter Lawford joined U.S. Attorney General, Robert Kennedy to attend benefit dinner for the Cedars-Sinai Hospital at the Beverly Hilton in Hollywood. Another report had Sinatra, the Dean Martin family, Peter Lawford and family, Sammy Davis and May Britt, and Janet Leigh using the French Riviera home of Joseph P. Kennedy during a ten-day vacation in August 1961.
Then, in late September 1961, ten months after the election, Joe Kennedy threw a thank-you party for Frank Sinatra at the family’s Hyannis Port, MA compound. At that point, JFK as president was still talking with Sinatra, as Sinatra would approach the president during the Hyannis Port visit to ask for a small favor.
Frank Sinatra sought JFK’s help to lobby Arthur Krim to make this film.
Screenwriters in Hollywood had come to Sinatra about starring in a film, The Manchurian Candidate, based on a 1959 novel by Richard Condon. The Manchurian Candidate is a story about a Korean War hero, brainwashed by the Chinese Communists, who then returns home programmed to assassinate the president as part of a larger conspiracy to take over the White House. In addition to starring the film, Sinatra also had business interests in its distribution. However, the head of Universal Studios at the time, Arthur Krim, was queasy about the film project and its Cold War politics. Krim was also then national finance chairman of the Democratic Party. So, when Sinatra was visiting the Kennedys in Hyannis Port in September 1961, he told Jack Kennedy of the plan for the film and Arthur Krim’s reluctance to make it. President Kennedy called Krim and the movie project went forward, with Krim later saying that Kennedy’s call had made the difference.
Despite Kennedy’s help on the Manchurian Candidate, Sinatra’s access to the President and the White House would soon be ending. Later in the fall of 1961, Sinatra visited the White House as part of a larger group that included Peter Lawford and others. And during that year, press Secretary Pierre Salinger had been questioned by members of the press about Sinatra’s relationship with the president. The inner circle around Kennedy – including Robert Kennedy and the President himself – became less comfortable having Sinatra around the White House. But soon, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI would provide some additional information on Sinatra.
Rat Pack Popularity
Richard Gehman’s 1961 book helped to popularize the term “Rat Pack.”
Meanwhile, the Rat Pack in 1961 seemed to gain in popularity and public notice. The first book arrived that year using the term “Rat Pack” in its title. A writer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania named Richard Gehman published a paperback volume with Belmont Books in New York titled, Sinatra and His Rat Pack. The book sold reasonably well and went into at least three printings according to one source. In the fall that year, a late night talk show hosted by David Suskind featured a Rat Pack roundtable on one of its shows with a mix of journalists and Hollywood celebrities who debated the Rat Pack’s merits and maladies. Even a New Yorker cartoon appeared with a psychiatrist addressing the concerns of a middle-aged man lying on the treatment couch, with the psychiatrist saying: “What makes you think Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and all that bunch are so happy?”
There were also continued stage and club performances of the Rat Pack as a group, or in various combinations. Work on films with one or more members of the group continued as well, and Sinatra had a film or two of his own. The Devil at Four O’Clock, a volcano disaster film with Sinatra and Spencer Tracey came out in October 1961. Sinatra’s music continued to be popular. Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford would have their notices as well.
President Kennedy points to map of Laos at press conference in March 1961.
The Kennedy Administration, meanwhile, had a full plate of activities in 1961. In March, Kennedy announced the establishment of the Peace Corps. The president also held a press conference that month to discuss communist involvement in Laos. In April, in his first international and military crisis, U.S.-backed invasion of Cuba ended in disaster at the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy appeared on TV taking full responsibility for the fiasco, an operation inherited from the Eisenhower Administration. The Soviet Union that month put the first human in space, as cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth in a Soviet spacecraft. In May, speaking before the U.S. Congress, Kennedy committed the U.S. to landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In June, Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev held a summit in Vienna. Cold war tensions escalated in August, as construction on what came to be known as “the Berlin Wall” began; an actual brick-and-block wall that would divide East and West Berlin with the purpose of preventing people from fleeing communist-held areas of the country for sanctuary in the west. Elsewhere in the world, Kennedy Administration officials were working on foreign policy initiatives such as the “Alliance for Progress,” a joint U.S./Latin American economic development program. In December the President traveled to Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
Stay At Frank’s?
As JFK’s presidential schedule for early 1962 was being plotted out, it was revealed he would be making a trip west to California in March of 1962. Early on, it was decided Kennedy would have an overnight visit at Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs estate on March 24th, 1962. This planned JFK visit became a big event for Sinatra; a very prideful moment – much more than the pre-election partying the two had shared.Sinatra went all-out for the anticipated JFK visit – remodeling the house, adding new cottages, extra rooms, communications gear, and more. . . He even had a helicopter landing pad installed. This was now the President of the United States who was coming to stay overnight. Sinatra had initially built this Palm Springs residence in 1954. It included a main house, a movie theater, guest houses, a barbershop/sauna, two swimming pools, tennis courts, and a personal art studio. But now, he would make improvements.
Sinatra went all-out for the anticipated JFK visit – remodeling the house, adding new cottages, extra rooms, communications gear, and more to accommodate a president and his staff. He even had a concrete heliport landing pad installed. But within days of the planned visit – on March 22nd, two days ahead of the planned arrival at Sinatra’s – Peter Lawford was told by JFK and Bobby Kennedy to inform Sinatra that the President would not be staying at Sinatra’s place. Lawford tried to convince the President and Bobby not to cancel the visit, to no avail. It was then arranged that the President would stay at singer Bing Crosby’s place. Lawford then called Sinatra, fabricating a story about how Sinatra’s place was more open and more vulnerable and that the Secret Service had instead approved Bing Crosby’s “more secure” place, backing up against a mountain. Sinatra was stunned by the news, and tried appealing to Bobby Kennedy with no success. At one point, Sinatra reportedly took a sledge hammer to the heliport he had built to vent his frustration, and he was quite unforgiving of Lawford and others even remotely connected to the cancellation. From that point on, Sinatra and JFK pretty much parted ways.
JFK, J. Edgar Hoover & Robert Kennedy.
Bobby Kennedy and the President had both heard from J. Edgar Hoover about Sinatra and the fact that Sam Giancana – who Bobby’s Justice Department was then investigating – had stayed at Sinatra’s place. Hoover had lunch with the President only a few days before his scheduled March 1962 trip West, and it is believed he discussed Sinatra and Judith Campbell with the President, among other things. JFK knew Hoover played hardball and he wasn’t about to give him any more ammunition by staying with Sinatra. But Sinatra was wounded badly by the cancellation. Years later, Sinatra would say he would have understood if JFK had personally spoken with him about why, politically, he could not be seen with him, given his ties, etc. Sinatra said he would have accepted that. But Kennedy never did that, and Sinatra remained forever hurt by the slight. JFK, meanwhile, had a pleasant visit at Bing Crosby’s place on March 24th, 1962, where guests at that time reportedly included Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn Monroe sings “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” May 19, 1962. Photo, UPI.
Less than two months later, on May 19, 1962, Monroe made a famous public appearance singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to JFK at a Madison Square Garden event for the President’s 45th birthday. It was a huge gala affair, with a number of Hollywood entertainers. Monroe, who arrived late to sing the birthday greeting, was introduced by Peter Lawford. Her appearance came toward the middle-end of the program, and she performed the song in her very best, most sexiest voice. More than 15,000 people attended the JFK gathering, also a Democratic fundraising event, with many VIPs and politicians in the audience. It was hosted by New York Mayor Robert Wagner with Jack Benny as emcee. Among those performing were: Robert Merrill, Ella Fitzgerald, Danny Kaye, Henry Fonda, Maria Callas, Peggy Lee, Jimmy Durante & Eddie Jackson, Mike Nichols & Elaine May, Diahann Carroll, and Bobby Darin. Richard Adler, a composer and lyricist, famous for Broadway musicals such as The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, produced the show. Jerome Robbins, of The King and I and West Side Story fame, choreographed a big dance number. Monroe, in addition to “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” also continued her musical tribute to the president, adding a few lines of thanks — “for all you have done, the battles you have won” — to the tune of “Thanks for the Memories.” Monroe wore a sleek, form-fitting, specially-designed dress for the occasion, made for her by designer Jean Louis. Kennedy remarked at the podium later that evening that he could “now retire from politics after having had Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way.” Kennedy would later be photographed briefly talking to Monroe with brother Bobby and others at an after party.
Robert F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and John F. Kennedy in rare photo taken at private “after party,” May 19, 1962. Advisor Arthur Schlesinger, with glasses, is shown at right.
According to some reports, Kennedy had first met Monroe at his sister’s house – Peter and Patricia Lawford’s Santa Monica beach house – sometime in 1959-1960 (although some reports say Kennedy knew Monroe as early as 1954-55). Reportedly, other JFK and Monroe get-togethers occurred around the time of Kennedy’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles on July 12th and July 13th, 1960, including a dinner at Puccini’s restaurant in Beverly Hills, owned by Sinatra and Lawford, and also at a private party at the Lawford’s Santa Monica home the night of Kennedy’s nomination at the Los Angeles 1960 Democratic National Convention. But Monroe’s appearance at the President’s birthday party in New York on May 19th, 1962 would be her last public appearance.
Frank Sinatra, not long after the President’s cancelled overnight visit, began a world concert tour in a dozen or more cities to raise money for various children’s charities. On that trip, Sinatra did concerts in China, Israel, Greece, Italy, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Tel Aviv and Japan and raised more than one million dollars for various benefits. He returned to the U.S. in late June 1962.
Marilyn Monroe in happier times with Frank Sinatra & club manager Bert Grober, Cal-Neva Resort, 1959. Photo: D. Dondero, Reno Gazette.
In late July 1962, according to author J. Randy Taraborrelli, Frank Sinatra invited Peter and Patricia Lawford for a weekend visit to his Nevada resort, the Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe. Marilyn Monroe, a friend of the Lawfords and also of Frank Sinatra, joined them. The Lawfords and Monroe traveled together and arrived by private plane. Monroe, however, was not well by then, suffering from depression and taking medication. Sinatra, in fact, upon seeing her, was shocked and angry about her condition and called her doctor on the spot to relay his concern. But at one point during the visit, Monroe did some self-medication and Pat Lawford later found her in her room collapsed. Sinatra, meanwhile, became worried over the incident, concerned she might die at his resort. He told his valet, George Jacobs, to get Monroe out of the resort. One guest who happened to be in the Cal-Neva lobby at the time reported seeing Peter and Pat Lawford on either side of Monroe helping to carry her out of the resort to a private plane that took her back to Los Angeles.
Marilyn Monroe, center, at Peter & Pat Lawford’s home in 1960-61, with Peter Lawford left and Frank Sinatra next to Monroe looking at a photograph. May Britt is standing at right.
Patricia Kennedy Lawford, now visible in another photo from that same time, is seen standing at left. Seated woman may have been Shirley MacLaine.
Other accounts of that weekend at the Cal-Neva report that Dean Martin and Monroe’s former husband, baseball great Joe DiMaggio, were also at the resort. DiMaggio had never been happy about some of Marilyn’s Hollywood friends. Still other accounts have Peter Lawford telling Monroe at that point that all communication with JFK and Bobby Kennedy was to be cut off. Monroe reportedly had been upset over some things JFK had said to her in private, and she had also seen Robert Kennedy. Monroe that summer was also working on the film Something’s Got to Give, which was never finished.
After the Lawford’s returned home from their weekend visit with Sinatra, Peter Lawford called Monroe on August 4, 1962, concerned about her health. He found that she was still not well, sounding quite depressed. He later tried calling her again but couldn’t get through. He then thought about going directly to her home. However, he was advised, that as the President’s brother-in-law, he should not go there. On August 5, 1962, Monroe was found dead in her Brentwood home. She was 36 years old. Her death was ruled to be “acute barbiturate poisoning” by Los Angeles coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi and listed as a “probable suicide”.
Scene from “The Manchurian Candidate,” in which Frank Sinatra, as Korean War veteran Bennett Marco, attempts to help a fellow veteran who's been brainwashed.
Through the remainder of 1962, Frank Sinatra continued his work. In August and September he was busy making a filmed adaptation of the Neil Simon play, Come Blow Your Horn, which would not be in theaters until the following year. In October 1962, Capitol Records released a new three-record set of his recordings – Sinatra, the Great Years. A few weeks later, near the end of October, The Manchurian Candidate, the film Sinatra starred in and had gone to JFK for help with producer Krim, began playing in theaters. JFK, in fact, had viewed the film at a special White House screening on August 29, 1962, the day a U-2 spy plane over Cuba would discover eight missile installations under construction– information that would lead, two months later, to the “Cuban missile crisis” and a showdown with the Soviet Union.
By October 16th, a day the New York Yankees would beat the San Francisco Giants in game seven of the 1962 World Series, Kennedy was shown new U-2 photos revealing fully-equipped missile bases capable of attacking the U.S. with nuclear warheads. Plans were drawn up for a possible U.S. invasion of Cuba. A massive mobilization of military hardware began, and more than 150,000 active duty troops from the Marines, Army and Air Force were either positioned in Florida or put on high alert, while additional reservists were ordered to report for duty.
Cuban “missile crisis” headlines, Oct 1962.
On Monday, October 22, 1962, President Kennedy appeared on television to inform Americans of the Soviet missiles in Cuba. He explained that a Naval blockade had been placed around Cuba to prevent any further Soviet deliveries. The President also stated that any nuclear missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as an attack on the United States by the Soviets and he demanded the missiles be removed from Cuba.
The “missile crisis,” as it came to be called, was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war in the 1960s. In the end, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev turned his ships around. The Soviets agreed to dismantle the weapon sites and, in exchange, the United States agreed not to invade Cuba.
April 1963: Frank Sinatra hosts the Academy Awards ceremony, shown here escorting actress Donna Reed.
Frank Sinatra hosted the Academy Awards ceremony in 1963. Earlier that year, Playboy magazine ran an interview with Sinatra that revealed him to be quite well-informed on a range of domestic and international issues, and in which he mentioned the Kennedy Administration a few times in the context of policy issues.
Sinatra also recorded a new LP in April 1963, titled Sinatra’s Sinatra. This was an album of Sinatra songs from the 1940s and 1950s, updated with new versions for Sinatra’s own label, Reprise. The album did quite well, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard and U.K. album charts. The film Come Blow Your Horn, in which Sinatra starred, was also a major box office success that summer, garnering him a Golden Globe acting nomination.
President Kennedy that spring, among other things, visited Hollywood briefly for a Democratic Party fundraiser. This affair, however, was a limited VIP gathering of about one hundred of Hollywood’s biggest stars, among them: Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster, Charlton Heston, Gene Kelly, Dean Martin, Rock Hudson, Jack Webb and others. “Instead of offering a formal speech the president table-hopped, impressing his guests with a wide-ranging knowledge of movies in general and their careers in specific,” explains Alan Schroeder of Northeastern University who has written on the presidency and Hollywood. Kennedy was a life-long fan of Hollywood, and remained intrigued about its inner working and even its gossip.
June 1963: JFK delivering his famous speech in West Berlin.
Back in Washington, meanwhile, JFK had a full agenda of pressing issues, domestic and international, with both difficult and hopeful signs for the future. In June 1963, Alabama Gov. George Wallace refused to allow two black students to enter the University of Alabama forcing Kennedy to use the National Guard to ensure the students’ safety. On June 11, Kennedy gave a nationally-televised evening speech announcing a civil rights proposal, a speech that helped calm tensions while also putting front and center the “moral issue” then confronting the nation. “It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution,” he said. “The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities …[T]his Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free …” Also in June, some eight months after the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy spoke at the American University commencement in Washington, D.C. urging a reexamination of Cold War stereotypes and calling for a strategy of peace. In the final months of his presidency, the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was negotiated and signed. June 1963 was also the month that President Kennedy arrived in the partitioned city of Berlin, Germany, delivering his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in West Berlin.
August 1963: Martin Luther King on the Mall in Washington, DC, “I have a dream.”
In popular culture that July, the Beatles’ had become a sensation in Britain, but not yet in the U.S. On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. A few weeks later, on September 12, 1963 in New York’s Carnegie Hall, Frank Sinatra sang “Ol’ Man River” at a benefit gathering for Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Frank Sinatra’s son, Frank, Jr., who was sitting in the balcony for that performance, later observed: “Here was the greatest black leader in history watching this white man sing a song about slavery, and there were tears on his cheeks.”
Elsewhere, however, Frank Sinatra had his problems. In Las Vegas, Nevada, the state’s Gaming Control Board recommended in September 1963, that Sinatra’s casino gambling license be revoked for allowing Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana to visit Sinatra’s part-owned Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe. The Gaming Control Board had a published “List of Excluded Persons” who were not allowed in casinos even as customers, and Giancana was on that list. Sinatra never understood the stigma of his friendship with Giancana and others like him, as he had been friends of theirs since the 1940s. Still, Sinatra had to give up his casino license and sell his interests in the Cal-Neva and the Sands. ( Later, however, Sinatra would have his Las Vegas bona fides restored in 1981 when he applied for license as an entertainment consultant at Caesars Palace, listing President Ronald Reagan as a character reference and having Gregory Peck testify on his behalf. The Gaming Commission voted their approval, 4-1 ).
Nov 22, 1963: JFK, Jackie, and Texas Governor John Connolly in Dallas moments before shots were fired.
Jack Kennedy, in November 1963, was scheduled to visit Texas to make a series of political speeches across the state. On November 21, 1963, Kennedy flew to Texas making three visits that day in San Antonio, Houston, and Forth Worth. The next day, as his car drove slowly past cheering crowds in Dallas, shots rang out. Kennedy was mortally wounded and died a short time later. Within hours of the shooting, police arrested 24 year-old Lee Harvey Oswald as the prime suspect. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson – with a shaken Jackie Kennedy beside him aboard Air Force One – was sworn in as President. The nation went into deep shock and weeks of mourning.
An Era’s End
New York Times front page, November 23, 1963.
In late November 1963, Frank Sinatra was filming a scene for Robin and the 7 Hoods in a Burbank, California cemetery when he learned that Kennedy had been assassinated. Stunned by the news, Sinatra reportedly became very quiet and took a series of long walks away from the set, thinking about the tragedy. He also called the White House from the set, and spoke briefly to a staffer there. He then returned to the waiting film crew and said, “Let’s shoot this thing, ’cause I don’t want to come back here anymore.” After the scene was finished Sinatra went to his home in Palm Springs and, according to his daughter, Nancy Sinatra, “virtually disappeared” for three days while the Kennedy family and nation mourned. Sinatra would later say of Kennedy: “For a brief moment, he was the brightest star in our lives. I loved him.”
Washington Post front page, Nov 23, 1963.
Kennedy’s assassination marked seminal changes for the nation’s character and its culture. America became a less innocent, more somber place. Numerous turning points, public and personal, followed. For the Rat Pack, Kennedy’s death also marked the end of an era. Rat Pack hijinks-type entertainment would gradually fade from the scene. By 1964, with the arrival of the Beatles, the music had changed as well. Yet Frank Sinatra, for one, would hold his own. In 1965, Sinatra turned 50, but he still had years of hit music ahead of him. In that year alone, he recorded the retrospective album, September of My Years and starred in the Emmy-winning television special Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music. In early 1966 he scored a recording hit with the blockbuster single, “Strangers in the Night,” a song that would later win three Grammy awards.
Frank Sinatra shown in a room at his home that includes framed photos and other memorabilia from his Kennedy-era years. Date unknown.
In July 1966 Sinatra married Mia Farrow, a short-lived relationship that ended in divorce less than two years later. Back in Las Vegas, meanwhile, things were also changing. In 1967, Howard Hughes became the owner of the Sands. Frank Sinatra’s politics would change, too, but not right away.
Sinatra Politics II
In the 1968 national elections, during the Democratic presidential primaries, a number of Hollywood celebrities became engaged in those contests, generally hoping to change national policy as the Vietnam War divided the country. Paul Newman and others were backing Democratic candidates such as Senator Eugene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, or Hubert Humphrey, then Vice President to incumbent Lyndon Johnson who had decided not to run for re-election in a shocking announcement. McCarthy appeared to have the early momentum, then Bobby Kennedy jumped in and was headed for victory before his tragic assassination in June 1968. However, Kennedy had done quite well with Hollywood supporters. But one entertainer noticeably absent from the Kennedy bandwagon was Frank Sinatra.
Frank Sinatra backed Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 election.
Sinatra’s go-round with the Kennedys in 1960 had left its mark, plus the fact that as Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy had initiated actions against the Las Vegas gambling scene where Sinatra had friends and interests. In 1968, Sinatra supported Vice President Hubert Humphrey for the Democratic nomination. The old Rat Pack was split among the Democratic candidates: Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Shirley MacLaine had endorsed Robert Kennedy during the primaries; Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Joey Bishop backed Humphrey. Sinatra had met with Humphrey in Washington in early May 1968, pledging to make campaign appearances for him. In Oakland, California, on May 22nd, 1968, Sinatra headlined a gala supporting Humphrey and a delegate slate that opposed RFK in the California primary. At the Oakland fundraiser, Sinatra gave an extensive live performance. He also performed for Humphrey at an August 1968 gala at Cobo Hall in Detroit; appeared for Humphrey at the Houston, Texas Astrodome with President Lyndon Johnson; made a TV ad for Humphrey that fall; and re-stated his support for Humphrey on a live election-eve national telethon. However, the Humphrey-Muskie ticket that emerged in that politically volatile season of 1968 was not enough to beat Richard Nixon.
Jan. 1971: Frank Sinatra with California Governor Ronald Reagan, Vikki Carr, Nancy Reagan, Dean Martin, Jack Benny (obscured), John Wayne & Jimmy Stewart.
By 1970, however, Frank Sinatra began shifting his politics to the Republicans. The first signs came when he spoke out in support of former actor Ronald Reagan, then running for re-election as California’s governor. In fact, Sinatra urged his old Hollywood friend Reagan to move more to the center. Sinatra, however, remained a registered Democrat who broke with Reagan on issues like abortion. But in 1971, the Republicans nationally were being drawn to Sinatra’s potential star appeal. A memo then circulating among some of Richard Nixon’s presidential aides on Sinatra noted: “He has the muscle to bring along a lot of the younger lights.” Nixon aide Charles W. Colson wrote of Sinatra: “If we are going to cultivate him, as I believe we should (I also recognize the negatives) then he should very shortly be invited to the White House to entertain.”
Frank Sinatra’s April 1973 performance at the Nixon White House on Red Cab Records, 2010.
In July 1972, prior to that year’s presidential election, Frank Sinatra announced his support for Richard Nixon. “The older you get the more conservative you get,” he explained to his daughter Tina, who at the time was working for the Democratic candidate George McGovern. Sinatra’s old Rat Pack pal, Sammy Davis, Jr., also supported Nixon in 1972.
In April 1973, a time when Sinatra’s “comeback album” Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back had appeared, he was invited by President Richard Nixon to perform at the White House, the first president to do so. Following a state dinner for Italian Prime Minister Guiulio Andreotti, Sinatra performed a number of his songs for more than 200 guests in the East Room of the White House. During Nixon’s presidency, Sinatra visited the White House several times. He also supported Nixon’s moves to recognize the People’s Republic of China.
Frank Sinatra, left, campaignng with Ronald & Nancy Reagan, 1984.
By 1979, when Ronald Regan ran for president, Sinatra campaigned for him, saying at one point he worked harder for Regan than he had since 1960 when he backed Jack Kennedy. And as Sinatra had done for Kennedy 20 years earlier, in January 1981, he now also produced Reagan’s Inaugural Gala, lining up a slate of performers that included Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Charlton Heston. “I don’t view the inaugural as political,” he said when asked about producing Reagan’s show. “If Walter Mondale had won, and if he had asked me to do [his gala], I’d have been there.” Sinatra also campaigned for Regan in 1984. In fact, during October and early November of that election season, Sinatra went to Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Hartford, Westchester, New York, Washington, D.C., Sacramento, and San Diego doing Republican receptions and/or fundraisers on behalf of Reagan.
May 23, 1985, Sinatra received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan. Cabinet member Jeane Kirkpatrick is seen in the background.
Throughout Reagan’s presidency, Sinatra made frequent trips to the White House, as well as serving on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. In 1985, Reagan presented him with the Congressional Medal of Freedom at a White house ceremony. It was, according to friends and family, one of the proudest days of his life. Sinatra remained friends with both Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and later sang at the inaugural gala for George H.W. Bush as well. And although he identified more with Republican presidents in his later years, Sinatra met Bill Clinton at a small dinner party in Los Angeles after Clinton became president. At that meeting, Clinton later recalled, Sinatra spoke about his admiration for the Kennedys and his pride in having been a part of the Kennedy campaign and JFK’s White House years.
Flashback: Frank Sinatra, January 1961, at Carnegie Hall benefit concert for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with Sy Oliver (left) conducting. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis also participated.
On July 4, 1991, Sinatra, at the age of 75, wrote an opinion piece that ran in the Los Angeles Times and summed up one of his life’s major social concerns – race relations:
“[W]hy do I still hear race- and color-haters spewing their poisons?… Why do I still flinch at innuendoes of venom and inequality? Why do innocent children still grow up to be despised? Why do haters’ jokes still get big laughs when passed in whispers from scum to scum? …Why do so many among us continue in words and deeds to ignore, insult and challenge the unforgettable words of Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence’s promise to every man, woman and child — the self-evident truth that all men are created equal?”
Sinatra passed away in 1998, ten years before the election of Barak Obama. Yet, had he be around at the time, he might well have returned to the Democrats and supported Obama.
Rat Pack Postscript
1965: Rat Packers D. Martin, S. Davis & F. Sinatra with Johnny Carson subbing for J. Bishop in St. Louis.
The Rat Pack had their glory days mostly in the early- and mid-1960s. Thereafter, there were occasional reunions, benefit shows, some continued film making, and revival tours involving one or more of the group. Some of these gigs involved guest participants, as with Johnny Carson in 1965, shown at left. A few of their later reunion attempts even extended into the 1980s. As individual performers, however, the Rat Packers of the 1960s pretty much went their separate ways in later years. And for the most part, each fared moderately well, at least initially.
Feb 7, 1960: Peter Lawford & Sammy Davis, Jr. on stage at Four Chaplin’s Benefit, Las Vegas Convention Center. Photo, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Peter Lawford had appeared in the film the Longest Day in 1962 and two Rat Pack- related films with Sammy Davis –Salt and Pepper (1968)and One More Time (1970). He also had some continuing success on his own in film and on television series in the 1970s. But things began unraveling for him after his divorce from Patricia Kennedy in February 1966. They had four children together.
Lawford, who liked the ladies and partying, married three more times after Pat Kennedy, each time to a woman half his age. Lawford died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve 1984 of cardiac arrest complicated by kidney and liver failure after years of drug and alcohol abuse.
Best of Sammy Davis collection on 20th Century Masters CD, 2002.
Sammy Davis had continued success in Las Vegas through the 1960s, as well as in film and on stage. During his career, Davis appeared in 39 movies, four Broadway plays, and released some 47 albums and 38 singles. His 1962 song, “What Kind of Fool Am I,” was Grammy-nominated for both song of the year and best male solo performance. In the Broadway musical Golden Boy of 1964 he received a Tony nomination for best actor. He would also host his own TV show on NBC in 1966 and had top music hits, such as “I’ve Gotta Be Me” in 1968-69 and “Candy Man” in 1972. Davis also had film and TV roles through the 1970s and 1980s. After reuniting with Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1987, Davis toured with them and Liza Minnelli internationally. Davis, who suffered from throat cancer, succumbed to the disease in May 1990. He was 64 years old. At his death, Davis was in debt to the IRS and his estate was the subject of legal battles. On May 18, 1990, two days after Davis’ death, the neon lights of the Las Vegas strip were darkened in tribute to him.
DVD cover for collection of Dean Martin’s TV shows, 1965-1974.
Apart from the performing and films he did with Sinatra and other Rat Packers, Dean Martin had his own successful film, singing, and TV career. His 1964 song “Everybody Loves Somebody” was a million-selling top hit. In fact, between 1964 and 1969 Martin released 11 albums that were certified “gold,” which at the time meant sales of more than 500,000 each. All eleven of Martin’s albums were recorded for Reprise, a label founded by Sinatra in which Martin was an investor. Martin also had a sizeable holding of RCA stock. Martin released his final Reprise album, Once In A While, in 1978. Thereafter recording became less prominent in his career. In television, The Dean Martin Show, a variety-comedy series in which he starred, ran from 1965 to 1974 for 264 episodes, often in the top ten. Following that series, The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, which he hosted for NBC, and during which Martin and friends would “roast” a celebrity, ran from 1974 to 1984. A late 1980s tour with Sinatra and Sammy Davis was attempted, but did not go well. Martin gave some of his last solo performances in Las Vegas at Bally’s Hotel in 1990. A life-long smoker, he was diagnosed with lung cancer at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in September 1993. Dean Martin died at home on December 25, 1995. He was 78 year old.
Joey Bishop, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin during a Rat Pack stage act in the 1960s.
In the 1950s, Frank Sinatra asked comic Joey Bishop to become his opening act. Soon thereafter, he was opening regularly for Sinatra and also began finding work in first-rate clubs even when Sinatra was not on the bill. After becoming a member of the Rat Pack, he also became a Sinatra loyalist. In mid-1960, Bishop received an invitation from then vice president Richard Nixon to perform at the Republican Convention, which he turned down. Bishop would later acknowledge Sinatra’s help in his his career, including roles in Rat Pack movies. Bishop appeared in 14 films, including Ocean’s Eleven and Sergeants 3, and served as master of ceremonies at JFK’s inaugural gala. However, Bishop felt he was more mascot than full-fledged Rat Pack member, revealed in a 2002 biography by Michael Seth Starr titled, Mouse in the Rat Pack. Still, Sinatra regarded Bishop as central to the Rat Pack’s success, crediting him with writing most Rat Pack jokes and quips, material assumed to be ad-libbed, but much of which was actually scripted. Bishop also went on to star in two of his own TV shows, a sit com on NBC (1961-65) and a late night talk show ABC (1967-1969), both called The Joey Bishop Show. Regis Philbin got his start as Bishop’s sidekick on the later talk show. Joey Bishop died of heart failure in October 2007. He was 89 and at the time, the last surviving member of the 1960s Rat Pack.
Frank Sinatra on the cover of Newsweek, September 6, 1965.
For nearly three decades beyond his Rat Pack years, Frank Sinatra had a full recording, acting, and performing career. His recordings alone — with some 296 singles and 69 albums – span almost 60 years. He began his professional singing career in the 1940s with the Harry James and Tommy Dorsey orchestras. Singers in the 1940s began to manipulate the microphone for detail and nuance, and Sinatra learned to do it better than most. And throughout his career, Sinatra would become a master of rhythm, timing, and phrasing and also re-interpreting older standards. By the mid-1940′s he had become a successful solo artist and had made his film acting debut. He would win a Golden Globe and Academy Award for his 1953 performance in From Here to Eternity, and would later win other Academy and Grammy Awards for his music.
Frank Sinatra on 2008 U.S. postage stamp.
In television, from the 1950s through the 1970s, he hosted both his own variety shows and various TV specials, winning an Emmy for the November 1965 special, Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music. In addition to other songs, Sinatra’s “My Way” of 1969 – a song written by Paul Anka with Sinatra in mind – became a blockbuster hit on the U.S. and U.K. music charts, especially in the U.K, where it stayed inside the Top 40 for 75 weeks, from April 1969 to September 1971.
Sinatra flirted with retirement briefly in the early 1970s, but by 1973 had a gold-selling album and a television special. He also returned to live performing Las Vegas and elsewhere. Still recording in his later years, in 1993 he recorded Duets, an album of old standards he made with other prominent artists which became a best seller. Sinatra died May 14,1998, he was 82 years old. Included among the many honors he received over the years were: Kennedy Center Honors in 1983, the earlier-mentioned Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, and a Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Sinatra was also the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards during his career, including the Grammy Trustees Award, the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The U.S. Postal Service issued a 42-cent stamp in his honor in May 2008.
Murray Schumach, “Hollywood Pauses in Mourning; Industry Deeply Feels Loss of Its Friend, President Kennedy; Sincere Affection Testimonial,” New York Times, December 1, 1963.
Sammy Davis, Jr., and Jane & Burt Boyar, Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis, Jr., New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965.
Laura Deni, “Retirement Isn’t The Life For Francis Albert,” Billboard, Nov. 24, 1973, p. FS-3.
Benjamin C. Bradlee, Conversations With Kennedy, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1975.
John Rockwell, Sinatra: An American Classic, New York: Random House, 1984.
Anthony Summers, “JFK, RFK, And Marilyn Monroe: Power, Politics And Paramours?,” The Sun-Sentinel(Fort Lauderdale, Florida), October 27, 1985.
Kitty Kelley, His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra, New York: Bantam, 1986.
Anthony Summers, Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, New York: Onyx, 1986.
Patricia Seaton Lawford with Ted Schwarz, The Peter Lawford Story, New York: Carol & Graf, 1988.
Sammy Davis, Jr., and Jane & Burt Boyar, Why Me? The Story of Sammy Davis, Jr., New York: Warner, 1990.
James Spada, Peter Lawford: The Man Who Kept The Secrets, New York: Bantam, 1991.
Nick Tosches, Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams, New York: Doubleday, 1992.
WGBH, Boston, “The Kennedys: John F. Kennedy, 35th President,” PBS.org, 1992/1998.
Stephen Holden, “Dean Martin, Pop Crooner And Comic Actor, Dies at 78,” New York Times, December 26, 1995.
Nancy Sinatra, Frank Sinatra: An American Legend, Santa Monica: General Publishing Group, 1995.
Guy Rocha, former Nevada State Archivist, “Myth #21 – Marilyn Monroe: Mystery and Myth,” Nevada State Library & Archives (originally appeared in Sierra Sage, Carson City/ Carson Valley, Nevada, September 1997; repeated May 2006 ).
Thomas Powers, “The Sins of a President” (Review of The Dark Side of Camelot, By Seymour M. Hersh), New York Times, November 30, 1997.
Bernard Weinraub, “Requiem for Rats: Ring-a-Ding-Ding, Baby,” New York Times, April 13, 1998.
Stephen Holden, “Frank Sinatra Dies at 82; Matchless Stylist of Pop,” New York Times, May 16, 1998.
Shawn Levy, Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey, and the Last Great Showbiz Party, New York: Broadway Books/Random House, 1998.
Karlyn Barker, “Masterful Singer, Chorus of Praise,” Washington Post, Saturday May 16, 1998, p. A-1.
Richard Harrington, “Frank Sinatra, on the Record,” Washington Post, Sunday, May 17, 1998, p. G-1.
David Montgomery and Jeff Leen, “The Sinatra Files: Forty Years of the FBI’s Frank Talk,” Washington Post, Dec. 9, 1998, p. A-1.
A&E, Documentary Film Series, Vol. 4, “Camelot and Beyond,” The Rat Pack: True Stories of the Original Kings of Cool, 1999.
Omega watch magazine ad of 2009 using JFK image and quote, ‘We choose to go to the moon,’ and also commemorating the 40th anniversary of the American moon landing .
Well, perhaps not pitchman – but awfully close. The image and words of John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, have been used recently in a 2009 advertising campaign to sell Omega Speed- master watches. JFK’s image is there, big as life, as seen in the sample magazine ad copy at right that ran in the August and September 2009 editions of Wired maga- zine, among others. JFK is also shown in a TV version of the ad that uses historical film footage of a 1962 speech he gave (clip below). The magazine and TV spots were created around the 40th anniversary of the American landing on the Moon and the Apollo space program that Kennedy initiated.
Still, in the Omega ads, Kennedy is the all-important center of attention. No, he doesn’t endorse the product; doesn’t say anything remotely connected to a watch, although a watch is clearly shown. Kennedy’s presence in the ad, however, is quite enough. It’s an endorsement by association, which is obviously what Omega intended. In fact, the company says as much in an April 2009 press release: “Omega is basing a worldwide campaign for its iconic Speedmaster chronograph watches around a photograph of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.”
Omega Speedmaster watches have history with the U.S. space program; the Omega Speedmaster Professional was the official watch tested and approved by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for use by U.S. astronauts in the 1960s. In fact, a few of the watches eventually made their way to the moon with astronauts wearing them – a claim made in the upper portion of the ad in the small print beneath the Omega logo: “The first and only watch worn on the moon. 20 July 1969.” This ad isn’t using astronauts, however, but rather a famous president whose name and image in print – and voice in the TV clip – summon up a lot more than just the moon program.
Close-up of JFK Library drawing used in Omega ad.
Omega, of course, obtained all the requisite permissions to use the JFK material from the rights holders – in this case, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston. It is presumed there was some kind of compen- sation involved for the use of the material, but no amount has been revealed publicly. There does appear to have been some kind of agreement for including the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on the advertising copy, as there is a small drawing of the library building in the lower lefthand corner of the ad with a note urging readers to “learn more” by visiting the JFK Library at their website, www.jfklibrary.org.
Kennedy first proposed that the nation launch a major undertaking to reach the Moon in a May 1961 address to Congress, saying: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him back safely to the earth.” Later, in 1962 speech at Rice University, he reiterated the nation’s commitment to that goal. Omega watches became involved in the space program with Astronaut Gordon Cooper’s launch on May 15th, 1963, when the Speedmaster watch was approved by NASA for use on all of its manned flights, including the six lunar landings. When Apollo 11 landed on the Moon on July 21st, 1969, Omega watches went there as well, one in the landing craft and one on Buzz Aldrin’s wrist when he joined Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Thus the company’s claim, “the first and only watch worn on the Moon.” More detail about the history and use of Omega watches in the Apollo program can be found in an article at the Lunar Surface Journal website and also at OmegaWatches.com.
The video spot Omega used in its 2009 advertising campaign is a 30-second piece that excerpts images and words from Kennedy’s September 1962 speech at Rice University in Houston, Texas. “…We choose to go to the moon…,” Kennedy says, as a portion of his speech is shown. “We choose to go to the moon and do the other things before the end of this decade not because they are easy, but because they are hard…” Cut to Apollo rocket launch. Then cut to final frame with an Omega Speedmaster Watch that zooms up large to fill the screen. This is followed by credit lines and a brief glimpse of the JFK library drawing similar to the one in the print ad with the words, “Learn more. www.jfklibrary.org…”
Omega’s JFK ad campaign went out internationally as well as within the U.S., part of a larger effort by the company to increase its exposure worldwide. The print ads and TV spots ran in the summer of 2009, July through September. Omega was then offering its Speedmaster Professionals in two special, limited editions – “40th Anniversary Apollo 11 Moonwatches” – a stainless steel version with a limited run of 7,969 produced, and another 18-karat yellow gold version with 69 produced. Each watch would bear special engraving commemorating the lunar landing and also the numbered edition of each watch.
Some may rightly wonder if Omega was exploiting America’s famous past president by hawking their watches on his good name and image, as well as the U.S. space program’s seminal accomplishment. Rachel Day, a spokeswoman for the group that runs the JFK Library, told the New York Times she was unaware of any prior sanctioned use of Kennedy’s image for commercial purposes. Then why start with watches?
Horizontal version of the JFK Omega watch ad, 2009.
Omega officials, for their part, say they were trying to tap into the history of the event and the significance of the accomplishment. “It was an unbelievable achievement,” Stephen Urquhart, president at the Omega division of the Swatch Group, told the New York Times in June 2009, referring to the moon landing – “probably the most important scientific achievement of the last century.” Urquhart also suggested that the Omega ad was in part an attempt to revive history, although he acknowledged, “with so much going on in the world today, it’s not easy to revive memories, and some people have for- gotten.” Still, his company found that even for “the younger generation, it rings an emotional bell” because of the historic nature of the event. The September 2009 issue of Wired magazine – a magazine popular with young, upwardly mobile technology readers – carried the horizontal version of the Kennedy ad spread across two full pages in the magazine’s front section.
Still, there were a few observers on the web who did comment on the Kennedy-Omega advertising – this by no means an exhaustive survey of such comment, much of which seemed more focused on watch styles and quality. One writer noted a potential conflict between politics and marketing. “I don’t really mind the celebrity endorsements or JFK, as a man,” he wrote. “I just find it odd that Omega chose a politician in their ad. Politics are a very sensitive matter and having a political figure, past or present, is not a good idea from a marketing perspective.” He acknowledged, however that Omega was trying to tap into historic aspect of JFK and the space program. Another writer named Brittany, added: “…While the ad is done in a pretty tasteful manner, I can’t help but think of the implications it has on JFK’s public image, advertising and what it says in general about the use of the deceased to sell (largely non-beneficial) wares. I always feel a bit uneasy when images of people who have passed away are used in advertisements – even if their likeness is being used primarily to evoke the aura of an era long-gone…”
Omega & Apollo Astronauts Using Watch
Apollo 8 Bill Anders
Apollo 8 Jim Lovell
Apollo 10 Tom Stafford
Apollo 11 Neil Armstrong
Apollo 11 Mike Collins
Apollo 12 Dick Gordon
Apollo 13 Fred Haise
Apollo 14 Alan Shepard
Apollo 14 Ed Mitchell
Apollo 15 Al Worden
Apollo 15 Jim Irwin
Apollo 17 Ron Evans
_________________________ * Not a complete list. Source: “Flown Omega Speedmaster Pro-
fessional Chronographs Currently on Public
Display,” Lunar Surface Journal, 2004.
Comedian Jon Stewart appears to have noticed Kennedy’s use in the ad, too. In a send up he did on the moon landing’s 40th anniversary on the July 20, 2009 Daily Show, Stewart showed clips of the moon activity, astronauts, and Kennedy’s speech, quipping at one point about “that guy from the Omega watch ad,” among other things.
In any case, the history of NASA’s involvement with Omega watches suggests that the technical merits of the watch, and the ease of its use and preference by the astronauts in the Apollo program, were the factors that convinced NASA in the 1960s to use it in the program. And as Omega notes at its website, NASA made its decision to use the watches quite independent of any arm-twisting from Omega. Still, in terms of advertising copy, it’s plain to see that ads featuring former President John F. Kennedy’s speech and image would be a lot more evocative and appealing to prospective magazine readers and TV viewers than alternatives that might have featured the watch’s scientific or technical performance in space.
January 1961 Life magazine photo of JFK with wife Jacqueline at inaugural ball.
Omega & Kennedy
Omega also has another connection with Kennedy – and another watch it marketed in association with his name. In 1960, a friend and political donor of Kennedy’s, Grant Stockdale, gave then-senator John Kennedy an Omega Ultra Thin watch. That watch was later seen on Kennedy’s wrist in a photograph taken of Kennedy during his January 20th, 1961 presidential inauguration – a photo published in the January 27th edition of Life magazine. Years later, in December 2005, Omega bought the actual watch that Kennedy wore for $350,000 at an auction, and it is now in the Omega Museum in Biel, Switzerland. Also coming along with that watch was an original letter from Jacqueline Kennedy who wrote to Grant Stockdale thanking him for the watch, calling it the “thinnest most elegant wristwatch” and also commenting on how much her husband liked it compared to a more “chunky little one” that she had given him.
In 2008, Omega decided to sell some commemorative editions of this watch, which they dubbed the “Kennedy Omega Ultra Thin.” This watch, designed to look like the original JFK watch — which Omega says Kennedy wore throughout most of his presidency – went on sale in mid-2008, limited to 261 numbered commemorative pieces. Each watch came with an 18-k gold case, black leather strap, and the gold “Omega” stamp and logo. They were priced at $8,250 each.
In addition to former U.S. Presidents, Swatch’s Omega brand has also associated with a number of celebrities in recent years who have helped the company sing the praises of its watches around the world, in both advertising campaigns and personal appearances. Omega calls its celebrity spokespersons “ambassadors,” and at last count there were some 14 or so famous and near-famous from the worlds of sport, Hollywood and elsewhere doing their part for Omega watches. Among Omega’s “ambassadors” as of mid-2009 were: Olympic swimmers Michael Phelps of the U.S., Massimiliano Rosolino of Italy, and Alexander Popov of Russia; pro golfers Sergio Garcia of Spain and Michelle Wie of the U.S.; yachtsman Dean Barker of New Zealnd who led his team to an Americas Cup; film stars George Clooney, Nichole Kidman, Daniel Criag (James Bond), Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha), Abhishek Bachchan (Bollywood actor, India); supermodel Cindy Craw- ford; racecar driver Michael Schumacher; U.K. yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, the youngest person to circumnavigate the earth in a solo yacht race; and Eugene Cernan, the last astronaut to walk on the Moon.
The Swatch Group
Omega is part of the Swatch Group, a Swiss company that is the world’s largest watch manufacturer. It was formed in 1983 through the merger of two Swiss companies, ASUAG and SSIH, taking the name Swatch in 1998. The company produces some 19 watch brands, and came to be known in part for its colorful plastic Swatch watches, as well as higher-end brands such as Breguet, Blancpain and Omega. Other of its brand-name watches include: Jaquet Droz, Glashütte Original, Union Glashütte, Léon Hatot, Omega SA, Tiffany & Co., Rado, Longines, Tissot, Calvin Klein, Certina, Mido, Pierre Balmain, Hamilton, Flik Flak and Endura.
In 2007, gross sales of the Swatch Group were in the neighborhood of 6 billion Swiss francs making it the equivalent of a Fortune 400 company or better. Beyond watches and their components, Swatch has also ventured into high technology, fabricating microprocessors, smartcard technol- ogy, portable telephones, and other future-oriented designs. It has also produced wrist- watches that double as telephones and credit cards. In October 1998, Swatch debuted a novel small-car venture with Daimler-Benz called the Smart car, a project from which Swatch later withdrew.
Swatch is no stranger to self promotion and pushing its wares. In 1996, when the company was aggressively pushing for attention and market share in the U.S. market, it opened a mega-store on New York’s 5th Avenue, became the official timekeeper to the Olympic Games in Atlanta that summer, and also mounted a giant Swatch watch in New York’s Times Square to count down the year minute-by-minute on the way to 1997. In 2008, a big part of its strategy in China came with its sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and securing rights as the official timekeeper at the Games. In the runup to the Games, Swatch placed a giant ‘Olympic Countdown Clock’ in Tiananmen Square. The company reportedly spent something in the neighborhood of $100 million in connection with its sponsorship and promotions during the games. Swatch and its various brands also use various celebrities from the world of sport and cinema to advertise its products. (see sidebar).
George Clooney is among the Omega “ambassadors” doing advertising for the company. This ad includes the wording “George Clooney’s choice” just above the featured watch.
In 2009, as part of its Moon landing advertising and promotion, Omega also featured former astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Eugene Cernan, along with NASA engineer James Ragan, in press and other events in various cities around the world. In June 2009, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and NASA engineer James Ragan appeared with Omega president Stephen Urquhart, to open an Omega-sponsored exhibition at the Hong Kong Space Museum celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. This same group also appeared a few days earlier in Tokyo, Japan for a press event at the Omega boutique store in the Ginza Prefecture to commemorate the Moon landing. Earlier in June, Buzz Aldrin had appeared separately at an Omega press event and VIP cocktail party in New York City at the company’s 5th Avenue store. Also in June, astronaut Eugene Cernan, the former astronaut and the last man to walk on the Moon, was in Portugal and Spain to help Omega launch its Speedmaster Apollo 11 “40th Anniversary ” limited-edition watches.
2003 edition of JFK book, published by Harper-Collins.
Profiles in Courage is the name of a Pulitzer Prize- winning book by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy written in 1954 and 1955 while he was a U.S. Senator. The book chronicles acts of bravery and integrity in the careers of eight U.S. Senators in American history. Profiles in Courage became a best-seller and was ground-breaking in its day, becoming one of the first books used to advance a political career aimed at the White House. Yet apart from its politics, Profiles in Courage remains popular, not only for its attachment to the Kennedy legacy, but also as an important book on political courage and U.S. Senate history. Sometimes forgotten is the fact that Kennedy’s book also spawned a Peabody Award-winning television series in 1964. Profiles in Courage also had numerous print runs including a 50th anniversary edition in 2004, inspired several new books and ongoing research on the history of political courage, and also led to the creation of the “Profiles in Courage” award, given annually since 1990.
“Jack” Kennedy was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1946 as a Congressman from Massachusetts. He was 29 years old at the time. In 1952, he ran for and won a U.S. Senate seat. However, as a freshman Senator in 1954 and 1955, Kennedy took leave from the Senate to recover from surgery to treat a perennial back problem. It was during this period that he undertook Profiles in Courage. In the book, the senators that Kennedy profiled were mavericks of a kind who took courageous stands or stood apart from the safe and conventional norms of their day. They crossed party lines, defied their constituents, or ran counter to public opinion to do what they felt was right. Among Kennedy’s featured senators were: John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Sam Houston, Edmund G. Ross, Lucius Lamar, George Norris, and Robert A. Taft. Each of these, and others Kennedy mentions in his book, suffered severe criticism and losses in popularity because of the particular stance or action each took, which was the point of Kennedy’s “courage” argument.
Early paperback edition of JFK book.
Becoming A Best-Seller
By the late fall of 1955, advance notice of the book’s publication began appearing in some national newspapers. Kennedy himself also penned a long piece in the New York Times Magazine in December 1955 that previewed the book’s themes. On Sunday, January 1st, 1956, the book was reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review along with a large photo of Kennedy. Cabell Philips, the reviewer, noting that politicians themselves often criticized their own profession, wrote: “it is refreshing and enlightening to have a first rate politician write a thoughtful and persuasive book about political integrity.” Profiles in Courage generally received good reviews and was widely acclaimed. It became a best seller and remained on the best-sellers’ list for some 95 weeks. The book gave Kennedy a certain political gravitas and national recognition he did not have before, lifting him from the ranks of unknown senators. And the book’s arrival was well-timed too, as 1956 was a presidential election year; a time when national political campaigns were in full swing.
The book gave Kennedy a certain political gravitas and national recognition he did not have before, lifting him from the ranks of unknown senators.
Although Kennedy was not a presidential candidate in 1956, he took center stage for a time at the Democratic National Convention that August in Chicago. Political conventions then were just beginning to receive more coverage by television. NBC, for example, pre-empted its day time soap operas and assigned two of its reporters, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, to co-anchor the convention coverage. Kennedy, meanwhile, gave the nomination speech for Adlai Stevenson, who became the party’s presidential nominee. Stevenson liked Kennedy and thought about making the young senator his running mate, but decided instead to throw open the nomination for Vice President to the entire convention. Several candidates were then vying for the VP slot: Senator Hubert Humphrey, Senator Al Gore, Sr., Senator Estes Kefauver, and Kennedy. All mounted instant campaigns on the floor of the convention. Some of Kennedy’s campaign paraphernalia tagged him as “a profile in courage.”
JFK VP campaign button at the 1956 Democratic Convention tagging him a 'Profile in Courage'.
The scramble for convention votes among the candidates proved dramatic with television capturing a series of roll-call ballots. Three separate ballots were needed. On the second ballot, Kennedy led 618 to 551½. At one point, the Chicago Daily News reported that Kennedy and Kefauver were tied, each falling short of the number to nominate. Kennedy then came to the floor and asked for Kefauver to be put on the ticket by acclamation. Stevenson, watching on TV at his hotel, was reportedly disappointed in the outcome. In the general election that followed that fall, the Stevenson-Kefauver ticket was crushed by the re-election of President Dwight Eisenhower and his running mate, Richard Nixon. For Kennedy, however, the national exposure he had received at the convention provided a springboard for 1960. Kennedy biographer James MacGregor Burns would write of the Kennedy’s vice presidential bid at the convention: “The dramatic race had glued millions to their television sets. Kennedy’s near-victory and sudden loss . . . struck at people’s hearts in living rooms across the nation. In this moment of triumphant defeat, his campaign for the  presidency was born.” One of those who watched on TV was a young Bill Clinton in Arkansas, who years later recalled: “The Kennedy-Kefauver thing, oh, yeah. I remember that,” he said, “– and Kennedy’s gracious concession speech.”
Kennedy featured on Time cover, Dec 2, 1957, with cover story, 'Democrat's Man Out Front'.
In 1957, following the election, Kennedy began his unofficial campaign for the White House as he continued his duties in the U.S. Senate. Among fellow Democrats in the Senate who were also presidential contenders at the time were Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey. Profiles in Courage, meanwhile, returned to the news in May 1957 as the book picked up a Pulitzer prize. The award came as something of surprise, however, as the Pulitzer board rejected the jury nominations and gave the prize instead to Kennedy’s book. In fact, a few critics charged that Kennedy’s father had been involved behind the scenes on his son’s behalf. New York Times columnist Arthur Krock, a friend of Joe Kennedy’s, boasted that he had lobbied hard for the Kennedy book. But no evidence of impropriety was found Through 1957, Kennedy continued to travel the country, with numerous speaking engagements. He appeared on the cover of Time magazine’s December 2nd, 1957 issue, with the feature story, “Democrat’s Man Out Front.” About that same time, however, some charges surfaced that Profiles in Courage had been written by others working with Kennedy. On December 7, 1957, syndicated columnist Drew Pearson, interviewed on TV by Mike Wallace, said the book was ghostwritten for Kennedy, suggesting that Kennedy’s aide, Ted Sorensen, had written much of the book. Kennedy did not take kindly to the charge and hired lawyer Clark Clifford, who produced Kennedy’s handwritten notes and statements from people saying they had seen Kennedy working on the book. Sorenson also denied the allegation and signed an affidavit attesting to Kennedy’s authorship.
John Kennedy, before he entered politics, had aspired briefly to a career in journalism and had written on history and public policy. As a student at Harvard in the 1930s, Kennedy had studied international relations and history. In his senior year, he wrote a college thesis that examined the failures of the British government to take steps to prevent World War II, entitled “Appeasement in Munich.” Kennedy’s paper did not castigate Britain’s appeasement policy, and suggested that an earlier confrontation between the U.K. and Nazi Germany might have been more disastrous in the long run. That paper was written in the spring of 1940.
Kennedy’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., looking out for his son’s political future, was able to get that senior thesis paper released from Harvard and had it published as a book. Joseph Kennedy, as ambassador to Britain, had supported Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement during the late 1930s, which many believe cost the senior Kennedy his own political career. At any rate, John Kennedy graduated from Harvard with a degree in international affairs in June 1940. A month later, his thesis was published by Willard Funk, Inc., in New York in July 1940 as Why England Slept – a play on Winston Churchill’s 1938 title, While England Slept, which also examined the buildup of German power.
Although there has been a long running dispute over how much of Profiles in Courage Jack Kennedy actually wrote, it does appear that he formulated the idea, wrote a number of memos on the project, did oversee the book’s structure and production, and did write and/or dictate much of it. Wife Jacqueline also appears to have contributed to the concept for the book, and helped engage the research and writing assistance of a history professor at Georgetown University named Jules Davids, whom she had met taking his history course. Library of Congress researchers also assisted Kennedy, as they would any Senator requesting background research from the Library. But because of his back problem – according to one of Kennedy’s secretaries at the time, Gloria Sitrin – Kennedy could not sit for long periods of time writing or typing, and instead, dictated much of the material. Still, Ted Sorensen, Kennedy’s assistant, is believed by many to have written at least some of the book, while others say he only provided research and constructive editing. In any case, in the final book, Kennedy acknowledged all of these participants and contributors.
About a week after the allegation had been aired by Pearson, ABC executive Oliver Treyz read a retraction of the charge on the air of Wallace’s December 14th TV show. The statement was reprinted in the New York Times, Sunday December 15th, as follows: “I wish to state that this company [ABC] has inquired into the charge made by Mr. Pearson and has satisfied itself that such charge is unfounded and that the book in question was written by Senator Kennedy.” Kennedy had also acknowledged Sorensen’s involvement in the book, crediting him in the preface and also acknowledging other contributions. Kennedy and Sorensen insisted that Kennedy was the book’s author and the initial controversy died down, although it would emerge again years later. Kennedy, meanwhile, was re-elected to a second term in the U. S. Senate in 1958 by a wide margin, and continued to draw national attention through the Democratic front runner for the White House. In January 1960, he formally declared his bid for the Presidency. During the campaign, and after Kennedy won the election, there was continuing interest in Profiles in Courage. By the time of Kennedy’s Presidential inauguration in January 1961, the book was being prepared for sale as a Pocket Books paperback. A young reader’s edition was also produced in March 1961. By then, Profiles in Courage had sold 2 million copies since its original 1956 publication.
In June 1963, midway into Kennedy’s presidential term, the television rights for Profiles in Courage were sold for an estimated $3.5 million (1963 dollars). The NBC television network planned to film and air a series of 26 hour-long TV programs based on the book. Several months later, however, national tragedy came with the president’s assassination in Texas in late November 1963. After Kennedy’s assassination, Harper & Row was besieged for copies of Profiles in Courage, with orders in excess of 10,000 copies by late November. A Perennial Library Memorial Edition of Profiles in Courage was prepared by Harper for 1964, which included a moving introduction by Kennedy’s brother and then U.S. Attorney General, Robert Kennedy.
Front-page New York Times story on the sale of JKF book for TV series, June 10, 1963.
The following year, in mid-November, the planned NBC television series, ”Profiles in Courage,” began airing on Sunday evenings. However, with 26 episodes, additional characters beyond those in Kennedy’s book were needed for the series. All of the additional characters subsequenlty profiled in the TV series had been previously approved by JFK. The producer of the TV show, Robert Saudek, was known for his serious television productions, and had also produced the much-praised OmnibusTV series as well as concerts by the New York Philharmonic. Saudek had a clear grasp of Kennedy’s message for the Profiles TV series. One of the additional historic politicians, for example, was that of Oscar Underwood, an Alabama Senator who in 1924 was in the running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Underwood, however, chose to condemn the Ku Klux Klan, losing southern support, thereby ruining his chances of winning the nomination and later losing his Senate seat and his political career.
Profiles in Courage-TV Episode List, 1964-1965
Episode Oscar W. Underwood
Mary S. McDowell
Thomas Hart Benton
Richard T. Ely
Gov. John M. Slaton
Robert A. Taft
Gen. A. Doniphan
John Peter Altgeld
Charles Evans Hughes
Edmund G. Ross
George W. Norris
John Quincy Adams
Judge Ben B. Lindsey
____________________ Aired on NBC, Sundays, 6:30-7:30pm.
Time magazine called the Profiles in Courage TV series “a bracing antidote to the plethora of two- dimensional tele- dramas in which tinsel laurels automatically crown the good guy.” The TV series ended in mid-1965, but received a Peabody Award for “distinguished and meritorious public service rendered by radio and television.” The book, meanwhile, remained in print and continued to be used in schools and beyond.
Award & New Books
The Profiles in Courage legacy, however, continued through the remainder of the 20th century and into the 21st Century. In 1989, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation established an award for political courage called “The Profile in Courage Award.” The annual award is made to recognize displays of political and moral courage similar to those that Kennedy originally wrote about in his book. It is given to individuals, and often elected officials, who have risked their careers or lives by pursuing a larger vision of the national, state, or local interest in opposition to popular opinion or pressure from constituents or other interests. Winners are selected by a bi-partisan committee named by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, which typically includes members of the Kennedy family as well as other prominent Americans. The award is generally made around the time of JFK’s birthday, May 29th. From the early 1990s, the award has been presented at the Kennedy Library in Boston by Kennedy family members, including JFK daughter Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Senator Ted Kennedy. In addition to honoring those with political courage, the award had also helped kindle continuing interest in the original book.
Former President Gerald Ford receiving 2001 Profile in Courage award from Caroline Kennedy & Senator Ted Kennedy.
In 2002, Caroline Kennedy gave the “profiles of courage” concept a new focus, teaming up with publisher Hyperion and serving as editor for a new book, Profiles in Courage for Our Time, offering a collection of essays profiling recent winners of the Profile in Courage award. In this book, award winners are profiled by a variety of writers, historians. and journalists, some of well-known stature such as Michael Beschloss, E. J. Dionne, Anna Quindlen, and Bob Woodward. Famous award winners, as well as lesser known recipients, are profiled in the book. Among some of the well-know recipients profiled, for example are: New Jersey Governor James Florio, former U.S. Senator Lowell Weicker, and former president Gerald Ford. Among the less well-known are activists and community heroes such as Corkin Cherubini, Nickolas C. Murnion, and Hilda Solis.
2005 book of essays on Profile of Courage award winners by Caroline Kennedy (ed).
In April 2006, a special 50th anniversary edition of Profiles in Courage was published by Harper. This special “P.S.”edition, as the publisher called it, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication and also included a number of extras, such as vintage photographs, an extensive JFK biography, Kennedy’s correspondence about the project, reviews of the book, a letter from Ernest Hemingway, and two speeches from recipients of the Profiles in Courage Award. Elsewhere in the Kennedy family, the “heroes theme” was also being explored by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who with publisher Hyperion in September 2007, launched the first of “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s American Heroes Series” of children’s books, Joshua Chamberlain and the American Civil War. A second book in the series, focusing on another Civil War hero, Robert Smalls, a slave who hijacked a Confederate steamer and turned it over to the Union Navy, and later became a U.S. Congressman, will be published by Hyperion in 2008.
50th anniversary trade paperback edition of JFK book issued by Harper-Perennial in 2007.
JFK’s Profiles in Courage, meanwhile, compiled quite a track record over more than 50 years. The book has had at least 65 printings, sold more than 3 million copies, and hit the bestsellers list three times: in the late 1950s when JFK was an up-and-coming Senator; after he was elected President in 1960-61; and following his assassination in 1963-64. The book also spawned a successful television series in 1964-65, inspired the annual Profiles in Courage Awards, and sparked new research and subsequent books on political integrity and the history of heroism. Whatever criticism may still linger about the JFK’s Profiles in Courage, there is no doubt that this book instigated an important concept and way of evaluating political courage, fostered a respectable progeny of good and useful history, and helped bring into the spotlight contemporary careers of exemplary public service and good works.
For additional stories at this website on Politics & Culture, or Celebrities & Icons, please visit those category pages, or go to the Home Page for other choices. Additional stories at this website related to JFK and other Kennedy family members are listed below in Sources. Thanks for visiting – and please consider supporting this website. Thank you. – Jack Doyle
Article Citation: Jack Doyle, “JFK’s Profiles in Courage, 1954-2008,” PopHistoryDig.com, February 11, 2008.
Sources, Links & Additional Information
Time magazine cover, November 24th, 1958, featuring seven “Democratic Hopefuls” then believed to be in the early running for their party’s 1960 presidential nomination: at top, Adlai Stevenson, former Illinois Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate (1952 and 1956); standing from left, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (MN), Senator Stuart Symington (MO), Senator Lyndon B. Johnson (TX); and seated, from left, New Jersey Governor, Robert Meyner, Senator John F. Kennedy (MA), and then California Governor-elect, Edmund "Pat" Brown.