In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s an entertaining letter from JFK’s mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, to President Kennedy.
In 1962, Rose Kennedy wrote to Soviet Premier Khrushchev asking for an autographed photo. Learning that his mother had reached out to the Soviet Premier, JFK wrote her this letter asking her to please check with him before she took it upon herself to correspond with heads of state as requests like hers are “subject to interpretations.” The timing is interesting, considering JFK wrote back to Rose almost immediately after the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In response to this letter, Rose Kennedy wrote back, saying: “I understand very well your letter, although I had not thought of it before. …When I ask for Castro’s autograph, I will let you know in advance!”
From the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Papers/JFK Library
Boston Groundbreaking for the JFK Library
Kennedy family members break ground for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. June 12, 1977. Read more on the beginnings of Presidential Libraries.
On April 17, 1961, 1400 Cuban exiles launched what became a botched invasion at the Bay of Pigs on the south coast of Cuba.
The Cuban-exile invasion force, known as Brigade 2506, landed at beaches along the Bay of Pigs and immediately came under heavy fire.
Cuban planes strafed the invaders, sank two escort ships, and destroyed half of the exile’s air support. Bad weather hampered the ground force, which had to work with soggy equipment and insufficient ammunition. Read More
The declassified Top Secret pages shown here are from the Cuba Security Folder, 1961. It contains material collected by the office of President John F. Kennedy’s secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, concerning Cuba. All 124 pages can be viewed in the digital archive from the JFK Library.
The Kennedy Family at the Inauguration of Pope Pius XII
Today, foreign dignitaries gathered from around the world to watch Pope Francis be inaugurated as the 266th Pope of the Catholic church. As the Ambassador to Great Britain in 1939, Joseph Kennedy and his family attended the same event for Pope Pius XII.
Pictured here, the Kennedy family gathers for a quick photo-op before the ceremony. Pictured (left to right, back row) Patricia Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy, Rosemary Kennedy, (left to right, front row) an unidentified Vatican guard, Kathleen Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Rose Kennedy, Edward M. Kennedy, Jean Kennedy and unidentified Vatican guard.
-from the JFK Library
It’s Peace Corps Week
Peace Corps Week commemorates the date President John F. Kennedy signed the executive order to establish the Peace Corps, March 1, 1961.
Learn more about the Peace Corps and the Volunteers who are making a different in host countries around the world here.
Pictured: President Kennedy hands the pen used to sign the Peace Corps Act to his brother-in-law, R. Sargent Shriver, who he had designated as the Corps founding Director.
Marian Anderson was born on this day, February 27, 1897. The internationally renowned contralto opera singer sang the National Anthem at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.
Twenty two years earlier, Anderson’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial marked a watershed moment in the civil rights movement. Learn more about the concert, and the friendship between Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt here.
Photo: President Kennedy with Marian Anderson and her accompanist Franz Rupp in the Oval Office, White House. 3/22/62.
-from the JFK Library
President Kennedy was so moved by the enormous poverty he witnessed on the 1960 campaign trail in West Virginia that one of his first acts in office was to establish a three-year food-stamp program beginning in 1961.
Here he is at a February 1, 1961 press conference announcing the executive order.
-from the JFK Library
“We sincerely appreciate the many true Americans who insist on equal rights for all.”
Telegram to the White House, August 13, 1957
Jack Roosevelt Robinson (1919-72) was the first black man to “officially” play in the big leagues in the 20th century. In the course of a distinguished 10-year career beginning in 1947, Robinson led the Brooklyn Dodgers to six National League titles and one victorious World Series.
Beyond his many and baseball feats, Jackie Robinson went on to champion the cause of civil rights when he retired from the game. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson all received candid correspondence from Robinson on the need to act for civil rights.
Our holdings at the Presidential Libraries and National Archives include numerous records relating to Jackie Robinson. You can see a number of the telegrams and letters Robinson sent to the White House here.
Image: Telegram to the White House from Jackie Robinson regarding the 1957 Civil Rights Act from the Eisenhower Library.
January 31, 1919 - October 24, 1972