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Tag: Cuba

Ernest Hemingway and the JFK Library

The JFK Presidential Library in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)

The JFK Presidential Library in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)

October is American Archives Month! We’re celebrating the work of archivists and the importance of archives with a series of blog posts about the Presidential libraries. The records created by Presidents while in office will become part of the National Archives, and eventually will be used by researchers. Here’s how it happens! 

Today’s post comes from Alley Jordan, graduate research intern for the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC.

Designed by I. M. Pei, the John F. Kennedy Library stands in Boston, Massachusetts. The library was originally supposed to be close to Harvard University in Cambridge but the site was moved to South Boston. Ground was broken on June 12, 1977, and the building was officially dedicated on October 20, 1979.

Among the library’s many Kennedy materials rest, strangely enough, manuscripts of the great American author Ernest Hemingway. The library’ Ernest Hemingway Collection contains 90 percent of Hemingway’s manuscripts.

Ernest Hemingway standing in his home at the Finca Vigia in Cuba, 1953. (Ernest Hemingway Collection, JFK Library)

Ernest Hemingway standing in his home at Finca Vigia in Cuba, 1953. (Ernest Hemingway Collection, JFK Library)

Hemingway and JFK bore no strong connection with one another. In fact, the JFK Library’s possession of the Ernest Hemingway Collection came about by sheer happenstance.

Following the Cuban Revolution, which began in 1953 and lasted until 1959, Hemingway left Cuba—his home for 20 years—and returned … [ Read all ]

JFK’s Cold War Calculations

ar206454-bOn April 20, 1961, exactly three months after his inauguration, President John F. Kennedy addressed the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) regarding the Bay of Pigs invasion. In his speech, Kennedy addressed one of the most crucial decisions of his presidency—his choice not to provide air cover for the 1,400 men of the Cuban exile brigade at the Bay of Pigs.


Although planning for the invasion began under the Eisenhower administration, President Kennedy opted to approve the operation upon taking office. But the invasion was doomed as soon as the CIA-trained exiles landed ashore in Cuba. The Soviet-supplied Cuban military was well equipped and had overwhelming resources in terms of manpower.


Once failure appeared imminent, military personnel and CIA officials scrambled to persuade Kennedy to deploy U.S. air cover in hopes of salvaging the operation. The President, however, refused to approve the direct military intervention sought by the advisors who had fully endorsed the invasion’s initial provisions.


In the end, Cuban forces easily defeated the undermanned exile brigade within three days. To make matters worse for Kennedy, U.S. involvement was undeniable and media coverage made the failure a highly publicized national issue.


In the aftermath of the invasion, the President moved quickly to justify his decision to approve the invasion but not to provide air cover. Speaking before the ASNE, Kennedy [ Read all ]