Today’s post is written by archivist Dr. Greg Bradsher.
When one thinks about President Kennedy’s naval career in World War II, what most often comes to mind is his command of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109.
Thanks to the 1963 movie PT 109, adapted from the 1961 book PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II by Robert J. Donovan, Kennedy’s wartime exploits with PT-109 were well-publicized and became part of the Kennedy legend (see Stephen Plotkins’s “Sixty Years Later, the Story of PT-109 Still Captivates” in the summer 2003 issue of Prologue.)
What few people realize is that after the loss of PT-109, Kennedy was given command of another boat: PT-59. Actually, the last scene in the movie PT 109 shows Kennedy and this boat sailing off into the sunset to begin new adventures on his path to the White House.
The story of Kennedy and PT-59 begins on the morning of August 2, 1943, in the Solomon Islands, when PT-109. Lt. (jg) John F. Kennedy, USNR, was in command when PT-109 was rammed by a Japanese destroyer and sunk. Kennedy and the surviving crew members were rescued on August 8, and Kennedy was then sent to Tulagi Island to recover.
But Kennedy was eager to get back into the fight, and he was soon was assigned to command PT-59. He reported … [ Read all ]
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
With all the hoopla over the upcoming release of the 1940 census on April 2, we haven’t really been thinking about facial hair all that much.
But then fellow National Archives staff member Jeannie (of the OurPresidents tumblr blog) sent me this photograph, and genealogy, facial hair, and St. Patrick’s Day all came together.
The mustachioed and bespectacled man to the left is Patrick J. Kennedy, the grandfather of President John F. Kennedy and—like many Americans—the child of Irish immigrants.
His mustache, while of Irish descent, was grown in the United States.
JFK’s great-grandfather was Patrick Kennedy. He left his work as a cooper in his hometown of Dunganstown, County Wexford, and made his way to the United States and settled in Boston.
In 1849, Patrick married another Irish immigrant, Bridget Murphy, who also came from County Wexford. But after just nine years of marriage, Patrick died and left Bridget a widow with four small children. The youngest was Patrick Joseph “P.J.” Kennedy, JFK’s grandfather.
P.J. continued the family line by marrying Mary Augusta Hickey, whose parents were also orginally from Ireland. The couple lived in East Boston and their son, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, was born on September 6, 1888. He was John F. Kennedy’s father.
Today’s guest post comes from David Coleman, associate professor at the University of Virginia and Chair of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center of Public Affairs.
On April 28, W.W. Norton will publish volumes 7 and 8 in the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson series. (The original tapes are in the holdings of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.) The volumes, which span June through July 4, 1964, were edited by Guian McKee, Kent Germany, and David Carter.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, the National Archives will host Dave Coleman, the editors, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Taylor Branch to discuss these latest books.
“That’s a good bill, and there’s no reason why you ought to keep a majority from beating it. If you can beat it, go on and beat it, but you oughtn’t to hold it up. You ought to give me a fair shake and give me a chance to vote on it.”
—LBJ to House Minority Leader Charles Halleck, 6:24 p.m., June 22, 1964
Behind-the-scenes discussions between the White House and Capitol Hill can be an essential piece of the puzzle in understanding how and why legislation was passed, rejected, or changed, or even a government shutdown averted. But they’re typically obscured from public view.
It’s easy enough to imagine what might have been
Posted by Hilary on April 26, 2011, under - Civil Rights, - Cold War, - Presidents, - Spies and Espionage, - The 1960s.
Tags: David Coleman, debt ceiling, JFK, LBJ, Miller Center, President Johnson, secret tapes, White House
We’re excited to pass the winning torch to our reader Michael P., whose caption met the high standard of our guest judge, National Archives editrix Maureen MacDonald.
Congratulations, Michael P! You can use your 30% discount at the Archives eStore to buy something to read by lantern light.
The actual caption on the photo in the Kennedy Library is “Garnett D. Horner, reporter for the Washington Star and the out-going president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, presents two silver lanterns to President John F. Kennedy at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, Sheraton-Park Hotel, Washington, D.C. The lanterns are replicas of the lanterns hung in the Old North Church of Boston on April 18 ,1775.” (Kennedy Library, photo by Abbie Rowe, AR6378-M)
Maureen, a Bay State native herself, gave Curtis P’s caption an honorable mention: “Now, Mr. President. I know you’re from Massachusetts, but I’m sure it’s ‘One if by land, two if by sea.’”
What’s the signal for bad weather in Massachusetts—and across the United States? Some of you are buried in snow, but these two ladies are ready for summer! Well, they’re ready for something. . . tell us what in the comments below!… [ Read all ]
Americans love Paris. They even ended the Revolutionary War by writing and signing the Treaty of Paris in that city on September 3, 1783.
War brought other Americans to Paris. Almost 150 years later, it was home to Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway’s experience in Paris was colored by war. He arrived in Paris during World War I and went to the Italian front, where he worked briefly as an ambulance driver until injured by mortar fire. He returned to Paris as a correspondent for the Toronto Star in the 1920s, and it was during this time he wrote The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms, novels inspired by those experiences.
He returned again to Europe during World War II, and was present at the D-day landings at Omaha Beach (although as a noncombatant, he did not go ashore.) He won the Nobel Prize for Literature for the Old Man and Sea in 1954, but ended his own life in 1961.
But before that, he loved Paris too. The proof is in his dashing moustache and his stylish beret, evidenced in this picture.
In the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, MA, there are thousands of pictures in the Hemingway Archives, which is part of the collection of the National Archives. Hemingway had been invited to Kennedy’s inauguration as part of a group of … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on September 3, 2010, under - World War II, Facial Hair Fridays.
Tags: american history, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway Archive, James Joyce, JFK, Kennedy Library, NARA, national archives, National archives and records administration, Norbel Prize, odd history, Paris, Pieces of History, prologue blog, Prologue magazine, random history, revolutionary war, weird US history, world war i