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Tag: John F. Kennedy

Reverse the (Zero) Curse

President Reagan looking at "Get Well Soon Mr. President" photo while at George Washington Hospital. 4/8/81. (Reagan Library)

President Reagan looking at "Get Well Soon Mr. President" photo while at George Washington Hospital. 4/8/81. (Reagan Library)

When Ronald Reagan survived the attempt on his life on March 30, 1981, and went on to serve two full four-year terms, he broke what some people call “the year-ending-in-zero” curse.

It goes like this: Every President elected in a year ending in zero since 1840 had died in office.

William Henry Harrison, elected in 1840, died after one month in office of pneumonia; he also was our shortest serving President. On his inauguration day, then on March 4, he gave a two-hour speech without hat or topcoat, then rode through the streets of Washington. He was succeeded by John Tyler. (Remember Tippecanoe and Tyler too!)

Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1860, was assassinated a month into his second term, on April 12, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth. He was succeeded by Andrew Johnson.

President Harrison was the first President to be stricken by the Zero-Year Curse (111-SC-92615; ARC 530961).

President Harrison was the first President to be stricken by the Zero-Year Curse (111-SC-92615; ARC 530961).

James A. Garfield, elected in 1880, was assassinated in 1881 after only 199 days in office, succeeded by Chester A. Arthur. William McKinley, elected in 1896 and reelected in 1900, was mortally wounded in September 1901 and died eight days later, succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.

Warren G. Harding, elected in 1920, died in 1923 of a heart attack … [ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

No, see right here, the lights should stay on even if one bulb goes out. They can also play Jingle Bells.

Jan Wilson, it’s been a long wait, but you can now claim the honor of being our last captioner of 2010 and our first declared winner of 2011. President Truman was a practical (and frugal) guy, so why wouldn’t he be able to step up and give tips on Christmas tree gadgetry?

As far as we know, though, on the occasion on which this picture was taken, the lights on the National Christmas Tree went on just as planned. This picture from from the Harry Truman Library is dated December 24, 1945—it’s interesting that the lighting took place so late in the season.

For this new contest, we turn to another President. Inspired by the 50th anniversary of JFK’s inauguration this month, we resume the Thursday photo caption contest with a picture from the John F. Kennedy Library.

jfk-lanterns

Insert your caption!

So now that we all have had time to recover from the holidays, get those brain cells working and give us your best so we can give you 30% off at the National Archives eStore. Start captioning right now in the comments section.… [ Read all ]

Sargent Shriver and his Peace Corps guerrillas

I am convinced that if, in the future, our country is to meet the unparalleled opportunity to win friends and advance the cause of peace and freedom, thousands of additional Americans will have to step forward and say, “I will serve.”
—from the statement of Robert Sargent  Shriver, given in Chicago, IL, on May 17, 1961

Sargent Shriver and President Kennedy greet Peace Corps Volunteers to Ghana and Tanganyika in the West Wing Collonade at the White House, August 28, 1961.

Sargent Shriver and President Kennedy greet Peace Corps volunteers to Ghana and Tanganyika in the West Wing Collonade at the White House, August 28, 1961. (Kennedy Library; ARC 194174)

Robert Sargent Shriver (1915–2011) lived a long and full life, fighting in World War II as a gunner on a Navy boat during the the Battle of Guadalcanal, serving as the ambassador to France in the late 1960s, and joining the extensive Kennedy clan when he married Eunice Kennedy in 1953. He also ran as the vice-presidential candidate with George McGovern against Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew in 1972.

But in the National Archives, Sargent Shriver’s legacy is the Peace Corps. Shriver served as the first Director of the Peace Corps from 1961 to 1966. A search in the OPA database yields numerous Peace Corps documents, including the statement below, describing Shriver’s trip to eight countries to speak with heads of state and the men and women on the street about the possibility of Peace Corps volunteers coming to live and work there.

Sargent Shriver … [ Read all ]