archiveblog.jfklibrary.org http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org Archivally Speaking Thu, 21 Jan 2016 19:59:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.11 Collection Opening: Lincoln Gordon Personal Papers http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2016/01/collection-opening-lincoln-gordon-personal-papers/ http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2016/01/collection-opening-lincoln-gordon-personal-papers/#comments Wed, 13 Jan 2016 01:02:18 +0000 http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/?p=3180  

by Jennifer Marciello and Christina Fitzpatrick, Processing Archivists

We are pleased to announce the opening of the Lincoln Gordon Personal Papers. Gordon served as U.S. Ambassador to Brazil (September 1961 – March 1966) in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He was known as an expert on Latin American culture, economy, and politics.

 

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by Jennifer Marciello and Christina Fitzpatrick, Processing Archivists

We are pleased to announce the opening of the Lincoln Gordon Personal Papers. Gordon served as U.S. Ambassador to Brazil (September 1961 – March 1966) in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He was known as an expert on Latin American culture, economy, and politics.

 

ST-45-1-62
JFKWHP-ST-45-1-62. President Kennedy and Ambassador Gordon talk in the Oval Office, 6 February 1962. View more about this picture here.

 

The collection contains a wide range of materials relating to Gordon’s professional career in government service, as well as his positions in academia and in non-profit research organizations. The papers also document Gordon’s life-long interest in the areas of business, economics, government, and Latin American politics (with a focus on Brazil) as well as his involvement in a variety of non-profit organizations and associations. Spanning the years 1931 to 2007, the collection comprises primarily chronological files, correspondence, subject files, speech files, photographs, office files, and appointment calendars.

Lincoln Gordon was born in New York City on September 10, 1913 and attended Harvard University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1933. Following his graduation, Gordon studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and obtained his Ph.D. in 1936; he then returned to Harvard as an instructor in government. During World War II and its aftermath, Gordon worked for a number of government agencies in Washington, D.C. and was stationed in Paris and London for several years. He was instrumental in the creation of the Marshall Plan to provide post-war economic aid to Europe. In between these government posts (during the 1950s) Gordon continued to teach at Harvard as a professor of international economic relations.

After the 1960 election, Gordon was appointed to President Kennedy’s Task Force on Latin America. In August 1961 he served as a delegate to the Inter-American Conference at Punta del Este, Uruguay, where the Alliance for Progress program was established. In September Gordon was named the United States Ambassador to Brazil. He remained in this position until March 1966, when he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.

 

LGPP-V001-008-p0001
LGPP-124-021. Letter from President Kennedy thanking Gordon for his work on the Latin America Task Force, 28 February 1961.

 

 

LGPP-V001-009-p0001

LGPP-142-008. Letter from Robert F. Kennedy congratulating Gordon on his new job at the State Department, 8 February 1966.

 

 

LGPP-V001-011-p0001
LGPP-142-013. Published Alliance for Progress declaration inscribed by President Johnson: “To Linc Gordon, with deep appreciation for your help in making the summit a success.”

 

 

LGPP-V001-021-p0001LGPP-219-013. Invitation from President Clinton to a symposium on the legacy of the Marshall Plan, 13 November 1995.

 

After leaving the State Department in June 1967, Gordon became the president of Johns Hopkins University. Student unrest and budgetary issues led to his resignation in March 1971. He returned to his scholarly research interests for the remainder of his career and worked at several non-profit think tanks. While at the Brookings Institution, he wrote the books Eroding Empire: Western Relations with Eastern Europe (1987) and Brazil’s Second Chance (2001). Gordon also worked at the CIA on the Senior Review Panel in the early 1980s. He passed away at the age of 96 on December 19, 2009.

A detailed guide to the Lincoln Gordon Personal Papers is available on our website.

 

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Mapping John F. Kennedy’s 1960 Presidential Campaign with Historypin http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/12/mapping-john-f-kennedys-1960-presidential-campaign-with-historypin/ http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/12/mapping-john-f-kennedys-1960-presidential-campaign-with-historypin/#comments Tue, 22 Dec 2015 23:12:52 +0000 http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/?p=3159  

by Nicola Mantzaris, White House Photographs Metadata Cataloger

As the 2016 election season gains momentum and we commemorate the fifty-sixth anniversary of the announcement of John F. Kennedy’s candidacy for President of the United States, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Historypin invite you to answer the question: “Did John F. Kennedy visit …

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by Nicola Mantzaris, White House Photographs Metadata Cataloger

As the 2016 election season gains momentum and we commemorate the fifty-sixth anniversary of the announcement of John F. Kennedy’s candidacy for President of the United States, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Historypin invite you to answer the question: “Did John F. Kennedy visit your town during his 1960 presidential campaign?”

We are pleased to announce that the Kennedy Library has teamed up with Historypin to create a map-based interface called “Mapping JFK’s 1960 Campaign,” giving users a new way to engage with archival materials from Senator John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign.

 

MainPageHistorypin Collection: Mapping JFK’s 1960 Campaign

 

“Mapping JFK’s 1960 Campaign” is an interactive project designed to encourage visitors not only to follow John F. Kennedy on the campaign trail, but also to make their own connections to the 1960 election year by contributing or “pinning” memories to the Historypin map. It’s free and easy to join the conversation. Simply create a Historypin account and start sharing photographs, videos, and other materials directly from your computer; or, add a link to an image on the Web. Each pin requires minimal information: title, date, and location (e.g., town, region, or street address). Add a personal story or some keyword tags to describe what your pin is about; but always remember to consider copyright and ownership before pinning something to the “Mapping JFK’s 1960 Campaign” collection.

Historypin geocodes digitized content by converting location data into geographic coordinates, which are then positioned onto Google Maps. With Google’s Street View technology, Historypin almost magically brings the past to the present in animated form. If you have an exact address for an outdoor photograph, you can pin it with the Street View overlay and watch the image dissolve from past to present, like this photograph of supporters outside the U.S. Post Office in Madison, Illinois:

 

HistorypinAnimatedGIF

 

For more information, and to watch a how-to video on pinning items to the collection, visit the “About the Collection” page.

The Kennedy Library also encourages you to explore what made John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign the first modern American political campaign. Connect with the local history of Senator Kennedy’s campaign by browsing the Historypin map. Witness the enthusiasm of supporters in Columbus, Ohio. Read a letter from an administrator at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) who was inspired by Senator John F. Kennedy’s improvised speech proposing the idea of a Peace Corps. Listen to Former Legislative Assistant Myer Feldman discuss the 1960 Wisconsin and West Virginia primaries in an oral history recorded in Washington, D.C. Or, see a schedule of events from the Senator’s visit to Los Angeles, days before he won the Democratic nomination and delivered one of his most famous speeches, asking Americans to meet the challenges of a New Frontier with invention, innovation, and imagination.

 

SWPC-JFK-C003-007SWPC-JFK-C003-007. Supporters of Senator John F. Kennedy Applaud his Arrival in Columbus, Ohio, 17 October 1960

 

 

UMichLetterLetter to Senator John F. Kennedy from W. Arthur Milne, Jr. regarding “Steps of the Union” Address at the Univ. of Michigan

 

FeldmanOHMyer Feldman Oral History Interview, 3/13/1966

 

ScheduleLosAngelesSchedule: Los Angeles, California, 10 July 1960

 

Like Historypin, many organizations within the archives and library communities are using geocoding tools to provide innovative ways in which their users may visualize and contextualize complex digital collections. “Mapping JFK’s 1960 campaign” comprises only a small subset of digitized content from the Library’s textual, audiovisual, and oral history holdings. By sharing this content with Historypin, the Kennedy Library hopes to reach new audiences and to deliver to its users a different type of experience.

With your help, we can build a national picture of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign and produce a new research tool for evaluating the timeline and geography of this historic campaign. We hope that you will contribute to the history of your town and share your stories with us!

 

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#ChristmasMiracle http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/12/christmasmiracle/ http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/12/christmasmiracle/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2015 23:34:29 +0000 http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/?p=3109  

by Laurie Austin, Audiovisual Reference Archivist and Stacey Chandler, Textual Reference Archivist

Reference Archivists love sharing the treasures in their collections, so when the National Archives’ Office of Presidential Libraries announced a Twitter chat about Presidential holiday traditions, textual archivist Stacey Chandler and audiovisual archivist Laurie Austin jumped at the chance to participate. The …

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by Laurie Austin, Audiovisual Reference Archivist and Stacey Chandler, Textual Reference Archivist

Reference Archivists love sharing the treasures in their collections, so when the National Archives’ Office of Presidential Libraries announced a Twitter chat about Presidential holiday traditions, textual archivist Stacey Chandler and audiovisual archivist Laurie Austin jumped at the chance to participate. The #POTUSchat on December 9 was a great opportunity for us to look beyond the few Christmas-themed documents and photographs that everyone knows, and find some hidden gems to share with the public!

 

 

 

 

 

One question we were lucky enough to get in advance: “How did the First Family do their Christmas shopping?” Until we started digging for an answer, we had no idea – but the first place to look was in the Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Personal Papers. We hit the archival jackpot when we found this FAO Schwarz toy catalog for Christmas 1961, along with a handwritten note by Mrs. Kennedy about items (and even their page numbers in the catalog) she wanted to order for her children, Caroline and John F. Kennedy, Jr.

A look inside the catalog shows that a great deal of attention went into choosing gifts—and luckily for archivists and researchers, Mrs. Kennedy dog-eared several pages and circled specific toys. What a find! We couldn’t believe we could actually see the selection of specific Christmas gifts, let alone figure out how they were purchased.

 

 

                                                                                          JBKOPP-037-008-p0008

 

 

But the fun didn’t stop there. Once we knew what to look for, we searched our photo and film collections to see if we could find the gifts in use. That horse and hound set circled on page 89?

JBKOPP-SF037-008-FAO-p89

 JBKOPP-SF037-008-FAO-p89

 

 

We spotted those in Caroline’s White House bedroom.

Caroline Kennedy’s bedroom, 8 May 1962. KN-C21446 [crop]. Photograph by Robert Knudsen, White House Photographs

 

 

Caroline Kennedy’s bedroom, 8 May 1962. KN-C21450 [crop]. Photograph by Robert Knudsen, White House Photographs

 

 

That “Busy Box” on page 10? There it is in John, Jr.’s crib in the nursery!

JBKOPP-SF037-008-FAO-p10JBKOPP-SF037-008-FAO-p10

 

 

John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s bedroom, 8 May 1962. KN-C21451 [crop]. Photograph by Robert Knudsen, White House Photographs

 

 

Admittedly, the big rocking horse from page 13 was pretty easy to spot in Caroline’s room.

JBKOPP-SF037-008-FAO-p13

JBKOPP-SF037-008-p13

 

 

JFKWHP-KN-C21505_RockingHorse_circle

Caroline Kennedy’s bedroom, 9 May 1962. KN-C21505. Photograph by Robert Knudsen, White House Photographs

 

 

Of course, we did find a few favorites. Laurie’s is the trampoline from page 86, which Mrs. Kennedy noted the mothers of the childrens’ play group would get for the South Lawn.

JBKOPP-SF037-008_FAO_p86

 

 

Here we have a sweet photo of Caroline jumping on it, with a brave friend named Shawn Brittle underneath!

Caroline Kennedy jumps on a trampoline on the South Lawn of the White House as her friend, Shawn Brittle, lies underneath. 17 May 1962. ST-A19-41-62 [crop]. Photograph by Cecil Stoughton, White House Photographs

 

 

And can you believe we actually have footage of an unidentified friend jumping on the trampoline from an April 4, 1963 children’s party on the South Lawn?

TrampolinePPP54PPP:54. Footage by Cecil Stoughton. President’s Personal Pictures.

 

 

Stacey’s favorite? The “peasant” costume that Mrs. Kennedy circled on page 76 – a pretty fancy “peasant,” if you ask us!

Figure 3 JBKOPP-SF037-008_FAO_p76

 

 

Check out the photo of Caroline wearing this gift while spending time with her mother and brother in the White House nursery.

Mrs. Kennedy with Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr. in the nursery, 27 November 1962. ST-A28-13-62 [crop]. Photograph by Cecil Stoughton, White House Photos

 

 

As reference archivists, our work is guided entirely by the questions we are asked, and we get to learn something new about our collections every day. We’re grateful for the best holiday gift any archivist could as for – a question that led to fun discoveries in our archives!

 

]]> http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/12/christmasmiracle/feed/ 2 JBKOPP-037-008-p0008 JBKOPP-SF037-008-FAO-p89 JFKWHP-KN-C21446_cropBlackHorse_Circle JFKWHP-KN-C21450_cropHound_Circle JBKOPP-SF037-008-FAO-p10 JFKWHP-KN-C21451_crop_BusyBox_circle JBKOPP-SF037-008-FAO-p13 JFKWHP-KN-C21505_RockingHorse_circle JBKOPP-SF37-08_FAO_p86 JFKWHP-ST-A19-41-62_CBKTrampolinecrop TrampolinePPP54 JBKOPP-SF037-008-p0076_Crop JFKWHP-ST-A28-13-62_CBKPeasantcrop
Visualizing Hemingway: A Man in Letters http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/11/visualizing-hemingway-a-man-in-letters/ http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/11/visualizing-hemingway-a-man-in-letters/#comments Tue, 03 Nov 2015 23:18:34 +0000 http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/?p=3095  

by Niall O’Leary, Digital Humanities Specialist (guest author)

 

 

Ernest Hemingway traveled a lot. Really, a lot. Born in Illinois, he first left the United States for Europe to become an ambulance driver in World War I. He returned to the U.S., then went to Canada, then France, and after that his travels …

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by Niall O’Leary, Digital Humanities Specialist (guest author)

 

EH-3541(crop)

EH03541P. Ernest Hemingway writing in camp while on safari in Kenya, 1953. (C) Earl Theisen Archives.

 

Ernest Hemingway traveled a lot. Really, a lot. Born in Illinois, he first left the United States for Europe to become an ambulance driver in World War I. He returned to the U.S., then went to Canada, then France, and after that his travels really took off. This is clear from any Hemingway biography you might pick up, but it is also clear from a single image; this one:

 

timemap4

 

The map shown above is created using information about the letters Hemingway sent throughout his life. The assumption is that if he sent a letter from a location then there is a good chance that he must have been there when the letter was sent. This map uses colors to indicate the time Hemingway was in a certain place; the closer to red along the spectrum, the older the letter, the closer to blue, the more recent.

This kind of visualization is a useful tool when conceptualizing large amounts of data (in this instance, nearly 2,500 letters). Data visualization transforms many thousands of complex items into simple graphs, charts, and maps that make it easy to appreciate certain aspects of the original objects. For instance, letters are often deeply personal, semantically rich records of feeling, ideas, and personality. Studying even one letter’s content can require specialist skills, while ambiguity, typos and basic individual style can complicate even the most detailed reading. Yet every letter has a set of attributes that once known makes it possible to compare one letter with another. These standard characteristics are a source of relatively unambiguous information and tell us about the letter itself rather than its content. As we have seen, just knowing where a letter came from provides a very important piece of information in itself. There are other characteristics that also illuminate correspondence and by extension the correspondents involved. For example, who sent a letter, who they sent it to, where they sent it and when, are details that allow correspondence to answer a whole host of questions about historical figures and their worlds.

 

A small sample of Hemingway’s network of correspondents

A small sample of Hemingway’s network of correspondents

 

In the case of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library’s holdings, the Ernest Hemingway Personal Papers provide a wide range of opportunities for scholars studying the great writer. Scrapbooks, clippings, letters, notebooks, published and unpublished manuscripts all jostle for one’s attention among the treasures. Just how does one get a handle on so much data? How can one possibly navigate, let alone study, all this material? In the case of his correspondence alone, there are over 10,000 letters both from and to Hemingway and his family. Most of this material is held in its original paper format. Only the most tenacious researcher with a huge amount of time on their hands and working within the Library itself could possibly rein in even a portion of such holdings. Unless they use data visualization, that is. Luckily the Library has documented their extensive holdings in a hugely detailed finding aid available online as a Guide to the Ernest Hemingway Collection. While this document contains detail on thousands of objects, it usefully brings together the most salient metadata in one place. Extract this metadata digitally, apply current technology, and some aspects of the collection can be navigated, analyzed, and understood. To be sure, we cannot answer all questions about Hemingway, but with relative ease we can now provide answers to many queries that in the past might have been beyond our time and resources.

For instance, who did Hemingway write most of his letters to? (His last wife, Mary Welsh Hemingway, received nearly 11% of his letters.) Who wrote to him the most? (His first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, takes that honor.) Which other writers and artists was he in contact with? (A huge network included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, and Marlene Dietrich among many, many others.) How did the nature of his correspondence change as his popularity grew? (His letter writing peaks around the time he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.) Where was he in early March 1952? (Hemingway was at his home in Cuba while finishing his Pulitzer Prize-winning, The Old Man and the Sea.) To be sure, the where, when, and who questions are not always as interesting as the why, but knowing their answers often provides a clue when addressing motivation and cause. To the biographer or the Hemingway scholar, the who, when, and where questions are crucial.

 

The frequency of Hemingway’s letters over his life

The frequency of Hemingway’s letters over his life

 

It was with a view to exploring these questions and seeing how far the barest data might take us, that I developed the website ‘Visual Correspondence’. This site takes the five elements I have mentioned – sender, recipient, origin, destination, and date – and provides the user with a wide range of tools for querying that metadata. Maps, pie charts, bubble graphs, timelines and many more visualizations allow a user to conceptualize thousands of letters through a few clicks. As well as developing these tools, I have also sought out as many collections of letters as I could find and tried to index their metadata. That was how I came across the Library’s excellent finding aid. At the time of writing, I have indexed nearly 160,000 letters from thousands of writers, scientists, politicians, and artists, not to mention so-called ‘ordinary’ people, with correspondents such as Mark Twain, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, and James Joyce rubbing shoulders with immigrants, factory workers, and civil servants. My hope is that in bringing together so many disparate collections, overlaps and outliers might become apparent leading to new scholarly insights. At the most basic level the site provides a means of finding letters that even the most sophisticated Googling might not bring to light.

So what does ‘Visual Correspondence’ tell us about Ernest Hemingway. Certainly it confirms a lot of preconceptions. That he traveled extensively, had many friends and lovers, and became a cultural icon for the global literary community is clear through an analysis of his network of correspondents. That he was closely involved in his business affairs (he wrote extensively to his lawyer, Alfred Rice), that his various wives were in contact with one another, and that his interest in politics continued throughout his life (there is even some contact with John F. Kennedy) is also abundantly clear. However, the real insights are yet to be found and will require good old-fashioned research, albeit research with a new set of tools. What is certainly clear to me is that without the excellent finding aid compiled by the John F. Kennedy Library none of this would be possible. In his Nobel Prize-winning speech, Hemingway wrote, “A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it”. Thankfully for us, he was a true writer.

 

]]> http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/11/visualizing-hemingway-a-man-in-letters/feed/ 2 EH-3541(crop) timemap4 network A small sample of Hemingway’s network of correspondents frequency The frequency of Hemingway’s letters over his life
Digitization of Photographs from President John F. Kennedy’s Trip to Italy http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/10/digitization-of-photographs-from-president-john-f-kennedys-trip-to-italy/ http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/10/digitization-of-photographs-from-president-john-f-kennedys-trip-to-italy/#comments Fri, 30 Oct 2015 14:40:23 +0000 http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/?p=3074  

by Laura Kintz, Graduate Student Intern (UMass Boston)

We are pleased to announce that all White House Photographs from President John F. Kennedy’s trip to Italy in July of 1963 are now digitized in full. They are accessible online through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s digital archives.

 

The 92 photographs, …

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by Laura Kintz, Graduate Student Intern (UMass Boston)

We are pleased to announce that all White House Photographs from President John F. Kennedy’s trip to Italy in July of 1963 are now digitized in full. They are accessible online through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s digital archives.

KN-C29263

JFKWHP-KN-C29263. President John F. Kennedy’s Motorcade Through Rome, Italy.

 

The 92 photographs, covering July 1-2, 1963, document President Kennedy’s only official trip to Italy during his presidency, which came at the end of a 10-day trip to Europe that also included visits to Germany, Ireland, and England. During his time in Italy, the President visited various significant locations around Rome and Naples, delivering remarks, meeting with government and military officials, and greeting throngs of Italian well-wishers. During a time when Italy was experiencing political uncertainty, President Kennedy’s visit represented the United States’ commitment to maintaining a strong relationship with the country and its new president, Antonio Segni.

 

JFKWHP-KN-C29266

JFKWHP-KN-C29266. President John F. Kennedy Attends Wreath-laying Ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier in Rome, Italy.

KN-C29250

JFKWHP-KN-C29250. President John F. Kennedy Speaks at City Hall in Rome, Italy.

KN-C29276

KN-C29276. President John F. Kennedy Arrives at NATO Headquarters in Naples, Italy.

 

In addition to his state-related activities during the trip, President Kennedy, the United States’ first Catholic president, also had the opportunity to meet with the recently-elected Pope Paul VI. White House Photographs from the visit are limited to the President’s arrival at the Vatican (see below), but a motion picture documenting his trip to Europe from the White House Films collection includes footage of his audience with the Pope and is available for viewing through the digital archives.

 

JFKWHP-KN-C29284

KN-C29284. President John F. Kennedy Visits the Vatican for Meeting with Pope Paul VI.

 

One part of the trip that is especially well-documented is President Kennedy’s motorcade through Naples. Among those 34 photographs are many that illustrate the intensity and excitement of the crowds who gathered to see the President. Some candid shots of President Kennedy’s aides and members of his White House Secret Service detail capture the fun of traveling down a Naples highway in a convertible.

 

ST-C230-46-63

ST-C230-46-63. President John F. Kennedy’s Motorcade Through Naples, Italy.

JFKWHP-ST-A7-4-63

ST-A7-4-63. Presidential Aides and White House Secret Service Agents in Naples, Italy.

JFKWHP-ST-C231-20-63

ST-C231-20-63. Spectators Watch President John F. Kennedy’s Motorcade Through Naples, Italy.

 

President Kennedy’s trip to Italy represents a significant diplomatic (and religious) venture of his presidency. Although the photographs from the trip were already available for viewing onsite at the Kennedy Library, now that they have been digitized and cataloged, they can be accessed by online users all over the world. Browsing terms, including some newly-created terms, have been associated with each photograph to aid in searching for specific people, places, and organizations. These images can now provide insight into President Kennedy’s travels, to a much wider audience.

 

Browse all photos from President Kennedy’s trip to Italy:

Italy, Rome: Arrival at Fiumicino Airport, and presentation of gift by President Antonio Segni at Quirinale Palace

Italy, Rome: President Kennedy at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Italy, Rome: Motorcade

Italy, Rome: President Kennedy at the Campidoglio (City Hall)

Italy, Rome: President Kennedy at dinner at Quirinale Palace

Vatican City: President Kennedy at the Vatican

Italy, Rome: President Kennedy at the Pontifical North American College with Jean Kennedy Smith and Archbishop of Boston Richard Cardinal Cushing

Italy, Naples: President Kennedy arrives at NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Headquarters

Italy, Naples: President Kennedy gives address at NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Headquarters

Italy, Naples: Motorcade

Italy, Naples: President Kennedy’s departure

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Digitization of Photographs from President John F. Kennedy’s Funeral http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/08/digitization-of-photographs-from-president-john-f-kennedys-funeral/ http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/08/digitization-of-photographs-from-president-john-f-kennedys-funeral/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 16:17:45 +0000 http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/?p=3061  

by Lindsay Closterman, White House Photographs Metadata Cataloger

We are pleased to announce that all White House Photographs from the state funeral of President John F. Kennedy are now digitized in full.

These photographs capture a time of great significance and grief in our nation’s history, and they (together with the photos from the …

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by Lindsay Closterman, White House Photographs Metadata Cataloger

We are pleased to announce that all White House Photographs from the state funeral of President John F. Kennedy are now digitized in full.

These photographs capture a time of great significance and grief in our nation’s history, and they (together with the photos from the President’s final trip to Dallas) are among some of the most requested images in the White House Photographs collection. While they were already available for research, the photos are now accessible online to researchers and users worldwide, along with all of the materials in the library’s digital archives.

 

JFKWHP-AR8255-1H_resized

JFKWHP-AR8255-1H. Jacqueline Kennedy Departs White House for Funeral Procession to Capitol Building.

JFKWHP-KN-C30750_resized

JFKWHP-KN-C30750. President John F. Kennedy’s Funeral Procession to St. Matthew’s Cathedral.

 

The 350 funeral photos span a period of three days, from November 23 to November 25, 1963. Events include: President Kennedy’s body returning to the White House, lying in repose in the East Room of the White House and lying in state at the U.S. Capitol; processions to the Capitol Building and St. Matthew’s Cathedral; the requiem mass at St. Matthew’s; the burial of President Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery; a post-funeral reception at the White House; as well as photos of the newly-redecorated Oval Office with President Kennedy’s effects, the caparison of the riderless horse Black Jack, and a night view of the eternal flame near the late President’s gravesite.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C422-115-63_resized

JFKWHP-ST-C422-115-63. Requiem Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral.

JFKWHP-ST-C422-11-63_resized

JFKWHP-ST-C422-11-63. Burial of President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

In addition to making the photos available to users all over the world, the process of scanning and cataloging the images makes them searchable in a way that was previously not possible. The metadata for these images enables online users to retrieve images of specific people, such as members of the Kennedy family, administration officials, military officials, heads of state, ambassadors, foreign dignitaries, and members of the clergy. These digital materials combine information found in the Kennedy Library’s collections, as well as in contemporary newspaper articles, books, correspondence from researchers, and firsthand accounts, and they serve to support the continued knowledge-building around this historic event.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C422-110-63_resized

JFKWHP-ST-C422-110-63. Flowers at Arlington National Cemetery.

JFKWHP-ST-C422-33-63_resized

JFKWHP-ST-C422-33-63. Post-Funeral Reception at the White House.

 

Browse all photos from President Kennedy’s funeral:

President Kennedy’s body returns to the White House

Lying in repose in the East Room of the White House

White House, redecorated Oval Office with President Kennedy’s effects

Departure from the White House and Procession to the United States Capitol

Lying in state at the United States Capitol, departure of Kennedy family

White House, State Rooms and floral arrangements

Procession to St. Matthew’s Cathedral

Requiem Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral and burial at Arlington National Cemetery

White House, post funeral Reception

Riderless horse Black Jack’s caparison (saddle, bridle, blanket, sword, boots, and spurs) delivered to White House

Eternal Flame (view from the Lincoln Memorial at night)

 

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Serendipity in the Archives: Making Connections between Collections http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/08/serendipity-in-the-archives-making-connections-between-collections/ http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/08/serendipity-in-the-archives-making-connections-between-collections/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 22:24:20 +0000 http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/?p=3026  

by Laura Kintz, Graduate Student Intern (UMass Boston)

As a digitization intern at the Kennedy Library, I am lucky enough to work with the White House Photographs collection, scanning and cataloging photos. Through this work, I have learned so much about President John F. Kennedy’s daily activities, the ins and outs of the White …

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by Laura Kintz, Graduate Student Intern (UMass Boston)

As a digitization intern at the Kennedy Library, I am lucky enough to work with the White House Photographs collection, scanning and cataloging photos. Through this work, I have learned so much about President John F. Kennedy’s daily activities, the ins and outs of the White House and its grounds, and many other aspects of the presidency. Twice this year, though, I have put my digitization work aside to help with the Library’s Preservation Week program. The current program involves the sorting of condolence mail that was received by the White House, mainly by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, in the aftermath of President Kennedy’s assassination. Staff members and interns have worked on arranging the materials alphabetically, so that individual items may be retrieved using the name of the sending individual, group, or organization.

 

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During the most recent Preservation Week, from July 13-19, two collections collided when I discovered a condolence letter with a direct connection to the White House Photographs collection. During the alphabetization process, I just happened to pick up a letter with an attached photographic print of President Kennedy standing with two teenage girls in the Oval Office. In the letter, its writer, a girl from Pittsburgh named Anita Bernstein, expresses her heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Kennedy and describes the “wonderful experience” of visiting the White House with one of her friends and having the opportunity to meet the President. The photo she enclosed with her letter was from that visit.

The letter and photograph immediately piqued my interest. Before I even read the letter, I suspected that the photograph was from WHP. Having scanned so many photographs of the President in the Oval Office, I recognized the room right away and knew that since the photo was taken inside the White House, there was a good chance it was taken by an official White House photographer (it could have been taken by a news photographer, but I thought that unlikely, since the subjects of the photo were everyday citizens). I hoped it would be possible to confirm this by finding the original photograph in our collection. Luckily, aside from being an incredibly eloquent and moving tribute to the late President, Miss Bernstein’s letter was a goldmine of information that provided context for the photograph.

In her letter, Miss Bernstein recounts an event in Pittsburgh on December 4, 1962, after which she and a friend approached President Kennedy’s Press Secretary, Pierre Salinger, and expressed their “earnest desire to meet” the President. She writes that Mr. Salinger agreed to set up a meeting “if we could be in Washington the next day. Naturally we could.” That meant that Miss Bernstein and her friend were at the White House on December 5, 1962. White House Photographs are arranged chronologically, and sure enough, the finding aid lists a folder for that day titled “Visit of two girls from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.” There were two negatives on file for the event, neither of which had been scanned; I pulled both of them, and one matched the copy of the photograph that Miss Bernstein sent with her letter.

 

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JFKWHP-ST-520-2-62. President John F. Kennedy with Young Supporters from Pittsburgh. [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-12-05-D.aspx]

 

 

 

 

It was exciting to have confirmed that this photograph that I stumbled upon was actually part of the White House Photographs, because in addition to scanning photographs, I also catalog them, and I knew that this letter would help me with that process. Cataloging requires me to identify, to the best of my ability, the people pictured in a photograph, and to establish as much background as I can for the event or meeting depicted; this information ultimately accompanies the digitized photo in the Library’s digital archives. Since this photo in particular had not yet been scanned or cataloged, I had the opportunity to follow my regular workflow to complete those steps; this was when I realized the true impact of having the accompanying letter to provide context.

 

 

 

 

 

When cataloging a photograph, the first priority is to identify the people in it. The first places I check for names are the folder title, the backs of the prints on file, the President’s Appointment Book, the photographer’s log, and the shot cards. In this case, none of these sources provided any identifying information other than “Two girls from Pittsburgh” (the President’s Appointment Book didn’t provide any information at all, probably because this was just an informal meet-and-greet). This letter, therefore, put me ahead of the game because it provided something that these other sources did not: a name for one of the girls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cataloging resources: photographer’s log, shot card, and back of photographic print

 

The next step in my research process was to try to identify the other girl in the photo, whom Miss Bernstein only identifies as “my friend” in her letter. Using just the basic search term of “Anita Bernstein” in Google’s online newspaper archive, I found an Associated Press photo published by The Tuscaloosa News on December 9, 1962, with the caption: “Two honor students from Pittsburgh’s Peabody High School hold up charm bracelets given to them by President Kennedy. The girls, Anita Bernstein, (left), and Judy Mankin, both 16, visited the President at the White House. The girls played hookey [sic] from school and made the trip to Washington. They met the President when he was in Pittsburgh on a political tour two months ago and Kennedy remembered them.” Although the scan of the newspaper was grainy, the photo was clear enough that I could tell that these were the same two girls who are in the WHP photo, and it was clear which one was which. I now had names for both girls.

To complete the cataloging process, I wrote a brief description of the photograph. If I had scanned the negative and cataloged the photo without the letter, Miss Bernstein and Miss Mankin may have remained just “two girls from Pittsburgh.” But from what I learned about them from the letter and the newspaper caption, I was able to identify them by name, and I felt confident in describing them as “young supporters” of President Kennedy, rather than just as “visitors.” Once the condolence mail is digitized, researchers will be able to link directly between this photograph and Miss Bernstein’s letter. As a pair, these two documents have a higher research value than each would have on its own.

This connection between the White House Photographs and Condolence Mail collections is an exciting one. Such a link would be noteworthy under any circumstances, but is even more so because Anita Bernstein’s letter is such a wonderful tribute to President Kennedy and his legacy. Together, the photograph and the letter illuminate the story of two civic-minded young women who were vocal in their support of their president. This story is certainly one that is worth telling, and one that may have been lost had it not been for some serendipity in the archives.

The full text of Anita Bernstein’s letter is available below.

 

JFKCM-999-999-p0001_resizedJFKCM-999-999-p0002_resizedPapers of John F. Kennedy. Condolence Mail. Domestic Mail, Folder: “Bernock-Bernstein”.

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Dispatches from the Archives: My Summer Internship at the Kennedy Library http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/08/dispatches-from-the-archives-my-summer-internship-at-the-kennedy-library/ http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/08/dispatches-from-the-archives-my-summer-internship-at-the-kennedy-library/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 03:25:44 +0000 http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/?p=2985  

by Joseph Fretwell, Undergraduate Summer Intern (Furman University)

Undergraduate student Joseph Fretwell recently completed a six-week summer internship in the Digitization Unit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, prior to entering his senior year at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. While at the library, Joe scanned photos from the White House Photographs …

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by Joseph Fretwell, Undergraduate Summer Intern (Furman University)

Undergraduate student Joseph Fretwell recently completed a six-week summer internship in the Digitization Unit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, prior to entering his senior year at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. While at the library, Joe scanned photos from the White House Photographs collection. He also learned the principles of cataloging archival photographs.

 

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A Political Science major and Poverty Studies minor, Joe took advantage of his time at the Kennedy Library by spending one day a week conducting his own independent research. While in the library’s research room, he utilized several of the library’s textual collections, as well as its digital archives, to which he was directly contributing through his work scanning and cataloging photos. Joe describes his experiences in the following excerpts from his weekly journal:

 

Week 3

My third week at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library allowed for more of my own research and work in the library’s archives. I have been working specifically in the research room with the papers of White House staffers like Lee C. White and Burke Marshall. It has been interesting to see how much influence average citizens had on the policy agenda and general discussion within the White House. Big name civil rights activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, A. Phillip Randolph, and James Baldwin are commonly mentioned in memos between White House staffers. These men also wrote letters to various members of the Kennedy Administration. They weren’t the only ones that the White House got letters from, though. From what I have noticed in my research, some of the most influential letters came from virtually unknown American citizens, from 9-year-old school boys, to aged grandmothers. Before doing this research, I never realized how seriously the White House handled mail from constituents. Perhaps this has changed now, but with regard to the Civil Rights Movement, many discussions between the most influential policymakers in the country were centered on the writings and actions of every day citizens.

Seeing the influence of constituent mail in policy talks of the 1960s has, in many ways, helped me to better understand the legacy of President Kennedy. Politics aside, he was a man who believed in the power of the common man to make a difference in public life. In fact, he often called on Americans in his speeches to seek a better world for themselves and their fellow citizens by devoting time and energy to public service initiatives. It’s been exciting to work with photographs and documents of some of the most powerful and renowned people of the 1960s, but I’ve enjoyed even more the fact that I can see and read about the unknown, sometimes nameless citizens who stepped up and contributed to the collective effort toward the passing of the civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965.

 

Week 4

In my fourth week at the Kennedy Library, I got started on the second half of my major project. I began to catalog some of the photographs that I have been digitizing over the past couple weeks. Most of my time was spent researching the people in the photos and writing short bios about those who the National Archives and Records Administration did not have complete records of in its system. In this process, I became more familiar with the detail-oriented process of archival research, and I got the chance to learn more about and connect with the figures of the Kennedy era that were not always the most visible, from Secret Service agents to local civil rights activists.

My personal research for the week was primarily within Adam Walinsky’s papers. Walinsky was a senatorial staffer and speechwriter for Robert F. Kennedy. In his files, I’ve found various memos and reports on criminal justice reform and plans for community development partnerships. Many of the major themes of the time have obvious parallels with current discussions on race, poverty, and urban decay.

I also was able to attend an event at the library one evening last week that was focused on the legacy of James Baldwin, a writer and civil rights advocate of the mid-20th century. The event featured a screening of The Price of the Ticket, a documentary about the life of Baldwin. Afterward, there was a panel discussion on how Baldwin’s words resonate today. Panelists pulled sections from his writings and interviews to explain major current events in Ferguson and Baltimore, as well as public policy issues like community-based policing.

 

JFKWHP-KN-C23586. President John F. Kennedy Designates Frederick Douglass Home Part of National Park System.
[www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-KN-C23586.aspx]

Week 5

This week at the Kennedy Library, I finished cataloging a series of photographs taken on September 5, 1963 at President Kennedy’s signing of a bill that made the Frederick Douglass historical home an official part of the National Park Service. This process required a good deal of research, as I had to identify and write brief biographical notes for all of the people in the photos. Many of those who attended this event were U.S. Senators and Representatives who wrote the legislation, but there were also several local civil rights activists from groups like the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs and the Frederick Douglass Memorial & Historical Association. Most of the research I did was new to the National Archives and Records Administration, meaning I am the first person to have cataloged the information for the more local and less-known individuals in the photographs. This made the research more difficult, and I had to dig in old magazines and newspapers to identify some of the people. It was gratifying to know, though, that I contributed to the national database for identifying historical figures.

 

 

Week 6

I’ve now finished my 6 weeks at the Kennedy Library, and I’ll start my congressional internship in Washington tomorrow on Capitol Hill.

My experience at the library in Boston allowed me to work with some phenomenal historical documents and photographs, as well as meet a number of people who do important, behind-the-scenes work. One of my biggest takeaways from the internship was how much work and time goes into archival research and record preservation. All of the people I met and worked with, especially my supervisors in the digitization wing, are crucial to the success of the library. The amount of effort they put into preparing materials for researchers and visitors to the library is incredible. Seeing this made me realize just how important their work, and the work I got to help out with over the past 6 weeks, is to an array of people—researchers, students, public servants, and so on.

The documents of the Kennedy Administration, even though just a tiny piece of the many preserved documents of American history, taught me more about current events today than anything I have ever done. Being able to look back at the past through the lens of the White House photographers and through the words of Kennedy’s staff gave me a clear, unbiased glimpse into a time that was really not much different from today. I saw parallels everywhere, from conversations on civil rights to issues of federal oversight to debates over foreign involvement in global crises. This was all important to me, as a person who is interested in policy work in government, because I got to see what worked and what did not. Hopefully, during my next month and a half in Washington, I will be able to bring what I learned in Boston to the table and apply it to issues and conversations over today’s policy issues. Our history matters. It matters to our well-being as Americans, to the direction of our conversations on national issues, and to the routes we ultimately decide to take towards progress. My experience in Boston is one that I will look back on as a great help to my growth as a thinking and contributing member to society.

 

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Newly Opened Collection: Paul Rand Dixon Personal Papers http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/07/newly-opened-collection-paul-rand-dixon-personal-papers/ http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/07/newly-opened-collection-paul-rand-dixon-personal-papers/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 22:42:09 +0000 http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/?p=2958  

by Christina Lehman Fitzpatrick, Processing Archivist

We are pleased to announce that the Paul Rand Dixon Personal Papers are open and available for research. Dixon was appointed chairman of the Federal Trade Commission by President Kennedy and served on the regulatory agency for twenty years.

Paul Rand Dixon was born on September 29, 1913 …

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by Christina Lehman Fitzpatrick, Processing Archivist

We are pleased to announce that the Paul Rand Dixon Personal Papers are open and available for research. Dixon was appointed chairman of the Federal Trade Commission by President Kennedy and served on the regulatory agency for twenty years.

Paul Rand Dixon was born on September 29, 1913 in Nashville, Tennessee. He attended Vanderbilt University and the University of Florida Law School before joining the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in July 1938 as a trial attorney. After a brief period with the U.S. Senate Antitrust and Monopoly Subcommittee chaired by Estes Kefauver (1957-1961), Dixon was appointed FTC Chairman by President Kennedy on March 21, 1961. Dixon occupied this position until January 1, 1970. He also served as Acting Chairman briefly from January 6 to March 23, 1976. After his initial appointment, Dixon was reappointed to two additional seven-year terms and retired on September 25, 1981.

 

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The mission of the Federal Trade Commission is to promote economic competition and to protect consumers by developing and administering federal trade regulations. The Commission investigates such practices as price fixing, restraint of trade, unfair competition, false and deceptive advertising, exclusive dealings, untruthful labeling, and the marketing of dangerous products. It enforces the law by conducting formal litigation against offending businesses, and enables voluntary compliance through educational programs. The FTC is comprised of five Commissioners; one is chosen to be Chairman.

This collection contains personal papers generated by Paul Rand Dixon during his time as FTC Commissioner (1961-1981), including copies of docket case files that track legal proceedings against various businesses. Dixon’s work is well represented in a series of alphabetical correspondence files and another series of subject files. His files contain many speeches to professional organizations and statements prepared for Congressional hearings. Common types of documents throughout the collection include letters, memoranda, staff reports, publications, legal documents, meeting minutes, and news digests. Also included are a number of photographs that Dixon displayed in his office. Please note that additional records of the Federal Trade Commission can be found in RG 122 at the National Archives and Records Administration.

During the Kennedy Administration, many changes were afoot at the FTC. In early 1961, the agency was reorganized to create three enforcement bureaus, and the rules of practice were completely revised. Instead of focusing on individual cases, the FTC shifted its attention to compliance on an industry-wide scale. This resulted in a more efficient and fair operation, as Dixon reported in September 1963. Another new tool was the “advisory opinion,” where a company could ask for a FTC ruling on whether a specific practice was legal or not. This enabled voluntary compliance and proved very popular with the business community.

 

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Memorandum from Paul Rand Dixon to Paul Southwick at the White House, reporting on highlights of the FTC’s activities since the beginning of the Kennedy Administration, 30 September 1963. View the entire folder here.

 

After President Kennedy’s assassination, Dixon wrote a condolence letter to Jacqueline Kennedy on the behalf of the entire Commission:

 

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Condolence letter to Jacqueline Kennedy, 27 November 1963. “We have not the words for a sorrow so large as this.” View the entire folder here.

 

A happier occasion for Chairman Dixon was the FTC’s golden anniversary in 1965. The agency was created by the Federal Trade Commission Act, signed by President Woodrow Wilson on September 26, 1914. It officially opened on March 16, 1915–making this year (2015) the 100th anniversary of the FTC. Dixon coordinated the agency’s 50th anniversary celebration, which was attended by many current and former employees as well as an array of Washington VIPs.

 

PRDPP-228-005-p0040Letter from President Johnson on the occasion of the FTC’s fiftieth anniversary, 17 July 1964. View the entire folder here.

 

Also in the mid 1960s, the FTC undertook a major investigation into the regulation of cigarettes after a report by the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that smoking was a significant health hazard. The agency proposed adding warnings to cigarette containers and tobacco print advertisements. The recommendations on warning labels were included in the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which was signed into law by President Johnson on July 27, 1965. Later, warnings on print advertisements were added by the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969. These regulations created what is now a well-known phrase, “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health.”

After reading all of the data compiled by FTC staff on the dangers of cigarettes, Dixon wasted no time in applying the information in his own personal life. He wrote to a friend:

 

Your information is correct – I smoked cigarettes intermittently until I read the Advisory Committee’s Report to the Surgeon General. On the day that I read it, January 8, 1964, I stopped smoking cigarettes. It seemed the wise thing to do.

 

The FTC also set up its own laboratory to measure the tar and nicotine content of all cigarette brands. Tobacco companies were permitted to include statements about these chemical levels in their advertisements only if the lab tests corroborated the numbers. Tests were conducted according to strict standards and the results were reported to Congress periodically. The FTC hoped that this information would help customers make informed decisions about smoking, but in 2008, the agency changed its policy to prevent the data from being used in advertising due to concerns over the accuracy of the testing methods (given that smoking behavior varies from individual to individual).

 

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(Left) Letter from Dixon to Tom Campbell, 9 June 1965, regarding his decision to stop smoking. View the entire folder here.

 

(Right) Chart of FTC test results, “Tar and Nicotine Content of 142 Varieties of Domestic Cigarettes,” August 1972. View the entire folder here.

 

 

 

In the 1970s, the consumer protection trend only increased. The public clamored for greater FTC regulation of shady business practices such as bait-and-switch ploys and deceptive advertising claims. Complaints flooded the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Elected officials responded by creating a variety of government organizations dedicated to consumer interests. Although the FTC frequently investigated illegal business practices that harmed consumers, many people thought the agency wasn’t doing enough. The loudest critic was consumer advocate Ralph Nader, whose law students published an investigative report on the FTC in January 1969. The harsh criticism in the report angered Dixon, who believed the attack was unwarranted, and led to animosity between the two men. Still, Dixon knew that the FTC could not ignore the growing consumer movement. As he wrote to his friend Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr. (R-Tennessee) on October 31, 1974:

 

Consumerism is here to stay. My advice to you is that you take a stand for it and mold it so that it will best serve the public interest. Like you, I have always stood for maximum free enterprise and I don’t like regulation, but I have got enough sense to know that there are times and places where this is the only way that the public interest can be preserved.

 

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Suggestions for improving the FTC’s consumer protection efforts, from a meeting between the FTC and a group of consumer representatives, 12 June 1970. View the entire folder here.

 

For more information about the Paul Rand Dixon Personal Papers, please see the finding aid on the Kennedy Library website.

 

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Exploring the White House Central Name File http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/06/exploring-the-white-house-name-file/ http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2015/06/exploring-the-white-house-name-file/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 03:31:22 +0000 http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/?p=2929  

by Corbin Apkin, former Graduate Student Intern and recent Graduate of Simmons College GSLIS

For the past year, I have had the opportunity to work as an intern in the Research Room at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Throughout my time doing reference work, I have seen a lot of interesting documents, and …

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by Corbin Apkin, former Graduate Student Intern and recent Graduate of Simmons College GSLIS

For the past year, I have had the opportunity to work as an intern in the Research Room at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Throughout my time doing reference work, I have seen a lot of interesting documents, and many of these have come from the White House Central Name File. The Name File serves as the alphabetical index to the mail that came into the White House during President Kennedy’s administration, housing correspondence between the public, President Kennedy, and his White House staff. The great thing about the Name File is that it allows reference staff to look up specific people to see if they corresponded with the President.

Containing over 3,000 boxes (about 1,300 linear feet), the collection holds letters and telegrams from celebrities and notable figures of the 1960s, many of whom make appearances on the Library’s Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr pages.

 

JFKWHCNF-2577-013-p0023JFKWHCNF-2577-013-p0023: Frank Sinatra’s telegram to President Kennedy, 28 August 1962. Here, he notified the President that a copy of the film “The Manchurian Candidate” was available for viewing at the White House.

 

But my favorite thing about the Name File is seeing letters that ordinary Americans sent to the White House. While looking for a specific name in the collection, staff members get to see all of the other letters housed in the same folder. They reflect public opinion of the time, whether in support of Kennedy or in disagreement with him. We see firsthand what American citizens were concerned about and how they wanted to make the country better. Every folder has something interesting (or even amazing) in it, and it’s always been a pleasure for me to be able to work with this collection.

 

JFKWHCNF-2466-009-p0040JFKWHCNF-2466-009-p0040: This citizen wrote to President Kennedy with a suggestion: an eight-part plan for dealing with the Berlin Crisis.

 

Because this collection is so easy for staff members to search, I decided to see if anyone from my family had sent anything to President Kennedy. Without thinking this could even be a possibility, I looked through the “Api” folder in Box 80, and I was shocked to find that a carbon copy of a response letter from the White House to my great uncle, Judge Benjamin Apkin, was in the Name File.

 

JFKWHCNF-0080-010-p0006JFKWHCNF-0080-010-p0006: The response letter to Benjamin Apkin in the White House Name File, 14 April 1961.

 

Often, this is what we find in the Name File – a carbon copy of a response from the White House, but no original letter from the person who wrote to the President. But there are some important clues provided by the White House to help us find the original letter: when a letter arrived at the White House, it was often assigned a code based on the topic of the letter; “HU” for “human rights,” “IV” for “invitations,” and so on – 62 codes in all. The White House response to each letter was copied, with one copy filed in the White House Name File (alphabetically by the name of the writer), and the other copy, often along with the original incoming letter, filed in the White House Central Subject Files (based on the code assigned by White House staff). The carbon responses in the Name File carry the subject code in the upper right corner, handwritten by White House staff and linking the carbon copy to any related documents in the Subject Files. This system, used by White House filing staff both well before and well after the Kennedy administration, gives archivists and researchers a way to search correspondence both by name and by subject.

I looked up the code on this carbon (IV 1/1961/ST21) in the White House Central Subject Files, hoping to my uncle’s original telegram. Luckily, the system worked exactly as the White House designed it, and I was able to find it the folder titled “IV 1: 1961: ST 21(Massachusetts): W: General” in Box 400.

 

JFKWHCSF-0400-007-p0052JFKWHCSF-0400-007-p0053JFKWHCSF-0400-007-052 and JFKWHCSF-0400-007-053: My uncle’s telegram to the President.

 

On behalf of the Mayflower Warehousemen’s Association, my uncle invited President Kennedy to attend a ceremony honoring the Warehouseman of the Year for the Northeastern United States in my hometown of Williamstown, Massachusetts.

While this telegram might not be significant to most, it greatly affected me. I’m proud to know that my uncle’s telegram, however seemingly insignificant it may be, will forever be preserved in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library archives. It also made me realize that every single letter in the Name File has significance to someone, somewhere. To me, the Name File is a treasure trove of letters that reflect the time period in many different ways and serves as an important and interesting tool for understanding our history as Americans.

See some other examples of letters in the White House Name File here, or email kennedy.library@nara.gov for more information.

 

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