USIA Director Edward R. Murrow Audio Recordings Digitized and Available Online

by Bill Bjelf, Assistant Digital Archivist for Audiovisual Collections


(Ver traducción española aquí.)

A series of materials from the Kennedy Library’s United States Information Agency Audio Recordings Collection has been digitized and made available in the Library’s digital archives. The Director Edward R. Murrow Recordings, 1961-1965, contains audio recordings of speeches and other public appearances of former United States Information Agency (USIA) Director, Edward R. Murrow. Also included are recorded retrospectives of Murrow’s life and career made following his death in 1965.




JFKWHP-ST-C61-1-61. President John F. Kennedy shakes hands with Edward R. Murrow at Murrow’s swearing-in ceremony as Director of the USIA, 21 March 1961.

[View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1961-03-21-E.aspx]




During Director Murrow’s tenure, the USIA acted as an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch of the U.S. government. The agency was charged with communicating and promoting U.S. foreign policy and national interests through a wide range of overseas information programs; a key goal was to further mutual understanding between the United States and other nations through educational and cultural activities.

Before joining the USIA, Edward R. Murrow had a long and renowned career as a radio and television broadcast journalist. In one of the earliest recordings in this newly-digitized set—remarks at a luncheon at the National Press Club (USIAAU-002)—Director Murrow makes a humorous reference to his career change:


It is with mingled pleasure and awe that I join you today…pleasure at being again among so many of my former colleagues…awe that I am now the object of those scowling, critical visages among whose array I once sat with my own frowning brow.


The Director Edward R. Murrow Recordings series covers USIA activities, goals, and challenges; communications and media; issues related to the Cold War; and other topics. Recordings of particular interest include:


Please see the collection’s finding aid for more information; we also encourage you to browse the digitized USIA recordings.

Due to copyright concerns, a small number of recordings in this set are not available in our digital archives; please contact our audiovisual reference staff for more information: JFK.AVarchives@nara.gov.

More recordings from the United States Information Agency Audio Recordings Collection relating to President Kennedy and his times are currently being digitized and will be available in our digital archives soon.



Permanent link to this article: http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2014/10/usia-director-edward-r-murrow-audio-recordings-digitized-and-available-online/


Newly Digitized: Civil Rights Materials from the Burke Marshall Personal Papers

by Elyse Edwards, Graduate Student Intern (Simmons College GSLIS)

In times of great struggle and conflict in the South,” Congressman [John] Lewis said, “during the freedom rides of 1961, when young people were being beaten by angry mobs in Montgomery and when fire hoses and dogs were being turned on people in Birmingham, people always said, ‘Call Burke.’”

["Burke Marshall, a Key Strategist Of Civil Rights Policy, Dies at 80," © The New York Times Company, June 3, 2003.]


PX 2006-114


Civil rights-related materials from the Burke Marshall Personal Papers represent the latest addition to the digital archives of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. As Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Burke Marshall oversaw landmark moments in civil rights and was instrumental in developing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The newly-digitized material focuses on civil rights issues such as: desegregation of interstate transportation and travel facilities; school desegregation (including James Meredith’s fight to enter the University of Mississippi); voting rights; and legislation.







A memorandum from Burke Marshall to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy discussing pending civil rights cases, issues, incidents, and Department of Justice actions, 19 November 1962.

[View the entire folder here.]






Burke Marshall was born on October 1, 1922, in Plainfield, New Jersey. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University before serving as a Japanese translator and cryptanalyst in the United States Army during World War II. After the war, Marshall returned to Yale for his law degree before joining the law firm of Covington and Burling. In 1961, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy appointed Marshall to the post of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, a position he held until 1965. Following his resignation from the Department of Justice, Marshall returned to Covington and Burling before joining I.B.M., where he served as Vice President and General Counsel. In 1970, Marshall accepted a position as Deputy Dean and Professor at Yale, where he taught classes on political and civil rights for over three decades, eventually earning the title of Professor Emeritus.






Note to file by Burke Marshall regarding demonstrations in Jackson, Mississippi, 29 March 1961.

[View the entire folder here.]







As head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, Marshall took immediate action to enforce desegregation in schools and in interstate travel. Never one to send representatives in his stead, he worked directly with affected communities and established relationships within them. In the summer of 1961 Marshall visited every city in the South with schools that were slated for desegregation that fall, speaking with state and local officials and community members to facilitate open dialogue. Marshall preferred to seek resolution through open discourse, a hallmark of his approach to easing racial tensions and encouraging voluntary integration.






A letter from James Meredith to the Justice Department requesting that the federal government step in to enforce integration in public education and protect the rights of all citizens, 7 February 1961.

[View the entire folder here.]





One of the major challenges that Marshall faced was the integration of the University of Mississippi. Marshall spent weeks traveling between Mississippi and Washington, D.C., working with state and local officials to ensure that James Meredith would be admitted peacefully to the school. Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett opposed Meredith’s admission, citing state laws. Despite numerous telephone calls with Marshall and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Governor Barnett refused to uphold the Supreme Court ruling banning segregation in public schools. United States Marshals were sent to the University of Mississippi to maintain peace while the ruling was enforced, leading to a violent confrontation between students and those opposed to the admission of Meredith. Careful preparation and close vigilance by Marshall and RFK, as well as protective details provided by the U.S. Marshals, ensured Meredith’s successful enrollment in the University of Mississippi on October 1, 1962.

Listen to some of the telephone conversations among the President, Attorney General, Governor Barnett, and Burke Marshall here and here.





Transcript of a telephone conversation between Burke Marshall and Governor of Mississippi, Ross Barnett, regarding the admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi, 1 October 1962.

[View the entire folder, containing additional transcripts of conversations among the Governor, President Kennedy, and the Attorney General, here.]





Burke Marshall visited the southern states regularly, holding numerous meetings with various leaders including Governor Barnett, Governor George Wallace of Alabama,  as well as mayors, businessmen, and lawyers, to discuss potential solutions for easing racial tensions. The success of civil rights legislation and its implementation was influenced by the tenacious efforts of Marshall and his staff to open up channels of communication and to mediate sharp disagreements within communities. Additionally, Marshall used legal recourse when necessary to enforce civil rights legislation; he and his staff actively applied the rule of law to civil rights cases, a key strategy for enforcing voting rights.





Memorandum from Burke Marshall to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy regarding a letter from NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers about voting rights infringement cases in the South, 15 March 1961.

[View the entire folder here.]











Letter from Burke Marshall to Laura McCray, who was appointed a voting referee in Alabama to ensure fair and lawful registration for all voters, 10 May 1961.

[View the entire folder here.]









At that time, voting restrictions served as a major vehicle of oppression in the South. Literacy tests, poll taxes, and intimidation were mechanisms of discrimination used against African Americans, leaving them unable to exercise their right to vote. The resulting disenfranchisement meant that African Americans were unable to exert any political influence where they lived. To address this problem, Marshall and his team undertook a massive legal effort to guarantee voting rights. To that end, inspections of voting facilities, voting records, and test administrators were conducted in nearly 200 counties to ensure that voting regulations were administered fairly.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, originally proposed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, was the culmination of years of hard work undertaken by Burke Marshall, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and countless others working for, with, and alongside the Department of Justice. Previous civil rights legislation, including the acts of 1957 and 1960, lacked adequate enforcement provisions and their defense relied heavily on the 14th Amendment. Marshall approached civil rights legislation from a different angle, invoking the federal government’s constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.

As racial tensions grew, the necessity for legislation to protect civil rights activists and civilians and to permit federal intervention became apparent. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a source of heated debate, as many viewed it as a violation of states’ rights. Regardless, it was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964 and was a crowning achievement for those committed to expanding and ensuring equal rights for all Americans. (You can read more about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on our blog and on Tumblr.)

Burke Marshall’s contribution to the field of civil rights is enduring and his role as a consummate public servant was well-recognized. On Marshall’s letter of resignation as Assistant Attorney General, President Lyndon B. Johnson noted, “I have never known any person who rendered a better quality of public service.”

Permanent link to this article: http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2014/09/newly-digitized-civil-rights-materials-from-the-burke-marshall-personal-papers/


Newly Processed Collection: Lawrence F. O’Brien Personal Papers

by Abigail Malangone, Processing Archivist

We are pleased to announce that the Lawrence F. O’Brien Personal Papers are open and available for research.

Lawrence “Larry” O’Brien, of Springfield, Massachusetts, was a member of the inner circle of Kennedy aides that came to be known as the “Irish Mafia.” O’Brien began his association with John F. Kennedy in the early 1950s; he worked on Kennedy’s 1952 and 1958 Senate campaigns and was named National Director of Organization for Kennedy’s 1960 presidential run. A widely admired figure for his organizing talent, his “O’Brien Manual” became a highly sought-after volume for anyone wanting to run a campaign and win an election.

O’Brien was named Special Assistant to the President for Congressional Relations and Personnel in 1961. He faced challenges from the outset, including a slender Democratic majority in Congress and a Rules Committee fight. However, he used his skills to build an office and a staff that would strengthen communication between the executive and legislative branches.






Congressional Quarterly “White House Lobby on the Hill.” Excerpt of an article on the O’Brien operation.

[View the entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/LOBPP-090-008.aspx]







Following President Kennedy’s assassination, O’Brien continued to serve as a special assistant during the Johnson Administration. He remained in that role even after being appointed Postmaster General—a position that made him a member of President Johnson’s Cabinet. O’Brien took over the reins of the Post Office Department at a critical juncture and began a course of examination and change that led to the modern-day United States Postal Service.

Larry O’Brien resigned from government service in 1968 to join Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign; later, he directed Hubert Humphrey’s presidential run. After a brief hiatus from politics, O’Brien served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and was charged with bringing back respectability, financial stability, and unity to the Democratic Party.







Excerpt from Chairman O’Brien’s 1972 convention speech.

[View the entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/LOBPP-200-009.aspx]







During his tenure as DNC Chairman, O’Brien was a target of the Watergate break-in and fought to have a Special Prosecutor appointed to investigate the event.






O’Brien’s letter to President Nixon following the Watergate break-in.

[View the entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/LOBPP-239-008.aspx]








O’Brien wrote about his life in politics in his 1974 book, No Final Victories. The book’s contents mimic those of O’Brien’s personal papers, both of which focus on O’Brien’s political life—from John F. Kennedy to Watergate. Researchers will learn not only about the man, but also about: campaign organization; legislative programs during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations; the Post Office Department’s operations; the workings of the DNC; and much more.



Permanent link to this article: http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2014/09/newly-processed-collection-lawrence-f-obrien-personal-papers/


La Biblioteca Kennedy Recuerda Cineasta Robert Drew

por Laurie Austin, Archivera de Referencias Audiovisuales
traducción por David Castillo, Interna en la Biblioteca Presidencial John F. Kennedy


(See English translation here.)

Estamos muy triste saber de la defunción del director de documentales Robert Drew el 30 de julio de 2014. Aunque Drew tenía una carrera larga y distinguida que excedía su connexión con John F. Kennedy, nos detenemos un momento para reconocer la importancia de sus documantales sobre Kennedy: Primary (1960), Adventures on the New Frontier (1961), y Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963).

Al fin de los años cincuenta, Robert Drew desarrolló una nueva technología cinematográfica que cambiaría la producción del cine documental. Su innovación—una cámara portátil que grabó la acción en sincronización con el sonido—hizo possible mirar a los sucesos históricos de nueva manera, segun se iban desarollando. Aunque hoy día este método parece muy normal, en los años cincuenta, fue un avance grande para la technología del cine.

El documental Primary siguió los candidatos John F. Kennedy y Hubert Humphrey durante la elección primaria de Wisconsin en 1960. Era revolucionario con su calidad de inmediatez—un género conocido ahora como cinéma vérité. A continuación, Drew hizo un documental sobre la inauguración de Kennedy y los primeros meses en la Casa Blanca. Esta obra, Adventures on the New Frontier, ofreció una vista franca de las acciones del Presidente en el Despacho Oval.






Memorándum de Robert Drew al presidente-electo Kennedy sobre la logística de rodar la inauguración y transición del Presidente, 30 de diciembre de 1960.






Se puede encontrar la carpeta de documentos digitalizados en: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKCAMP1960-1053-014.aspx



La inmediatez del cine de Drew llegó a su máxima extensión con Crisis, que trataba de la historia de la integración de la Universidad de Alabama desde las perspectivas de la Casa Blanca y los ciudadanos de Alabama. Al principio, se rechazaron las propuestas de Drew para rodar estos sucesos.







Primera solicitud de Robert Drew a la Casa Blanca sobre el rodaje de Crisis, 2 de mayo de 1963.






Se puede encontrar la carpeta de documentos digitalizados en: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHCSF-0847-002.aspx








Carta de Secretario de Prensa para la Casa Blanca, Pierre Salinger, a Robert Drew rechazando su propuesta para rodar las acciones del Presidente con respecto al crisis en la Universidad de Alabama, 20 de mayo de 1963.

Se puede encontrar la carpeta de documentos digitalizados en: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHCSF-0367-005.aspx






No podemos encontrar evidencia escrita que demuestra que el presidente Kennedy tuvo un cambio de opinión sobre el rodaje, pero evidentemente eso ocurrió. Crisis documenta conversaciones importantes y decisiones hechos por el presidente Kennedy durante uno de los conflictos nacionales más intensos de su presidencia.







Borrador del introducción por la Casa Blanca para su próximo documental Crisis, 10 de octubre de 1963.

Se puede encontratr mas narración y transcripsciones de varias partes de la película en: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHCSF-0366-002.aspx







Tenemos copias de los tres documentales de Robert Drew sobre John F. Kennedy y se puede pedir una cita con el Departamento de Referencias Audiovisuales para verlos. Por favor, manda un correo electrónico a JFK.AVArchives@nara.gov para mas información.




Permanent link to this article: http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2014/09/la-biblioteca-kennedy-recuerda-cineasta-robert-drew/


The Kennedy Library Remembers Filmmaker Robert Drew

by Laurie Austin, Audiovisual Reference Archivist


(Ver traducción española aquí.)

We were saddened to learn of the passing of documentary filmmaker Robert Drew on July 30, 2014. While Drew had a long and distinguished career that went beyond his connection with John F. Kennedy, we pause a moment to recognize the importance of his three Kennedy documentaries, Primary (1960), Adventures on the New Frontier (1961), and Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963).

In the late 1950s Robert Drew developed new film technology that would change how documentary filmmaking was produced. His innovation—a handheld camera that filmed action in sync with the sound—made it possible to look in on historic events in a new way, as they were unfolding. While today this method seems like second nature, in the late 1950s it was a giant step forward in film technology.

Drew’s documentary Primary followed Democratic presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey through the 1960 Wisconsin primary. It was groundbreaking in its “you-are-there” nature—a genre now known as cinéma vérité. Drew followed that film up with a documentary portraying President Kennedy’s inauguration and his first months in the White House; this work, Adventures on the New Frontier, candidly followed the President’s actions in the Oval Office.






Memo from Robert Drew to President-elect John F. Kennedy regarding the logistics of filming the President’s inauguration and transition, 30 December 1960. 






View the digitized folder of material here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKCAMP1960-1053-014.aspx



The “fly-on-the-wall” nature of Drew’s filmmaking was brought to full force in Crisis, which told the story of the integration of the University of Alabama from the perspectives of both the White House and the citizens of Alabama. Drew’s request to film this event was initially rejected.







Robert Drew’s initial inquiry to the White House about the filming of Crisis, 2 May 1963.






View the digitized folder of material here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHCSF-0847-002.aspx








Letter from White House Press Secretary, Pierre Salinger, to Robert Drew, rejecting the proposal to film the President’s handling of the crisis at the University of Alabama, 20 May 1963.

View the digitized folder of material here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHCSF-0367-005.aspx






We cannot find written evidence showing that President Kennedy changed his mind about the filming of this event, though clearly he did. Crisis captures important conversations and decisions made by President Kennedy during one of the most intense domestic disputes of his presidency.







White House draft opener for Robert Drew’s forthcoming documentary Crisis, 10 October 1963.

Additional narration and transcriptions of film segments can be found here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHCSF-0366-002.aspx







We have copies of all three of Robert Drew’s documentaries on John F. Kennedy and anyone is welcome to make an appointment with the Audiovisual Reference Unit to view them on-site. Please email JFK.AVArchives@nara.gov for more information.




Permanent link to this article: http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2014/09/the-kennedy-library-remembers-filmmaker-robert-drew/

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