May
16

Meghan Testerman, Volunteer Extraordinaire

by Laurie Austin, Audiovisual Reference Archivist

In conjunction with Public Service Recognition Week, the Archivist of the United States (or “AOTUS,” as he’s known throughout the National Archives) presented awards to employees and volunteers across the National Archives for exceptional work they achieved over the past year. [Check out AOTUS's blog here: http://blogs.archives.gov/aotus/?p=5473.] We were thrilled that our very own volunteer, Meghan Testerman, was awarded the Weidman Outstanding Volunteer Service Award for her work on the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection.

 

Archivist of the United States David Ferriero presents Kennedy Library volunteer Meghan Testerman with the Weidman Outstanding Volunteer Service Award at Archives II in College Park, MD, 7 May 2014.

Archivist of the United States David Ferriero presents Kennedy Library volunteer Meghan Testerman with the Weidman Outstanding Volunteer Service Award at Archives II in College Park, MD, 7 May 2014.

 

Megh contacted us out of the blue in the fall of 2012 to ask if we had any short-term archival projects that she could do while her husband finished up his master’s degree at a local university. She agreed to take over work on the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection in the effort to finish describing the remaining 25% of photographs—approximately 2,500 images. The work involved researching every photo to identify the people, places, occasions, dates, and copyright holders whenever possible, and then writing descriptions of each image in the database. It also included updating box and folder numbers to make the collection more user-friendly.

There was a good reason why this portion of the collection was left for the end—it was by far the most daunting. Megh’s predecessors had all done their share of detective work, but this portion of the collection required a master sleuth. The photos were primarily of Hemingway’s travels in Spain in the 1950s, as well as the photos he amassed for writing his bull fighting novels. Imagine folder after folder full of unidentified bull fights, bull rings, and bull fighters that all seemed to look the same. Megh threw herself into the project, reading Hemingway’s books The Dangerous Summer and Death in the Afternoon and many biographies and scholarly works about the topic, all on her own time. She sifted through the archival correspondence to get a better sense of his companions and his travels. In a matter of months, she became impressively knowledgeable on Hemingway’s Spain in the 1950s and on bull fighting in general. She reconstructed Hemingway’s movements, learned who accompanied him and where, and became adept at identifying the bull fighters, the bulls and their brands, and even the maneuvers that were being depicted in the images. It was simply remarkable.

 

EH2388S, 1959: Ernest Hemingway visits with Spanish matador Antonio Ordonez at Valcargado, Ordonez' ranch near Cádiz, Spain. Copyright status: Public Domain. Please credit, Ernest Hemingway Photo Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

EH2388S, 1959
Ernest Hemingway visits with Spanish matador Antonio Ordonez at Valcargado, Ordonez’ ranch near Cádiz, Spain.
Copyright status: Public Domain. Please credit, Ernest Hemingway Photo Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

EH8864P, n.d.: Ava Gardner, Luis Miguel Dominguín, Ernest Hemingway, Mary Rupert Bellville and others at a luncheon at Costa dol Sol, Andalusia, Spain. Copyright status: Unknown. Please credit, Ernest Hemingway Photo Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

EH8864P, n.d.
Ava Gardner, Luis Miguel Dominguín, Ernest Hemingway, Mary Rupert Bellville and others at a luncheon at Costa dol Sol, Andalusia, Spain.
Copyright status: Unknown. Please credit, Ernest Hemingway Photo Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

EH10478P, 1959: Ernest Hemingway dines at Valcargado, Antonio Ordonez' ranch near Cádiz, Spain. Copyright status: Unknown. Please credit, Ernest Hemingway Photo Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

EH10478P, 1959
Ernest Hemingway dines at Valcargado, Antonio Ordonez’ ranch near Cádiz, Spain.
Copyright status: Unknown. Please credit, Ernest Hemingway Photo Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EH-C724T, 30 July 1959: Spanish matador Antonio Ordonez performing a pass in Sevilla, Spain. Copyright status: Unknown. Please credit, Ernest Hemingway Photo Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

EH-C724T, 30 July 1959
Spanish matador Antonio Ordonez performing a pass in Sevilla, Spain.
Copyright status: Unknown. Please credit, Ernest Hemingway Photo Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

 

By the time she left us in May 2013, Megh had spent approximately 350 hours at the Kennedy Library and considerably more of her own time doing independent research.

But the story does not end there. After Megh left the Kennedy Library, she happened to meet a reporter from PRI’s The World. She told him about her project at the Kennedy Library; he was fascinated and decided to do a story about it for national radio. That story aired in August 2013: http://pri.org/stories/2013-08-13/new-information-revealed-photos-ernest-hemingways-dangerous-summer

Megh wasn’t with us for very long, but during her short time at the Kennedy Library she produced extraordinary work, captivated staff with her boundless enthusiasm, and, unwittingly, helped to give the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection international exposure.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2014/05/meghan-testerman-volunteer-extraordinaire/

Apr
28

A Bunny in the Rose Garden

by Maryrose Grossman, Audiovisual Reference Archivist

Now that spring is blooming, the White House Rose Garden–the most prominent horticultural display on the grounds of the Presidential mansion–comes to mind. Bordering the Oval Office and the West Wing of the White House since 1913, the White House Rose Garden has long been the setting for official presidential business: hosting special visitors, conducting official ceremonies, making public statements, and more. It has also served as an elegant yet informal space for the private use of presidents and their families.

JFKWHP-ST-C115-1-63. View of the Rose Garden from the Oval Office at the White House, April 29, 1963. (Thumbprint at upper left appears on original negative.)

 

During the Kennedy Presidency, Mrs. Kennedy, as part of her sweeping White House restoration efforts, set about transforming the Rose Garden from a “nondescript patch of hedge-rowed lawn”[1] into a space with a defined central lawn bordered by flower beds planted in a French style; it would feature American botanical specimens including crab apple trees, tulips, primrose, and grape hyacinth. The physical transformation was led by Mrs. Kennedy’s friend Rachel Lambert (“Bunny”) Mellon, wife of philanthropist Paul Mellon. Despite not having any formal landscape training, Bunny Mellon had a vision for the Rose Garden that was compatible with the First Family’s desire for a stately and inviting outdoor stage for both public and private activities.

 

JFKWHP-KN-C28009. Tulips blooming in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 1963.

JFKWHP-ST-A1-1-63. Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands (right) visits the White House Rose Garden, April 18, 1963.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunny Mellon died on March 17, 2014 at the age of 103, an event prompting considerable activity in the Kennedy Library’s audiovisual reference unit, particularly with regard to requests for images of Mrs. Mellon and the Rose Garden restoration project. The audiovisual reference team was unaware of any such images, until recent interest prompted a closer look at one image in particular, KN-20842. Research confirms that the woman standing in the background is Mrs. Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon.

 

JFKWHP-KN-20842 (edited). Rose Garden construction progress photo, with superimposed close ups of Bunny Mellon, who is featured in the background, April 4, 1962.

 

The restored Rose Garden offered President and Mrs. Kennedy a beautiful venue for holding events; it also brought joy to family members including young John F. Kennedy, Jr. It still brings joy to many. Mrs. Mellon’s garden continues to invite its visitors to stop, and smell the roses… and all of the other flowers, too.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C112-1-63. John F. Kennedy, Jr. in the Rose Garden, April 26, 1963.

 

References

[1] Abbott, James A. and Elaine M. Rice, Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1998), p. 9.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2014/04/a-bunny-in-the-rose-garden/

Apr
27

The Kennedy Library Joins GoodReads!

by Stacey Chandler, Reference Archivist

JFK Library BookshelfHere in the research room at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library we often get emails from students and scholars asking about books that might be helpful for their research topics. Until very recently, our solution was to email lists of books to our researchers, which they could print and use to find useful books at their local library or bookstore.

In honor of 2014 National Library Week, we started thinking about a way to make this process easier and more fun for our researchers (and our archivists!) and GoodReads, the social networking site for bookworms, is a perfect fit. You can visit our brand-new page here: https://www.goodreads.com/JFK_Library

GoodReads allows readers – even those who aren’t GoodReads members – to read book summaries and reviews written by both casual readers and scholars, and to see bookstores and libraries nearby that carry the book. Readers may also browse “Lists,” which can be edited by anyone in the GoodReads community, and other members’ “Bookshelves,” which can only be edited by the member who created the shelf.

Quite a few public libraries are already on GoodReads as “groups,” but we’re using our account a little differently because we want readers to see lists of books that we use to answer the thousands of questions we get each year. That’s why we joined as a member, rather than a group, and we’re using subject-based bookshelves (like JFK and the Media: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/30412750?shelf=jfk-and-media) to keep track of books that we’ve found helpful for our work at the library. The shelves, which you can see fully listed on our main page, complement our archival collections and show the wide range of topics we can answer questions about.

New books about John F. Kennedy are released all the time, and we’ll be adding them to our shelves as we read and use them. In creating these lists, we realized that some topics (JFK and Civil Rights: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/30412750-john-f-kennedy-presidential-library?order=a&shelf=jfk-and-civil-rights) have been so popular that we couldn’t even try to read them all, while other topics (JFK and Sports: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/30412750-john-f-kennedy-presidential-library?order=a&shelf=jfk-and-sports) were more sparse.

This project has helped us to realize that we’d love to see more work on President Kennedy’s economic policies and involvement in the arts, as well as more comprehensive biographies of the President’s cabinet members and advisors like Stewart Udall and Ted Sorensen. We’re hoping our lists will also help researchers to take note of topics that have been thoroughly covered or relatively neglected by historians – and maybe contribute a book or two to our shelves in the future!

We’re also updating existing records in GoodReads to make them more helpful for all readers. For example, we’re adding links to online versions of useful publications (like the essential Foreign Relations of the United States volumes: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6188868-foreign-relations-of-the-united-states-1961-1963-volume-iv) and adding verified citations for popular John F. Kennedy quotations (see our handiwork here: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/97961-conformity-is-the-jailer-of-freedom-and-the-enemy-of).

Because we’re also home to the world’s largest collection of Ernest Hemingway’s papers, we’re planning to expand our Hemingway-related shelves and to update bibliographic records and Hemingway quotations to be as accurate as possible.

Find us on GoodReads and our other social media sites, including Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/JFKLibrary), Twitter (https://twitter.com/jfklibrary), Instagram (http://instagram.com/jfklibrary), Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/jfklibrary/), Tumblr (http://jfklibrary.tumblr.com/), and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/JFKLF).

Happy reading!

Permanent link to this article: http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2014/04/were-using-goodreads/

Mar
27

Finding Inspiration in the Archives: Honoring Women at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

by Lindsay Closterman and Nicola Mantzaris, Metadata Catalogers, White House Photographs

As National Women’s History Month comes to a close, we want to pay tribute to the women represented in the collections of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library who were instrumental in shaping the landscape of American politics and human rights.

In the research we do as metadata catalogers for the White House Photographs collection, we are constantly discovering inspiring women throughout the Library’s collections. In their professional capacities, these contemporaries of John F. Kennedy met and worked with the President throughout his years in the White House. They held key roles in the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, served in high-ranking positions in the administration, were respected members of Congress, and held key roles as ambassadors, journalists, interpreters, doctors, scientists, military officials, and everyday leaders in the struggle for women’s rights.

The materials listed below highlight some of the women and organizations that contribute to making our collections so valuable and our jobs so rewarding. These documents, photographs, and oral histories reflect the diligent efforts on the part of women from all spheres of government and civilian life to enact legislation to improve the lives of American women in real and lasting ways.

 

FEDERAL LEGISLATION AND RECOGNITION

JFKWHP-AR7035-A. Meeting with President’s Commission on the Status of Women, 12 February 1962 [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-02-12-A.aspx]

JFKWHP-AR7035-A. Meeting with President’s Commission on the Status of Women, 12 February 1962
[View entire folder here:
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-02-12-A.aspx]

 

 

From its establishment on December 14, 1961, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women examined discrimination against women in the United States and proposed ways to eliminate it. Chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, this bipartisan commission worked with the Civil Service Commission as well as the Departments of Labor, Agriculture, Commerce, and Health, Education, and Welfare, to gather its findings and submit a final report to President Kennedy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

View more materials here:

Records of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/USPCSW.aspx?f=1

Audio interview with Eleanor Roosevelt on the Status of Women: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHA-085-005.aspx

Papers relating to the Commission from the President’s Office Files: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKPOF-093-004.aspx

 

 

JFKWHP-ST-C139-1-63. Visit of recipients of 3rd annual Federal Woman's Awards, 2 May 1963 [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1963-05-02-D.aspx]

JFKWHP-ST-C139-1-63. Recipients of 3rd annual Federal Woman’s Awards, 2 May 1963
[View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1963-05-02-D.aspx]

JFKWHP-AR7069-A. Visit of recipients of 2nd annual Federal Woman's Awards, 27 February 1962 [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-02-27-A.aspx]

JFKWHP-AR7069-A. Recipients of 2nd annual Federal Woman’s Awards,
27 February 1962
[View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org
/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-02-27-A.aspx
]

 

 

The Federal Woman’s Awards recognized government employees for outstanding contributions to their fields. The recipients from 1962 and 1963 represented agencies such as the Department of Justice, National Cancer Institute, Department of Labor, Civil Service Commission, Department of the Army, Federal Aviation Agency, and NASA.

 

 

 

 

 

JFKWHP-AR7965-B. Signing of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 10 June 1963 [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1963-06-10-B.aspx]

JFKWHP-AR7965-B. Signing of the Equal Pay Act of 1963,
10 June 1963
[View entire folder here:
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1963-06-10-B.aspx]

 

 

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 promoted economic equality for women in the workplace. The leaders of women’s, civil rights, labor, business, and religious organizations who were present at the signing acted as the organizing forces behind the Equal Pay Act. Women in attendance included: Assistant Secretary of Labor for Labor Standards, Esther Peterson; President of the National Council of Negro Women, Dorothy Height; Senator Maurine Neuberger (D-OR); Representative Edith Green (D-OR); Director of the United Automobile Workers Women’s Department, Caroline Davis; President of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Dr. Minnie Miles; Executive Director of the National Council of Catholic Women, Margaret Mealey; and President of the National Council of Jewish Women, Pearl Larner Willen.

 

 

 

THE WOMEN

JFKWHP-ST-M6-1-61. Esther Peterson with President John F. Kennedy, 14 December 1961 [View photograph record here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-ST-M6-1-61.aspx]

JFKWHP-ST-M6-1-61. Esther Peterson with President John F. Kennedy, 14 December 1961
[View photograph record here:
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-ST-M6-1-61.aspx]

 

 

Esther Peterson was Assistant Secretary of Labor for Labor Standards from 1961 to 1969, as well as Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission on the Status of Women.

View her Oral History and Personal Papers here:

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKOH-EEP-04.aspx

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/EEPPP.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth (Rudel Smith) Gatov was Treasurer of the United States from 1961 to 1962; she also served as a representative from California to the Democratic National Committee. View her Oral History and Personal Papers here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKOH-ERG-01.aspx http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/ERGPP.aspx

JFKWHP-AR6303-A. Swearing-in of Elizabeth Rudel Smith as Treasurer of the United States,
30 January 1961
[View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1961-01-30-B.aspx]

 

 

Elizabeth (Rudel Smith) Gatov was Treasurer of the United States from 1961 to 1962; she also served as a representative from California to the Democratic National Committee.

View her Oral History and Personal Papers here:

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKOH-ERG-01.aspx

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/ERGPP.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

JFKWHP-KN-17561. Representative Edith Green attends a Congressional Coffee Hour, 14 April 1961 [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1961-04-14-F.aspx]

JFKWHP-KN-17561. Representative Edith Green attends a Congressional Coffee Hour, 14 April 1961
[View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1961-04-14-F.aspx]

 

 

Representative Edith Green of Oregon served on the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. An advocate of women’s rights and higher education, Green was instrumental in the passage of Title IX, the 1972 legislation that prohibited discrimination against women in federally-funded educational programs. She served 10 terms in the House of Representatives from 1955 to 1974.

View her Oral History here:

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKOH-ESG-01.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

JFKWHP-AR7039-B. May Craig with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Harry S. Truman, 13 February 1962 View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-02-13-A.aspx

JFKWHP-AR7039-B. May Craig with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Harry S. Truman, 13 February 1962
View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-02-13-A.aspx

 

 

Veteran reporter May Craig, whose career spanned nearly four decades, served as the Washington correspondent for the Guy Gannett Publishing Company of Maine. Craig also had the distinction of being one of the few American female war correspondents during World War II.

View her Oral History here:

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKOH-EMC-01.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

JFKWHP-AR6661-E. Dr. Janet G. Travell briefs the press, 22 June 1961 [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1961-06-22-A.aspx]

JFKWHP-AR6661-E. Dr. Janet G. Travell briefs the press,
22 June 1961
[View entire folder here:
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1961-06-22-A.aspx]

 

 

Dr. Janet G. Travell was Physician to the President from 1961 to 1965. A specialist in the relief of musculoskeletal pain, Dr. Travell began treating then-Senator John F. Kennedy for back pain in 1955.

View her Staff Files here:

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHSFJGT.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JFKWHP-KN-C17522. Nora Lejins with President John F. Kennedy and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany, 12 April 1961 [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1961-04-12-A.aspx]

JFKWHP-KN-C17522. Nora Lejins with President John F. Kennedy and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany, 12 April 1961
[View entire folder here:
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1961-04-12-A.aspx]

 

 

Interpreter Nora Lejins was Assistant Chief of Language Services at the Department of State during the Kennedy Administration. She later became Chief of Language Services and retired in 1984 after 36 years of service in the State Department.

View more photographs here:

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-01-08-B.aspx

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-05-03-C.aspx

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-09-14-C.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

JFKWHP-AR7272-A. Eugenie M. Anderson with President John F. Kennedy, 28 May 1962 [View photograph record here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-AR7272-A.aspx]

JFKWHP-AR7272-A. Eugenie M. Anderson with President John F. Kennedy, 28 May 1962
[View photograph record here:
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-AR7272-A.aspx]

 

 

Eugenie M. Anderson became the first female United States ambassador in 1949 and served during the Kennedy Administration as U.S. Minister to Bulgaria. A former delegate to the Democratic National Convention, Anderson later acted as United States Representative on the United Nations Trusteeship Council and the United Nations Committee for Decolonization.

View her Oral History here:

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKOH-EMA-01.aspx

 

 

 

 

NOTABLE ORGANIZATIONS

JFKWHP-ST-336-2-62. Visit of members of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 2 August 1962 [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-08-02-C.aspx]

JFKWHP-ST-336-2-62. Members of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, 2 August 1962
[View entire folder here:
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-08-02-C.aspx]

 

 

 

Founded in 1896, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs merged multiple organizations, large and small, into one association whose common goals were to support racial and gender equality. The NACWC grew primarily out of the union of the Colored Women’s League of Washington, D.C. and the National Federation of Afro-American Women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JFKWHP-KN-C21765. Visit of representatives of the Women's Army Corps regarding 20th Anniversary,  15 May 1962 [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-05-15-C.aspx]

JFKWHP-KN-C21765. Representatives of the Women’s Army Corps regarding 20th Anniversary,
15 May 1962
[View entire folder here:
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1962-05-15-C.aspx]

 

 

 

The Women’s Army Corps was the all-women branch of the United States Army, created first as an auxiliary unit in 1942 and then established as a formal branch of the U.S. Army in 1945. It was disbanded in 1978 when women were integrated into the other branches of the Army, serving alongside men in all but combat roles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JFKWHP-KN-C17738. Visit of members of the Association of Women Helicopter Pilots, 4 May 1961 [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1961-05-04-B.aspx]

JFKWHP-KN-C17738. Members of the Association of Women Helicopter Pilots, 4 May 1961
[View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1961-05-04-B.aspx]

 

 

 

The Association of Women Helicopter Pilots (also known as “Whirly-Girls“) was founded in 1955 by aviator Jean Ross Howard, with members from the United States, France, and Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postcard with commemorative Amelia Earhart stamp [View entire folder here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKPOF-104-002.aspx]

Postcard with commemorative Amelia Earhart stamp, c. 1963
[View entire folder here:
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKPOF-104-002.aspx]

 

 

The Ninety-Nines, Inc. (International Organization of Women Pilots) was established in 1929 by 99 female pilots. Amelia Earhart served as the organization’s first president.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2014/03/honoring-national-womens-history-month/

Mar
26

Restoring the Past in the White House: A Look at the Jacqueline Kennedy White House Restoration Project

by Suzanna Calev and Sara Hawran, Graduate Student Interns (Simmons College)

Greetings from Reference interns Suzanna Calev and Sara Hawran! We have recently completed an exhibit board in the main research room of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, entitled “Jacqueline Kennedy’s White House Restoration Project.” Through our research we have come across many interesting documents on this topic, too many in fact to fit in our exhibit board. While there is much scholarship written about the restoration, the documents have given us a new understanding of the work that went into restoring the White House and of the dedication of many individuals who made the project possible. We would like to highlight some of those documents in this blog post.

According to a September 1, 1961 interview with Life magazine’s Hugh Sidey, Jacqueline Kennedy visited the White House with her mother and sister in 1941. She noticed the lack of historical furnishings on display and of information on the history of the house. When she became First Lady in 1961, Mrs. Kennedy sought to restore the White House to reflect the styles of past presidents. Our search first led us to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Personal Papers, in which we came across a memorandum released on April 24, 1961 explaining the mission of the White House Restoration Project. Here is an excerpt from that memo:

The White House as a Symbol [Excerpt; see digitized folder of material, here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JBKOPP-SF01-004.aspx]:

 

symbol144

 

In preparation for the restoration project, Jacqueline Kennedy created a Fine Arts Committee that would help her find antiques from different presidencies. We came across a brief history of changes made to the White House during each presidential era, the narrative of which was written by Clinton P. Anderson, Senator of New Mexico from 1949 to 1973 (reproduced below). This document was unique because it pulled together the history of White House renovations made during each administration.

[See digitized folder of material, here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JBKOPP-SF01-004.aspx]:

 

White House001 (1)White House002White House003 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For her restoration project, Mrs. Kennedy sought the help of three individuals: interior decorator Dorothy Mae “Sister” Parish; American antiques collector Henry Du Pont; and Parisian designer Stéphane Boudin. With the assistance of Parish, Du Pont, and Boudin, she planned the alterations for each room. It was decided that the Blue Room would be restored to the period of President Monroe. Mrs. Kennedy fashioned the room after the French Empire style, as President Monroe had himself had acquired French Empire furniture for the room after the 1814 White House fire. Two images from the White House Photographs collection show the room’s transformation between November 1961 and January 1963.

 

KN-C19304

 

 

 

[Before photo: White House Blue Room, 2 November 1961, JFKWHP-KN-C19304.]

 

 

blue-room-kennedy

 

 

 

[After photo: White House Blue Room, 24 January 1963, JFKWHP-KN-C26240B.]

 

 

 

Although the curtains and upholstery remained the traditional blue, the room’s walls were changed to the cream color of President Madison’s administration. In the course of researching the Blue Room we found the following memo to Pierre Salinger, which discussed the possibility of changing the room to white. Included in the memo is Mrs. Kennedy’s statement that “the Blue Room will always be the Blue Room.”

[Blue Room excerpt from the Salinger memo; see digitized folder of material, here: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHCSF-0166-007.aspx]:

 

WHCSF002

 

Mrs. Kennedy’s restoration met with overwhelming approval. She received thousands of letters from the public praising her restoration efforts, especially after her televised tour on CBS. Although some people were not pleased with her efforts, most of the messages sent to Mrs. Kennedy were very positive. The White House Social Files contain many of these letters, and the letters shown here exhibit two very different reactions to Mrs. Kennedy’s work on the White House.

 

[Left: view digitized folder here, http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHSF-0942-009.aspx]

[Right: view digitized folder here, http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHSF-0247-009.aspx]

 

Praise003Criticism002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following the Kennedy restoration effort, an executive order was passed on March 7, 1964 requiring the Committee for the Preservation of the White House to approve any modifications to the State Rooms.  The Committee, which included the White House Curator and Chief Usher, would work with each First Family to maintain the historical integrity of the White House. As a result of Jacqueline Kennedy’s work on the restoration project, all administrations are now held accountable for the preservation of the White House.

These are just some of the documents that we came across in preparation for our exhibit board; the Kennedy Library holds many more materials on Jacqueline Kennedy’s White House Restoration Project. If you’re interested in researching this topic, we welcome researchers to visit the library.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://archiveblog.jfklibrary.org/2014/03/restoring-past-white-house-look-jacqueline-kennedy-white-house-restoration-project/

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