We’ve made it to Thursday! How about some summer baseball photos?
President John F. Kennedy throws out the first ball at the 32nd All-Star Baseball Game, on this day in 1962.
Speaker of the House John W. McCormack, Dave Powers, Vice President Johnson, President Kennedy, Commisioner of Baseball Ford. C. Frick, Lawrence O’Brien, others ( in foreground- Dennis Marcel, Frank Brown, members of the Washington Boys Club ). Washington, D.C., 7/10/1962.
-from the JFK Library
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Equal treatment of all Americans, regardless of race, was a major debate for decades in the U.S. Congress. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy urged Congress to take action. Passage of the act was not easy. We’ll be exploring some of the key moments for the Civil Rights Act throughout the day.
Shortly after President Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress and urged them to pass Civil Rights legislation to honor Kennedy’s memory. He said,…no memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long. We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights. We have talked for one hundred years or more. It is time now to write the next chapter, and to write it in the books of law.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress, 11/27/1963, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives
Did JFK Really Tell Berlin He Was a Jelly Doughnut?
One of the iconic moments of John F. Kennedy’s Presidency comes from a speech he gave at the Rathaus Schöneberg in West Berlin, Germany on June 26, 1963. When the President declared “Ich bin ein Berliner!” to a cheering crowd, he preserved the German phrase in history. But the speech has been plagued by claims that, instead of expressing international unity by stating “I am a Berliner!” in German as he intended, JFK enthusiastically shouted a less inspiring phrase: “I am a jelly doughnut!”
Newspapers, magazines, and even textbooks have repeated the story for decades: a native Berliner would’ve said “Ich bin Berliner” and JFK’s use of the article ein changed the meaning, causing chuckles as the crowd imagined the jelly doughnut called a Berliner in parts of Germany. Fifty years later, a new generation may wonder: How could the President, who hand-wrote the pronunciation on his speech card to be sure he’d get it right, make such a cringe-worthy mistake?
But many historians and linguists have stepped in to poke a hole in the doughnut story and clear JFK’s name of this deep-fried controversy. Historian Andreas Daum notes, “saying ein Berliner is correct if used metaphorically,” which, of course, is what Kennedy was doing – not saying he was literally from Berlin, but that he was symbolically with Berlin. Historian Jürgen Eichhoff argues that the wording JFK used was actually the only way to express this particular meaning, and the German speakers (including West Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt) who heard JFK practice the speech agreed.
Historians also point out that archival evidence (like recordings and witness interviews) debunks the idea that the German-speaking crowd found anything weird about JFK’s wording: “No one in the square,” Presidential advisor McGeorge Bundy later said, “confused JFK with a doughnut.”
On the anniversary of JFK’s Berlin speech, we can all rest easier knowing many experts agree President Kennedy did not declare himself a jelly doughnut at this pivotal moment in Cold War history!
A very, very big thanks to JFK Library archivist Stacey Chandler for this guest Tumblr post!
Images: President John F. Kennedy Speaks in Rudolph Wilde Platz; JFK’s handwritten pronunciation note from the President’s speech files; President Kennedy in motorcade with Willie Brandt, Mayor of West Berlin and Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany. 6/26/63.
President John F. Kennedy signs the Equal Pay Act of 1963:
Today in history, President Kennedy signed the 1963 Equal Pay Act, which aimed to reduce income disparity between the sexes. 6/10/63.
Photo: President John F. Kennedy delivers remarks after signing the Equal Pay Act in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, D.C. Standing (L-R): Representative Elizabeth Kee (West Virginia); Representative Edith Green (Oregon); Representative Edna Kelly (New York); Representative Catherine May (Washington); Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson; Director of United Automobile Workers (UAW) Women’s Department, Caroline Davis; Senator Maurine Neuberger of Oregon (in back); President of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs (NFBPWC), Dr. Minnie Miles; Director of the Department of Legislation for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Andrew Biemiller (in back); Representative Leonor K. Sullivan (Missouri); Executive Director of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW), Margaret Mealey; Representative Martha W. Griffiths (Michigan); Representative Julia Butler Hansen (Washington); Secretary of Labor, Willard Wirtz.
-from the JFK Library
Did you know President Kennedy and Bob Hope share a birthday? Here are the duo together at the White House to honor Hope with the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of services to the country and the cause of world peace.
Happy Birthday President Kennedy and Bob Hope!
Happy (Almost) Birthday, Mr. President
Ten days before President John F. Kennedy’s 45th Birthday, he celebrated with a Democratic Party fundraiser for 15,000 people at Madison Square Garden. The event was hosted by President Kennedy’s brother in-law Peter Lawford and included many big name stars of the day. It was at this event where Marilyn Monroe famously and breathlessly sang Happy Birthday, Mr. President.
Happy Birthday, peacecorps!
Happy 53rd birthday to us! On this date in 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the executive order to officially establish the Peace Corps.
(Executive Order 10924 dated March 1, 1961, in which President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps., 03/01/1961)
“WHEREAS a Governmental Commission should be charged with the responsibility for developing recommendations for overcoming discrimination in government and private employment on the basis of sex and for developing recommendations for services which will enable women to continue their role as wives and mothers while making a maximum contribution to the world around them…”
Executive Order 10980 dated December 14, 1961, in which President John F. Kennedy establishes the President’s Commission on the Status of Women., 12/16/1961
The President’s Commission on the Status of Women ran until October 1963 when it issued its final report. President Kennedy appointed former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as the first chair of the commission, serving until her death in 1962.
Records We’re Thankful to Have at the National Archives
Thanksgiving is an anticipated time of year…unless you’re a turkey! While our traditions today may not even include the iconic bird (hello, Tofurkey!), this holiday is still cherished as a time to gather with friends and family and give thanks. But before you start setting the table, enjoy a “harvest” of some of our favorite Thanksgiving records!
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
The Riderless Horse
On November 25, 1963, during President Kennedy’s funeral procession, a magnificent black gelding, with an empty saddle, saber, and boots reversed in the stirrups, followed the caisson bearing the President’s coffin. The riderless horse is one of the highest military honors bestowed upon the fallen. Black Jack, the horse used during JFK’s funeral procession, was from the Army’s oldest active infantry unit, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as The Old Guard. He alone defied the strict military discipline of the day with his rowdy behavior: prancing, throwing his head, and dancing around his walker.
After the funeral, Mrs. Kennedy, an avid horsewoman, expressed an interest in Black Jack. Within hours, the horse’s saddle and blanket, and the boots and saber were delivered to her at the White House.
-from the JFK Library
President John F. Kennedy’s family leaving the Capitol Building, Washington, DC. 11/24/1963. Shown in the picture are left to right: Peter Lawford; Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy; Patricia Kennedy Lawford; Caroline Bouvier Kennedy; Jacqueline Kennedy; John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Abbie Rowe, photographer.
In the days and weeks following the death of President Kennedy, the White House received a flood of condolence mail—over 800,000 letters in the first six weeks, a figure that would eventually rise to over 1.5 million letters.
Condolences arrived from around the world. Men, women, and children from diverse backgrounds—social, economic, political, ethnic, racial, and religious—wrote to Jacqueline Kennedy and her children.
On January 14, 1964, Mrs. Kennedy gave a televised speech, during which she thanked the public for the outpouring of kindness and support:
I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of messages…The knowledge of the affection in which my husband was held by all of you has sustained me, and the warmth of these tributes is something I shall never forget. Whenever I can bear to, I read them. All his bright light gone from the world.
Today, the condolence letters are housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Because of the immense volume received in the weeks and years after the death of President Kennedy, the Library kept a representative sample of approximately 250,000 letters.
These letters are a reflection of what President Kennedy meant to the American people and citizens of the world. They remain as a transcript of the American experience at a time of great national grief.
See more condolence letters on the Pieces of History blog.
Image: Letter from Patricia Hall of Australia to Jacqueline Kennedy, November 23, 1963 (Kennedy Presidential Library)