The Kennedys greet the Stravinskys before the White House dinner in the composer’s honor on January 18, 1962. (Abbie Rowe, White House, JFK Library).

Watch a performance of the elegy that Igor Stravinsky composed in honor of JFK.

 

The Condolence Mail, continued

The overwhelming majority of letters were handled by a dedicated group of friends and volunteers who opened each envelope, carefully noting the names and addresses on multiple lists. Boxes were set up on long tables to handle specific kinds of mail like Catholic mass offering cards and contributions, suggestions for memorials, requests for photos, or for the funeral mass card designed by Jacqueline Kennedy for the president’s obsequies. Correspondence from friends and leaders was supposed to be culled from the torrent of mail, marked V.I.P., gathered in folders, and sent to Jacqueline Kennedy in Georgetown, where she had taken temporary refuge in a borrowed house.

 

 

Connections
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THE LETTER WRITERS

 

David C. Acheson. Son of Dean Acheson and a prominent lawyer, author, and policy analyst; US Attorney for DC 1961 to 1965 and later a special assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury. He is the author of Acheson Country: A Memoir, among other books.

Dr. Mary Adelman. In 1963 Dr. Maria M. Adelman was a recent immigrant to the United States from the Russian city of Gorki.

Konrad Adenauer.  First and one of the longest-serving chancellors of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). Resigned in October 1963 and died in 1967 at the age of 91.

Syed Amjad Ali. Influential Pakistani diplomat who served as ambassador to the USA from 1953 to 1955 and as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN from 1964 to 1967. He died in 1997, age 90.

June Allyson and Dick Powell Jr. American actress best known for her work in movies of the 40s and 50s, retiring from her acting career after the death of her husband, veteran actor/director Dick Powell. Dick Powell Jr. is their son.

Hervé & Nicole Alphand. French Ambassador to United States and his wife, known for their wit and stylishness. A close associate of Charles De Gaulle, served in DC from 1956 to 1965 and died in 1994; his wife predeceased him in 1979.

Marian Anderson. Famed African-American contralto who in 1939 was refused permission to give a concert at Washington’s Constitution Hall; in 1961 she sang “The Star Spangled Banner” at Kennedy’s Inauguration, and retired from singing four years later. She died in 1993 when she was 96 years old.

John L. Armstrong. Choate classmate of JFK and social acquaintance of the Kennedy family from the Cape. He died in 1983; he was 83 years old.

Sir Frederick Ashton. Dancer, choreographer, and director of London’s Royal Ballet from 1963 to 1970. He died in 1988, aged 84.

Chiquita Astor. Ana Inez Carcano Astor, daughter of the Argentinian ambassador to the UK and first wife of John (Jakie) Astor, son of Nancy, Lady Astor. A social friend of Jack Kennedy’s from times spent in England. She died in 1992.

Nancy, Lady Astor. Native Virginian who married a member of the British wing of the Astor family and became the first woman member of Parliament. Known for her sharp wit, she later became a close friend of Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy; she died in 1964.

Pearl Bailey Bellson. African-American theater and film actress also known for singing with Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. The wife of jazz drummer Louie Bellson, she died in 1990.

Josephine Baker. Expatriate African-American cabaret performer who created a sensation at the Folies Bergères in 1920s Paris and became a French citizen as well as a noted civil rights activist during the 1950s and early 60s. She died in 1975; she was 68 years old.

George Balanchine. Russian-born choreographer and co-founder of the New York City Ballet. He died in 1983.

Philip Barry Jr. Television producer and son of the Irish-American playwright of the same name; he died in 1998.

Cecil Beaton. English photographer, set and costume designer as well as noted diarist who died in 1980.

Romulo Betancourt. Twice president of Venezuela (1945–48 and 1959–1964), known as a reformer and key supporter of Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress. He died in 1981.

Bhagwat Singjhi. Maharana or ruler of Mewar, a princely kingdom incorporated into India under the 1947 constitution, which Jackie Kennedy visited during her 1962 tour of South Asia. Bhagwat Singjhi died in 1984.

Jim Bishop. Journalist and syndicated columnist, author of The Day Kennedy Was Shot, The Day Lincoln Was Shot, etc. Born in 1907, he died in 1987.

Joyce Bishop. The author writes: "I am an ordinary American wife and mother, living in a quiet suburb."

Werner Bockelmann. German Social Democratic politician, High Mayor of Frankfurt-am-Main during JFK’s visit in 1963. Born in Moscow in 1907, he died in a traffic accident in 1968.

Lindy Boggs. Wife of House Majority Whip Hale Boggs, later the first congresswoman ever elected from Louisiana and US Ambassador to the Vatican; also the mother of newscaster Cokie Roberts.

Stéphane Boudin. French designer, head of Maison Jansen, who assisted Jackie Kennedy in her redecoration of the White House. He died in 1967.

Moufida Bourguiba. French-born as Mathilde Clémence Lorain, Moufida Bourguiba was the first wife of President Bourguiba of Tunisia and mother of the then Tunisian ambassador to the United States. Born in 1890, she died in 1976.

Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter “Little Edie.” Jacqueline Kennedy’s aunt and cousin, from East Hampton, Long Island. “Big” Edith died in 1977 and “Little Edie” in 2002.

Sampson P. Bowers. A social acquaintance of Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy's from the 1950s.

Margaret & Ernst  Braun. Margaret Braun's daughter Jessica writes: "My mother was born in 1929 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She attended Queens College there, where she met my father, and they moved to Columbia, Missouri around 1960. She died in 2008, October, in Carbondale, Illinois. She divorced my father many years ago and made a life for herself in a few places, coming to settle in Carbondale. She moved there to attend SIU and get her PhD in Public Health/Gerontology.
     "My mother was always a true humanitarian at heart and always a giver, rather than a taker. It would have been natural for her to reach out to the First Lady via her writing, during this time of our nation's sorrow. One of my mother's dreams was to be published, and it was a cherished moment to visit her at the nursing home and present her with a copy of her letter, and let her know that her writing would indeed be memorialized in the name of Jackie Kennedy. She was very touched."

Eddie Breinan. In 1963, Eddie Breinan was a doctoral candidate in Metallurgical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Dr. Breinan died December 16, 1985, at age 43.

Josiah Bunting III. VMI Rhodes Scholar graduate who became a well-known author, college president and Superintendent of Virginia Military Institute. He is currently President of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.

Libby (Mrs. Sanford) Byers. Libby Byers is now 88 years old, a retired Professor of Education at Sonoma State University, where she taught courses in human development. She remembers: "When the terrible news reached us, parents and teachers were faced with new daunting responsibilities: What to tell the children? How to explain this? The implications for the nation's children, (including my own five youngsters) were enormous."

Patrick J. Callanan. Patrick Callanan is a musician, piano technician, and luthier based in Northern Virginia. As a musician, he is first and foremost a stringed-instrument player. He began as a guitarist, playing his first professional gig at the age of fifteen, a year before he composed "A Country's Lament," the musical tribute he sent to Jacqueline Kennedy. Over the years, he and his bands have opened for such well-known musical groups as Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds, Poco, Savoy Brown, Loggins and Messina, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. He studied music and electronic music at the University of Indiana. Later he studied composition at the University of Maryland under Larry Moss.

Michael Canfield. First husband of Jacqueline Kennedy's sister, Lee Bouvier (later Radziwill); their marriage was annulled in 1958. Son of Harper Brothers' publishing head Cass Canfield, Michael Canfield died in 1969 at the age of 43.

Oleg Cassini. Naturalized American clothes designer of French and Russian aristocratic background, and an old friend of Joseph P. Kennedy. He became the principal couturier for Jacqueline Kennedy during her years in the White House. Born in 1913, he died in 2006 just shy of his 93rd birthday.

Barbara (Mrs. Charles) Casteen.

Bennett Cerf. Publisher and one of the founders of Random House and television personality on What’s My Line? He died in 1971, age 73.

Grand Duchess Charlotte. Royal head of the Duchy of Luxembourg: In London exile during World War II, she became a symbol of national resistance during the German occupation of her country. Born in 1896, she died in 1985.

Chiang Kai-Shek. President of the Republic of China who lost the Chinese Civil War to Mao Zedong’s Communists and subsequently ruled Taiwan or Nationalist China until his death in 1975 at 88.

Linda Christison.

Winston Spencer Churchill. Grandson of the former British Prime Minister and World War II leader.

Donald J. Ciappenelli. Student at the University of Massachusetts when JFK was assassinated.

Mother Superior M. J. Clement. The former Flossie Fitzgerald Ward, a cousin of JFK’s on his mother’s side, who he visited at Loreto Convent in Wexford during his June 1963 trip to Ireland.

"Aunt" Loretta (Mrs. George) Connelly. JFK’s aunt, the sister of his father Joseph P. Kennedy.

Declan Costello. Member of the Irish Dail or lower house, barrister and Attorney General in the 1972 Fine Gael/Labour Coalition Government, then High Court judge; son of the former prime minister.

Noel Coward. English playwright, composer, and director; Jacqueline Kennedy’s attendance at previvews of his musical Sail Away insured favorable press attention for it. Coward was also an occasional social acquaintance of the Kennedys. Born in late 1899, he was 73 when he died in early 1973.

Robert P. Cramer. A former Massachusetts legislator and personal political friend of JFK from Kennedy's early forays into politics in Western Massachusetts, he became president of the Virgin Islands Corporation in 1961. August 9, 1995 is his date of death.

James Braxton Craven, Jr. US District Judge for Western North Carolina appointed by JFK in the summer of 1961, later appointed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He died while still in office in 1977, aged 59.

Alice Gloria Crayton.

Bing Crosby. Singer and actor and one of the best-known media stars of the age. He died in 1977 after a long and stellar film and recording career.

Pat Skakel Cuffe. The older sister of Robert Kennedy’s wife Ethel. She married Irish architect Luan Cuffe, whom she met when he was attending Harvard, and settled in Dublin. She died in 2000 at age 75.

Charles de Gaulle. Leader of the Free French during World War II and President of France from 1959 to 1969, resigning one year before his death in 1970 at age 80.

Eamon Devalera. Leader in the struggle for Irish independence and president of Ireland from 1959 to 1973. He died two years later.

Moucher Devonshire. Mary Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, born Lady Mary Cecil: the English mother-in-law of Jack Kennedy’s younger sister Kathleen Kennedy. She died in 1988, age 93.

Angie Dickinson. Angie Dickinson, actor, was a friend of the Kennedy family since campaigning for Senator John Kennedy across the country in early November, 1960. Angie also "had the wonderful good fortune" to meet Mrs. Kennedy on several occasions after November 1963, and has stayed in touch with the family over these years. Two of her movies from around 1960 were the original Ocean's Eleven (1960), and Rio Bravo.

Mrs. Leo Domzalski. The author writes: "I've been married fifty years and my baby daughter was just three months old at the time of President Kennedy's assassination. I had four children altogether. They are now 49, 47, 46, and 37 years old. I also have four grandchildren. May President Kennedy's memory continue to live on."

Antal Dorati. Hungarian-born American conductor/composer. He served as conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra for more than a decade, and later with the National Symphony in Washington DC and the Detroit Symphony. He also had several positions with European orchestras. He died in 1988 at age 82.

Justice William O. Douglas. Liberal Supreme Court justice appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and serving longer than any other justice ever; he died in 1980.

Elizabeth & Sir Alec Douglas-Home. British Foreign Secretary and then Prime Minister, succeeding Harold Macmillan one month before Kennedy’s assassination and lasting one year in office. His brother, the playwright William Douglas-Home, had been an admirer of JFK’s sister Kathleen Kennedy. Sir Alec died in 1995 at age 93.

Robin Douglas-Home. Nephew of the British Prime Minister; jazz pianist and friend of Jacqueline Kennedy. He died in 1968.

Hugh Downs. Host of the Today show and the TV quiz show Concentration and until 1962 announcer for Jack Paar’s Tonight show.

Marian Sulzberger Dryfoos (Mrs. Andrew Heiskell). Mrs. Heiskell has been the granddaughter, daughter, wife, sister and aunt of the Publisher of The New York Times. In 1965 she married Andrew Heiskell, chairman of Time, Inc. She served as director of Special Activities at The Times from 1963 until 1977 and has been a prominent conservationist and supporter of the arts and the environment.

Esther Edwards. Childhood neighbor who used to play anad roughhouse with the older Kennedy boys.

HM Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms.

HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The wife of King George VI of the United Kingdom and mother of Queen Elizabeth the II. When she died in 2002 she was 101 years old.

Tom Emmitt. Writes his daughter Helen: "Tom Emmitt was a singer, composer, violinist, conductor, and teacher.He was born in rural West Virginia in 1913, and lived most of his childhood in Kansas, where his father worked in the oilfields. As a young man, he worked as a teacher and high school band director. He also performed with the composer and pianist Percy Grainger. His love of music was matched by his love of his country, so he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in World War II and served in the Aleutian Islands as a topographical draftsman. Upon his return to the Lower 48, he enrolled at the University of Southern California, where he earned two master degrees before vision problems stopped him short of his Ph.D. Having regained some of his vision, he settled in Ventura County, California, where he worked as a choir director, tenor soloist, and voice teacher, and where he began his career with the State of California Department of Health. Tom worked at Camarillo State Hospital, first as a musicologist, and later as director of telecommunications for the state Department of Health, a position he held for twenty years.In 1959, he married the soprano soloist in  the choir that he conducted. Together, they attended hundreds of concerts over the years as music critics for a local newspaper. In his retirement, he and his beloved German Shepherd, Amigo, were beloved figures around town on their walks. He died in 1995, and is survived by his wife Barbara and his children Tom and Helen."

Ludwig Erhard. German chancellor who succeeded Konrad Adenauer shortly before the death of JFK. A Christian Democrat, he remained in office until December 1966. He died in 1977, when he was 80 years old.

Rowland Evans Jr. As a political reporter for the New York Herald Tribune's Washington Bureau in the 50s, Evans covered—and became a friend of—John F. Kennedy, then senator from Massachusetts. Later, Evans teamed up with Robert Novak to write the Evans/Novak syndicated column, “Inside Report.”  He died in 2001.

Mrs. Medgar (Myrlie B & L) Evers. Widow of Medgar Evers, Mississippi NAACP Civil Rights leader who was gunned down in June of 1963 on the porch of his house. Having assisted her husband in his civil rights activities, after his death Mrs. Evers lived mostly on the West Coast, where she went on to build a professional career for herself, including as chairman of the NAACP from 1995 to 1998.

Anita Fay. Wife of Paul "Red" Fay and family friend of the Kennedys.

Katherine F. Fay. Kathy Fay is the daughter of Anita and the late Paul (Red) B. Fay Jr., one of John Kenendy’s closest friends. When she was growing up, her family lived in McLean, Virginia, close to their friends the Robert Kennedys. As a teenager, she often shared trips with the Kennedy children to places like Camp David, the White House, and the Kennedy compounds in Hyannis or Palm Beach. Later during her life, she used her skills with young children in such activities as running theater and  summer day camps. The mother of two grown children, she has had a rich professional career in merchandising, public relations, personal networking,media and special events. She lives in south Florida.

Paul B. Fay Jr. PT boat buddy and confidant of JFK who served as Under Secretary of the Navy during the Kennedy and part of the Johnson administrations before returning to business in his native California. He died in 2009, age 91.

Brett Ferneau. Brett Ferneau wrote to Mr. Kennedy as a nine-year old in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Today he writes: "I remember that day well, although time has obscured the meaning of some of the references in the letter."

Marshall Field Jr. (or IV). Owner/publisher of the populist and progressive Chicago Sun-Times from 1956 to 1965, when he died of heart failure at age 49.

Betty & Harvey Firestone. Harvey Samuel Firestone, Jr., who died in 1973, was chairman of the board of the Firestone Tire Company. He and his wife, Elizabeth Parke Firestone, who died in 1990, were grandparents of William Clay Ford, Jr., the current President and COO of the Ford Motor Company.

Debbie Fletcher.

Alice J. Flynn.

Joan Fontaine. British-American actress, younger sister of Olivia de Haviland. She played Rebecca in Alfred Hitchcok’s movie of the same name.

Mrs. James (Jo) Forrestal. Widow of James Forrestal, sometime foreign policy mentor of the youthful JFK and Secretary of Defense under President Truman; her son Michael Forrestal was one of Kennedy’s key foreign policy aides. She died in 1976.

Orville, Jane, Connie & Mike Freeman. A key political supporter of JFK as Governor of Minnesota, Orville Freeman became JFK’s Secretary of Agriculture and continued to serve in that position under Lyndon Johnson. He died in 2003, survived by his wife Jane and their two children, Connie & Mike.

Betty (Mrs. J.W.) Fulbright. First wife of J. William Fulbright, longtime US Senator from Arkansas and prominent critic of the Vietnam War.

Mrs. Clark Gable. Kay Williams Gable, last wife of legendary actor Clark Gable and mother of his son John Clark Gable.

Matthew Gamser.

Philip & Sherry Geyelin. Foreign correspondent of the Wall Street Journal and future managing editor of the Washington Post; and his wife Sherry. Both were longtime friends of Jacqueline Kennedy’s sister Lee. Philip Geyelin died in 2004.

Graham Gilmer, Jr., M.D. Navy chaplain during World War II.

Arthur & Dorothy Goldberg. Arthur J. Goldberg was a labor lawyer appointed Secretary of Labor and then Supreme Court Justice by President Kennedy. Three years after joining the court, President Johnson persuaded him to leave his lifetime appointment in order to become Ambassador to the UN. Married to Dorothy Kurgans Goldberg, he died in 1990.

Billy Graham. America’s most famous Christian evangelist, he was also a spiritual adviser to every American president since Harry Truman with the single exception of JFK—with whom he instead played golf.

Penny Griffin grew up in Waco, Texas and graduated from Baylor University. She is married and has lived in Dallas for the last 38 years. She was 13 years old and living in Waco, Texas when President Kennedy was assassinated. She writes: “My dad who worked for the Department of Justice had arranged with a Secret Service friend of his for me, my brother, my mother and her friend to attend the Presidential Luncheon at The World Trade Center in Dallas on November 22. Early that morning we drove to Dallas Love Field where we were supposed to meet our Secret Service contact. I have vivid memories of the President and Mrs. Kennedy smiling and waving as they exited the plane at Love Field. We still have the 8 mm movies that we took of them. Since we were not going to the parade in downtown Dallas we stayed at the airport for a while and just before we left Love Field, we heard the news that the President had been shot. I was very shocked and saddened so I decided to write a letter to Mrs. Kennedy to express my sympathy to her and her young children.
      “Since that day I have always felt a special bond to the Kennedy family and have continued to care about them and pray for them. At a very young age this tragic event caused me to begin to grapple with the uncertainty and brevity of life that all people (both great and small) face. I later learned that there were 2 other famous men who died on November 22, 1963 namely C. S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley.  Peter Kreeft who is a philosophy professor at Boston College wrote a book entitled Between Heaven and Hell--A dialogue somewhere beyond death with JFK, Lewis and Huxley. It is the imaginary conversation between JFK the humanist, Lewis the theist and Huxley the pantheist.Of the three men who died on that day C. S. Lewis, the theist, turned out to be the man who had the most profound impact on my life. In the years that followed 1963, I placed my trust in the finished work of Christ and have been a follower of Jesus and a student of the Bible for most of my life.”

Mary Hall, who wrote to Mrs. Kennedy when she was seven years old and living in Racine, Wisconsin, is now Mary F. Devenny, Business Development Manager at Vangent Canada Ltd. in Ottowa, Canada.

Charles A. Harris. A gunner’s mate in the US Navy in World War II from Watertown, Massachusetts, he was shipwrecked along with Lt. Kennedy when their PT Boat 109 was rammed in the South Pacific by a Japanese destroyer. Mr. Harris died in 1987.

Theodore S. Heizer.

Amory Houghton. Amory “Amo” Houghton Jr. became Chairman and CEO of Corning Glass in 1964, and later was a US Congressman from upstate New York. He was acquainted with Jacqueline “from college days.”

Langston Hughes. African-American literary and intellectual leader of the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes was known as a poet, newspaper columnist, biographer, historian and playwright. Born in Joplin, Missouri in 1902, he died in 1967.

Sarah T. Hughes. Texas judge and close friend of Lyndon Johnson, she was summoned to administer the oath of office to LBJ on Air Force One in Dallas on November 22, 1963. She died in 1985, aged 88,

Hubert Humphrey. US Senator from Minnesota, JFK’s principal opponent in the 1960 Democratic presidential primaries, elected Vice-President in 1964 on the ticket with Lyndon Johnson and defeated by Richard Nixon in the 1968 presidential race. He died in 1978, aged 66.

James D. & Nancy Hurd.

Winfred James, Sr. & Family. Eskimo family, several of whom, including the author of the letter to Jacqueline Kennedy, still live in Gambell Alaska.

Lyndon B. Johnson. Vice-president under JFK, he succeeded to the Office of President upon the death of Kennedy and won a landslide election in his own right against Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964. Increasingly unpopular for his escalation of the Vietnam War and on account of domestic strife during his term of office, he declined to run again in March of 1968. He died in 1973.

Evelyn Jones. Longtime loyal employee of the Kennedy family. Sister of the gardener and caretaker at Hyannis Port, she was responsible for the Palm Beach household at the time of Kennedy’s assassination. She died in the late 1990s.

Sandi Jones. Sandra Jones still lives near the Jones Tree Farm where she grew up and planted the Kennedy spruces nearly 50 years ago. She thinks with bemused amazement that her letter is now a piece of "history." The Kennedy trees succumbed to disease; the Lincoln spruce, though, survived more than 140 years, until it was brought down by lightning in 2009. Her father Philip, who encouraged her interest in history, saved pieces of the Lincoln Spruce for posterity.

Gene Kelly. Legendary Hollywood dancer, singer, producer and choreogrpher, immortalized in the movie Singin’ in the Rain. Born in 1912, he died in 1996.

Brigid Kennedy. A distant cousin of JFK who wrote Mrs. Kennedy from near Buffalo, NY in 1963; now an artist and teacher in central Connecticut.

Nikita Khrushchev. Reformist First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and Premier from 1958 to 1964. Ousted from office a year after Kennedy’s assassination by Leonid Brezhnev and Alexey Kosygin, he died in September of 1971.

Nina Khrushchev. Wife of Nikita Khrushchev, who died very shortly after her husband. Their son Sergei is a professor at Brown University and naturalized American.

Maurice L. Kowal. PT-109 crew member from Uxbridge, Massachusetts, “regarded by some of his mates as their leading wit,” according to Robert J. Donovan, author of PT 109. Wounded in the leg from Japanese airplane fire, he left Kennedy’s boat before it was sunk, but showed up again after the legendary rescue to participate in the gunboat activities of PT 59 that Kennedy later commanded. He now lives on Cape Cod.

Vivien Leigh. English actress, most famous for her roles as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind and as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire. From 1940 to 1960 she was married to Laurence Olivier. At the time she wrote the condolence letter to Jacqueline Kennedy she was recovering from the severe episode of manic depression that had forced her to quit Tovarich, the Broadway musical for which she had recently won a Tony. She died in 1967.

Curtis LeMay. Four-star general in charge of implementing the bombardment of Japan during World War II and US Force Chief of Staff under President Kennedy. LeMay was often lampooned for his advocacy of total war (and even caricatured as Jack D. Ripper in the 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb). In 1968 he was the running mate of presidential candidate George Wallace. He died in 1990 at age 83.

Lyman Lemnitzer. Four-star general who served under Kennedy first as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. He died in 1988 when he was 89 years old.

Father Leonard. Priest and professor at All Hallow College, Dublin, a well-known training school for the priesthood. An old friend of the Bouvier family with whom Jackie first made acquaintance on her trip to Europe in 1950. He died not long after the assassination of President Kennedy.  

Liberace. At the time of JFK’s assassination Wladziu Valentino Liberace regularly received larger fees than any other entertainer anywhere in the world. He lived for another twenty-some years, until his death in 1987 at age 66.

William F. Liebenow. Former PT boat mate of JFK from Michigan.

Goddard Lieberson. Composer and president of Columbia Records for nearly 20 years starting in 1956; also a guest at the White House for a dinner in honor of Igor Stravinsky. He died in 1977 at age 66.

Fritz Lipmann. German-American biochemist and one of the Nobel Prize Laureates who attended the Kennedys' Nobel Prize Dinner at the White House in 1962. He died in 1986 at age 87.

Joe Loftus. Veteran reporter for the New York Times for 25 years and later a communications assistant to President Nixon's cabinet officer George P. Shultz. He died in 1990 at age 82.

Russell Long. US Senator from Louisiana, son of the populist autocratic governor and senator from that state, Huey Long, like JFK also assassinated. Russell Long served as senator for nearly four decades and died in 2003.

Mrs. William (Sylvia Taft) Lotspeich. The granddaughter of President William Howard Taft, Sylvia Taft Lotspeich died in 2008.

F. Joseph Mackey III. The letter 21-year-old F. Joseph Mackey III wrote to TIME magazine about his reaction to the assassination was part of a group placed in a special binder and sent by the editors of the magazine to Jacqueline Kennedy. Today, Joe Mackey credits the Kennedy brothers, especially Robert, with influencing him to leave business and go to law school. . . and to his current career as an assistant US attorney in Denver, Colorado. 

Harold & Dorothy Macmillan. Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during most of Kennedy’s administration and shared with the American President a sharp wit; he died in 1986 at age 92. His wife Dorothy was a daughter of the Duke of Devonshire and aunt by marriage of JFK’s younger sister Kathleen; she predeceased her husband by more than twenty years.

Bill Macomber. Ambassador to Jordan during the Kennedy years and a career diplomat, William Macomber had fought with the French Resistance and later became president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He died in 2003, 82 years old.

Jacques Maritain. French Catholic philosopher who led a revival of interest in St. Thomas Acquinas and helped draft the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He was an influential French Gaullist expatriate during World War II and taught widely in the United States. He died in 1973; he was 90 years old.

Peter Maroulis. A Greek immigrant who founded the New York Merchant Tailoring Co. in Washington DC and provided regular dry-cleaning services to JFK's White House. His daughters write: "Our father had catered to President Kennedy from when he was a Congressman and then Senator living in Georgetown. Our father also serviced the elite of Georgetown, including many other senators and congressmen, Elizabeth Taylor (when married to Sen. Warner), Henry Kissinger, etc. Our father died in October of 1973 and was 70 years old."

Dr. Victor F. Marshall, MD, Professor and Chairman of Urology, Cornell Medical School, New York Hospital, treated President Kennedy. He died at age 89 in 2001.

Mary Lou McCarthy. JFK’s cousin, the daughter of his father’s sister Loretta. She passed away in August, 2009.

George McGovern. Three-term US Senator from South Dakota and well-known opponent of the Vietnam War, McGovern was the unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate running against Richard Nixon in 1972. Before becoming a senator, McGovern was Kennedy’s pick to run the Food for Peace program. In 1968 after Robert Kennedy was assassinated he stepped into the race for the presidential nomination as the standard bearer of the Kennedy forces. To this day McGovern continues to be a presence in liberal political circles.

Craig McNamara. Son of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Among Cabinet members, Bob McNamara family was particularly close to Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy. Robert Craig McNamara, 13 at the time of Kennedy’s death, is now an organic nut farmer in northern California.

Vaughn Meader. JFK’s most successful impersonator. Meader’s record album, The First Family, became the fastest-selling LP in history after it appeared in the fall of 1962. Only 26 at the time of his great success, he later became a locally successful bluegrass artist in Maine. He died in 2004.

Sister M.E. Michael.

J. Clayton Miller. Mr. Miller, a Cleveland native, graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio and received a master's degree in public administration at Syracuse. He was a student in China in the late 1930s and came to Washington in 1940. He worked for the army in a civilian capacity during World War II, for the Commerce Dept. as a budget analyst from 1940 to 1951 and then after a decade with Radio Free Europe in NY and Ford Motor Co. in Detroit, he joined the State Dept. in 1961, where he helped develop management programs until 1966. While at the State Dept., he was vigorously defended by President Kennedy during a press conference after having been accused of being a "security risk." He worked for the Interior Dept. from 1966 to 1968 before joining the Veterans Administration. He died in 1997 at age 88.

Jean Monnet. Visionary but practical French internationalist, Monnet was the guiding spirit behind what became the European Union. He worked for decades with governments around the world promoting economic cooperation. Two weeks after JFK’s assassination, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with Special Distinction. (At that same December 6 ceremony, President Johnson conferred the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously on both Pope John XXIII and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.) When Monnet died in 1979, he was 90 years old.

Silvia Monnet. The Italian-born wife of Jean Monnet, a painter who like her husband was personal friends with many of the Western world’s leaders, died some three years after her husband.

Mrs. Edward P. (Wendy) Morgan.

Edmund Muskie. Governor and during JFK’s term US Senator from Maine, Edmund Muskie was the ill-fated frontrunner candidate for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. After serving briefly under President Carter as Secretary of State, his name was floated prominently as the best alternative candidate to run against Ronald Reagan in 1980. He died in 1996.

Gamal Abdel Nasser. President of Egypt from 1956 until his death in 1970, Nasser was a pan-Arab nationalist who briefly succeeded in forming a union with Syria called the United Arab Republic. JFK cultivated a serious dialogue with him, without great diplomatic success.

Eugenia Niarchos. The third wife of Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, herself the daughter of shipping magnate Stavros Livanos. Her sister Athina, who was divorced from Aristotle Onassis in 1960, married Stavros Niarchos a year after Eugenia’s sudden death in 1970. Both sisters were social friends of Jacqueline Kennedy and her sister Lee Radziwill.

Charles M. Nice, Jr. Attorney and later judge from Birmingham, Alabama, and the only Alabama legislator to dissent from his fellow white colleagues when they condemned the Supreme Court for banning segregation in schools. Never again winning election, Nice worked for the U.S. Attorney’s office and in 1963 was a behind-the-scenes voice for reason during the Birmingham civil rights unrest.

David Niven. English actor and memoirist who gained world fame for his starring role in Around the World in Eighty Days and, later the Pink Panther series; also an occasional social guest of the Kennedys. He died in 1983 at age 73.

Richard M. Nixon. As vice-president, he lost the 1960 race for president to Jack Kennedy; two years later, losing the California governor’s race to Edmund “Pat” Brown, he declared his intention to withdraw from politics, only to go on to secure the 1968 Republican nomination and become the country’s 37th president. He resigned in disgrace in 1974 after the Watergate scandals and died in 1994. He was 81 years old.

Julius Nyerere. An educator who became the first president of the independent Tanganyika, later Tanzania; influential independent socialist political thinker. He died in 1999 at age 77.

Sean O’Casey. Left-leaning Irish playwright and autobiographer, perhaps best known for Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars. He died less than a year after JFK, aged 84.

Rosemary O'Donohue. A "daughter of charity" at St. Paul's Hospital in Dallas who helped welcome John and Jacqueline Kennedy along the route of their motorcade on November 22, 1963. She now lives in Illinois.

Mrs. Lawrence Oaks.

Egidio Ortona. Italian diplomat and a social acquaintance and personal friend of Jacqueline Kennedy; he represented Italy in the US from 1944 to 1975, (as Ambassador from 1967 to 1975); he was Ambassador to the UN  from 1958 to 1961. His volumes of American diaries have been published in Italy, the last one of which (1961–67) includes a chapter on the Kennedys. He survived Jacqueline Kennedy by two years, dying in 1996 at age 85.

Prince Carlo Pacelli. Leading member of the Pacellis, the Italian noble family with close connections to the Vatican. He was a nephew of Pope Pius XII, who as Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli had been a family friend of Joseph and Rose Kennedy. During the Mussolini era, Carlo’s father Francesco negotiated the Lateran Treaty that brought a final settlement to relations between the Vatican and the Italian state. He died in 1970.

HM Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Shah of Iran from 1941 until deposed by the Iranian Revolution in 1979. He gained significant power after a US-backed coup in 1953 overthrew the nationalist leader Mohammed Mosaddeq, but alienated the Shia clergy through modernization measures and his autocratic rule. His admission into the USA in 1979 to seek medical treatment shortly before his death triggered the taking of hostages at the American Embassy in Teheran and soured relations with the USA which have yet to recover.

Empress Farah Pahlavi (née Dibah). The third and last wife of the Shah of Iran, currently living in exile in the USA and France.

Babe Paley. One of the socially well-connected Cushing sisters (the others were Mary Astor Fosburgh and Betsey Roosevelt Whitney); Barbara Cushing Mortimer Paley was a former fashion editor and one-time spouse of Standard Oil heir Stanley Mortimer. She later married the broadcasting titan of CBS, William Paley. She died of lung cancer in 1978, one day after her 63rd birthday.

TM King Paul & Queen Frederica of Greece. The King and Queen Consort of Greece (though both actually of German aristocratic pedigree) they were restored to the Greek throne in the wake of World War II, only to encounter severe criticism from anti-monarchical politicians. King Paul died in 1964, their son Constantine II was deposed by the military coup of 1967, and Frederica died in exile in Madrid in 1981. She was 63.

Ernst-Josef Pauw. German student and activist in Berlin at the time of Kennedy’s death; now a banker in Hamburg, Germany.

Marni Politte. Rev. Dr. Marni (Politte) Harmony is a Unitarian Universalist minister.

Kate Pond.

Ezra Pound. Influential American modernist expatriate poet and critic who had made radio broadcasts for Mussolini and was remanded to St. Elizabeth’s mental hospital after the war; upon release he returned to Italy, where he died in 1972 at age 87.

Adam Clayton Powell. Flamboyant African-American pastor and politician and influential US congressman from Harlem. He died in 1972, aged 63.

Nathan Pusey. President of Harvard College for nearly twenty years, including the time while JFK, as both senator and president, served on its Board of Overseers. When President Pusey died in 2001 he was 94 years old.

TSH Prince Rainier (III) and Princess Grace of Monaco. Ruler of the principality of Monaco from 1949 until his death at 81 in 2005; he married the actress and society figure Grace Kelly in 1956, who died in 1982 as the result of a stroke and subsequent car crash. Both the Prince and Princess were feted at the Kennedy White House.

Pham Khac Rau. Chargé d’affaires at the South Vietnamese Embassy in Washington during the Kennedy administration; he eventually settled in the USA. He died in 2002 at age 81.

Mother M. Monica Reardon. Mother Superior at Ursuline Academy in Great Falls, Montana during a visit there by President Kennedy in the fall of 1963.

James A. Reed. An old friend of JFK from PT boat days, who also served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. He died in 2006.

Bolek Rey. As an eleven-year-old boy living with his family in Warsaw, he wrote to the American Ambassador at the time of JFK's death. Boleslaw Rey is currently director of the Representative Offfice of the Polish Oil and Gas Company in Brussels.

James Roosevelt. The oldest son of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and a six-term congressman from California. He died in 1991 at age 83, the last of the Roosevelt children then surviving.

Tony Rosslyn. Anthony St.-Clair Erskine, Earl of Rosslyn, a one-time admirer of JFK’s younger sister Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy. He died in 1977.

James Rowley. A member of the Secret Service since the days of FDR, Rowley was head of the Service at the time of the Kennedy assassination and continued to serve as such until 1973. He died in 1992 at age 84.

Donald Rumsfeld. White House Chief of Staff under President Ford and Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, Rumsfeld was a freshman congressman from Illinois when JFK was shot. He is currently working on a memoir.

Peggy & Seymour St. John. Headmaster of the Choate School in Wallingford, CT, which JFK and his older brother Joe Jr. attended in the 1930s, and his wife Peggy. Seymour St. John was born and grew up on the Choate campus as the son of the headmaster; he took over his father’s position in 1947 and continued to run the school until 1973. He died in 2006 at the age of 94.

Richard Santoro.

Dorothy Schiff. A one-time debutante, Dorothy Schiff later became a strong supporter of the New Deal and featured many liberal opinion makers in the New York Post when she became its publisher. She sold the paper to Rupert Murdoch in 1976. She was 86 when she died in 1989.

Albert Schweitzer. French-German doctor and theologian, Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1952 and one of the founders of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. He died in 1965 at the age of 90.

Haile Selassie. Ethiopian Emperor who led troops against the Italians during World War II and had a populist appeal among his own people, though he was eventually deposed and died in prison in 1975. Selassie enjoyed a history of support among African-Americans in the United States, and is regarded to this day as a divine being by the Rastafarian religious movement (which derives its name from the Emperor’s given name Tafari). Selassie and his granddaughter Ruth had paid a state visit to Washington only a month before JFK’s assassination; in the funeral procession on November 25 he took pride of place next to General de Gaulle.

Tazewell Shepard. Naval aide to President Kennedy.

Chuck Slick. Charles Slick was a seventh grader at the Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia, when he wrote to Mrs. Kennedy in November 1963.

Carlos Prio Socarras. President of Cuba from 1948 to 1952, when he was deposed by the dictator Fulgencio Batista, himself overthrown by Fidel Castro’s revolutionary forces a few years later. Prio went into exile in Miami, where he committed suicide in 1977.

Chuck Spalding. Charles Spalding was a longtime friend of Jack Kennedy's from his early days in Washington, DC. He died in 2000.

Danny Spitsnogle. Years after writing as ten-year-old to Caroline Kennedy, Daniel E. Spitsnogle still worked on his farm in Odell, Nebraska. He also made some income as a part-time book dealer. He died on March 1, 2010 from  his fight with cancer. He was 56 years old.

Benjamin Spock. Pediatrician whose bestelling book Baby and Child Care revolutionized American parents’ attitudes towards child-rearing, In the 1960s and 70s he also became a well-known political activist for such organizations as SANE (National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy) and a prominent opponent of the war in Vietnam. He died in 1998 a few weeks shy of his 95th birthday.

Katherine & Spiro Stamos. Professional violinist Spiro Stamos and his wife Katherine now live in the Bay Area of northern California. The letter he wrote his wife which she then sent along to Jacqueline Kennedy was written while he was on tour in Europe with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra featuring Marilyn Horne and Henry Lewis.

Kate Steichen. Charlotte Kate Rodina Steichen, daughter of world-renowned photographer, painter and master gardener, Edward Steichen. Miss Steichen worked for many years with legendary Doubleday editor, Ken McCormick. Her belief in world peace and the importance of cats, children, laughter, and  hard work was profound. She died in Wilton, Connecticut in her home, The Pea Green Boat, in 1988, a few days before her 80th birthday.

Frances Sternhagen. Stage and screen actress, Vassar classmate of Jacqueline Kennedy.

Adlai Stevenson. Governor of Illinois and twice the Democratic candidate for President running against Dwight D. Eisenhower. “Reluctantly” nominated for a third time at the 1960 Democratic Convention, he lost badly to John F. Kennedy, who later appointed him Ambassador to the United Nations. Born in 1900, he died of a heart attack in London in the summer of 1965.

Igor Stravinsky. Prominent Russian-born composer and conductor who first became famous with ballets composed for Sergei Diaghilev and premiered in Paris. He became a naturalized American after the Second World War, and was a guest at the Kennedy White House on more than one occasion. He died in 1971 at the age of 88.

Arthur Hays Sulzberger. Publisher of the New York Times from 1935 until the first year of the Kennedy administration; he was the husband of Times publisher Adolph Ochs’ daughter, Iphigene.

Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger. Influential behind-the-scenes matriarch of the Ochs-Sulzberger clan running the New York Times. She was the daughter of Adolph Ochs, who after buying the Times in 1896 transformed it into a paper of power and influence. She was 97 years old at the time of her death in 1990.

Arthur Ochs ("Punch") Sulzberger. Son of Arthur Hays Sulzberger, succeeding his brother-in-law Orvil Dryfoos as publisher of the New York Times in 1963 and continuing in that position until 1992, when the position passed to his own son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.

Sweet Tarts of Davey NEB. Informal "club" of six teenage girls based in Davey, Nebraska, who created a dedication service in honor of President Kennedy after his assassination.

Jim & Sylvia Symington. Administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy  and his wife. The son of Missouri Senator and sometime presidential candidate Stuart Symington, James Symington served in the US Congress for four terms and is currently a lawyer in Washington DC.

Phillips Talbot. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asia during the Kennedy administration.

Richard Thau. A graduate of the Indiana University Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Richard has been an active member of the library field for over three decades.

Helen Thomas. Trail-blazing UPI wire service reporter during the Kennedy administration, later UPI’s White House bureau chief. An Arab-American born in 1920, she was the first woman to break the sex barriers in the Washington Press Corps. She is also the author of many books.

Norman Thomas. Son of a Presbyterian minister and influential American socialist and pacifist. One  of the leaders of the American non-Communist Left, he was a six-time presidential candidate of the Socialist Party of America. He died in 1968 at age 84.

Strom Thurmond. US Senator from South Carolina who had been the state’s governor as well as the 1948 “Dixiecrat” presidential candidate. Known for his strict segregationist views, in 1964 he switched his party allegiance to the Republicans and remained in office for another third of a century. As a young man Thurmond fathered a child with an African-American woman whose education he secretly supported. He was 100 years old when he died in 2003.

Marie Tippit. Wife and widow of police officer J. D. Tippit, who was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald on the streets of Dallas less than an hour after the assassination of President Kennedy.

Bess Wallace Truman. Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman, wife of President Harry S. Truman, known for largely shunning the public and social life associated with being First Lady. Born in 1885, she outlived her husband by ten years, dying in 1985 at age 97.

Charles Van Doren. Noted professor and book author involved in the television quiz show scandals of the late 1950s, later an editor of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Louise Levêque de Vilmorin. French novelist and poet, one-time wife of Las Vegas millionaire Henry Leigh Hunt, companion of French Minister of Culture André Malraux. Writes her daughter: "My father, who loved my mother to his dying day, may have been a millionaire when she married him, [but] certainly was no longer one after 1930. He brought me and my sisters up—was a wonderful person—lived most of his life in France, died there and is buried there."

Byron White. Kennedy’s first appointee to the Supreme Court, Byron “Whizzer” White served one of the longest Supreme Court Justice terms of the century. A personal friend of JFK from his Navy days in the South Pacific, White died in 2002; he was not quite 85 years old.

Betsey Whitney. An occasional White House hostess during her marriage to James Roosevelt and one of the socially well-connected Cushing sisters (the others were Babe Paley and Mary Astor Fosburgh). She married New York Herald Tribune publisher John Hay Whitney and became one of the country’s foremost philanthropists, contributing heavily to support both the arts and medical facilities. She died in 1990 just shy of her 90th birthday.

Jean H. Winchester. "Mrs. Massachusetts" of 1963. She writes: "I am not ordinarily moved to write a note, as I did at that time, to someone whom I did not know personally, however the impact on that young family was really too much to bear. We had a small TV in our kitchen, at that time, and our entire "young" family watched every facet of that horrible event. . . . My biographical information has changed quite a bit since I represented Massachusetts in the Mrs. America pageant in 1963.  We have been blessed with 5 daughters, 8 granddaughters and one grandson. We are anxiously awaiting our first great-grandchild in March. I have been an active realtor for the past 32 years and am privileged to have two of my daughters partnered with me. My husband recently retired from the Mass Court system, but I am still going at 81! I have a cherished note acknowledging my letter from her staff, which is framed in my home."

Shelley Winters. Academy Award–winning movie, stage and television actress whose memoirs were bestsellers during the 1980s. She died in 2006 at the age of 86.

David Wise. White House correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune during the Kennedy administration, and later the well-known author of several books about intelligence and espionage.

Harris Wofford. President Kennedy’s 1960 campaign liaison with Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, later a key Peace Corps official, college president (SUNY-Westbury and Bryn Mawr), and US Senator from Pennsylvania. He is the author of Of Kennedys and Kings: Making Sense of the Sixties.”

Ralph & Opal Yarborough. US Senator from Texas, from the progressive wing of the state party, which often feuded with more conservative Governor John Connally. Yarborough was riding in the second car of the Dallas motorcade on November 22 when the President and Governor Connally were both hit by bullets. A two-term senator, Yarborough lost the 1970 Democratic primary to the more conservative businessman Lloyd Bentsen. One of the last of Texas’s “New Deal” Democrats to hold statewide office, he went on to practice law in Austin and died in 1996, aged 92.

Jean (Mrs. Arthur) Yehle writes: "At the time I wrote the letter to Mrs. Kennedy, my husband, Art, and I enjoyed a good marriage with shared values and  hopes for our future together. Our decision, inspired by President Kennedy, for him to take up studies at the University of Miami even though he was almost 40, and for me to find a job at the University marine lab to help with tuition, had unforeseen consequences for us. I found myself left behind and we ultimately divorced. I remained at the Institute of Marine Science, and found there a career I loved, retiring in 1985 as Public Information Officer of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Our two sons, then in their teens, lived with me, but kept their ties to their father, who went on to teaching and research in Memphis, TN, and a second marriage.

Sgt. Alvin York. Legendary hero from the Meuse-Argonne offensive of 1918, the most decorated American soldier from World War I, immortalized in the 1941 film Sergeant York, starring Gary Cooper. He died less than a year after Kennedy, at age 76.

Darryl F. Zanuck. Hollywood studio executive, co-founder of 20th Century Fox and winner of three Academy Awards for Best Picture. He died in 1979.