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Kennedy Convocation Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MA.00121

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, press releases, news clippings, photographs and other materials documenting President John F. Kennedy's visit to Amherst College on October 26, 1963 for a special convocation at which he and poet Archibald MacLeish were awarded honorary degrees, and for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Robert Frost Library.

Dates

  • 1962-2003

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Kennedy Convocation Collection for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Video recordings of Kennedy acquired from WGBH and NBC are available for viewing in the Archives; Amherst College holds no rights to these recordings and requests for copies of these videos should be directed to WGBH and NBC.

Biographical / Historical

U.S. President John F. Kennedy visited Amherst College on October 26, 1963 for the groundbreaking of the Robert Frost Library. The groundbreaking was part of a special alumni weekend that also included a convocation at which President Kennedy and poet Archibald MacLeish were awarded honorary doctor of laws degrees. Both Kennedy and MacLeish spoke at the convocation and Kennedy also spoke later that afternoon at the groundbreaking. On both occasions Kennedy addressed the significance of Robert Frost and of the arts.

The event was one of President Kennedy's last public appearances before he was assassinated in November 1963. An estimated 10,000 people were on campus that day to witness the events.

The Robert Frost Library was formally dedicated on October 24, 1965.

The college community regularly celebrates Kennedy's visit with major anniversary celebrations in 1993, 2003, and 2013. Several additions to this collection were prompted by anniversary celebrations, including the acquisition of copies of videos from WGBH and NBC in advance of the 2003 celebration.

Extent

2.25 Linear feet (4 archives boxes, 1 half archives box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Correspondence, press releases, news clippings, photographs and other materials documenting President John F. Kennedy's visit to Amherst College on October 26, 1963 for a special convocation at which he and poet Archibald MacLeish were awarded honorary degrees, and for a ground breaking ceremony for the Robert Frost Library.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into seven series:

  1. Series 1: Preparations
  2. Series 2: Speeches
  3. Series 3: Photographs, Audio, and Video Recordings
  4. Series 4: Press Coverage
  5. Series 5: Scrapbooks
  6. Series 6: Post-Event Correspondence
  7. Series 7: Retrospectives

Related Materials

  1. Amherst Alumni News, Special Issue, Fall 1963: "The Presidential Convocation and Ground Breaking for the Robert Frost Library"
  2. "The Poet and the President." Amherst Magazine, Fall/winter 2003-2004.
  3. John J. McCloy Papers: Series 3 (Scrapbooks): Scrapbook 13 (includes photographs of the Convocation and Groundbreaking)
  4. Non-Alumni Biographical Files - Kennedy, John F.
  5. Audio-Visual Collection: audio recordings of Kennedy's Convocation speech and remarks at the Groundbreaking (Items: A-038, A-039, A-061, A-062, A-163)
  6. Web exhibit: "The President and the Poet: John F. Kennedy at Amherst, October 1963." URL: https://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/exhibitions/kennedy
  7. Audio recording of Kennedy's Convocation address is available through the JFK Presidential Library: https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHA-234-003.aspx
  8. George McDougall (AC 1964) College Papers
  9. Audio recording of Kennedy's Groundbreaking remarks is available through the JFK Presidential Library: https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHA-234-004.aspx

Creator

Status
Completed
Author
Annie Rutledge; revised by Mike Kelly, 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299