7 AAUW Memories of Camelot

November 18, 2013

Friday, November 22, marks the 50th anniversary of the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy. When asked, those old enough to remember usually recall where they were and what they were doing when they heard the terrible news. The assassination of the nation’s beloved president became a defining moment for the nation and for individuals across the globe.

We can’t ask them to speak, but AAUW’s records also contain memorable moments with the Kennedy administration. To commemorate this anniversary, I have selected seven highlights to share with you.

1)    February 27, 1961. AAUW President Anna Rose Hawkes meets with President Kennedy at a White House meeting of the United States Advisory Commission on Educational Exchange and the Board of Foreign Scholarships.

AAUW President Anna Rose Hawkes  in the Oval Office posing for a photo JFK and giv emen in suits.
Hawkes was a member of the commission. Here she is standing next to the president at one of the many meetings she would have at the White House.
(Image by Abbie Rowe, White House Photographs. Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

2)    October 5, 1961. President Kennedy appoints Judge Sarah Tilghman Hughes, an AAUW board member, as Texas’ first female federal judge.

Judge Sarah Tilghman Hughes during a visit of Texas judges to the White House. She's the only woman in the photo.
Here is Hughes during a visit of Texas judges to the White House. You can easily find her!

And don’t forget to check back later in the week to read Justine Rothbart’s blog post about Hughes and learn more about Hughes’ important contribution to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s transition into office.
(Image by Robert L. Knudsen, White House Photographs. Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

3)    December 14, 1961. President Kennedy establishes the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women to investigate the social and economic conditions of women in America. He appoints Eleanor Roosevelt as chair of the commission.

 Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, including JFK and Eleanor Roosevelt in the Oval Office.
Here is the president meeting with commission members on February 12, 1962. Visible in the photograph are AAUW members Rep. Edith Green (D-OR) and Marguerite Rawalt. Not present in the photo are AAUW board member Caroline Ware and AAUW General Director Pauline Tompkins, both of whom were involved with the commission.
(Image by Abbie Rowe, White House Photographs. Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston; Letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to AAUW, AAUW Archives)

4)    June 7, 1962. AAUW General Director Pauline Tompkins writes to President Kennedy about a recent telecast in which the president spoke about the availability of opportunities for educated women.

AAUW General Director Pauline Tompkins writes to President Kennedy about a recent telecast in which the president spoke about the availability of opportunities for educated women.Journal 80th Ann cover
With the letter, she mails him a copy of the 80th anniversary issue of the AAUW Journal, which dealt with the very same subject.
(Letter, Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston; Cover, 80th Anniversary Issue of AAUW Journal, May 1962, AAUW Archives)

5)    June 10, 1963. President Kennedy signs the Equal Pay Act, which addressed an issue AAUW had been working on for nearly 70 years.

AAUW members with President John F. Kennedy as he signs the Equal Pay Act into law on June 10, 1963.
Four AAUW members are present at the signing, including Minnie Miles, Rep. Edith Green (D-OR), Rep. Martha Griffiths (D-MI), and Rep. Julia Hansen (D-WA).
(Image by Abbie Rowe, White House Photographs. Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

6)    July 9, 1963. Newly elected AAUW President Blanche Dow meets with President Kennedy and representatives from women’s organizations to discuss civil rights.

July 9, 1963. Newly elected AAUW President Blanche Dow meets with President Kennedy and representatives from women’s organizations to discuss civil rights. This is one of the first assignments that Dow received after assuming office. As a result of this meeting, she joins the Steering Committee of the National Women’s Committee for Civil Rights. (Photograph, Blanche Dow, AAUW Archives)
This is one of the first assignments that Dow received after assuming office. As a result of this meeting, she joins the Steering Committee of the National Women’s Committee for Civil Rights.
(Photograph, Blanche Dow, AAUW Archives)

7)     January 1964. Following Kennedy’s assassination, AAUW pays tribute to the president in the January 1964 AAUW Journal. The feature article contains reproductions of condolences dated November 23, 1963.

jfk page in journal
One such message is from AAUW President Blanche Dow, who wrote to Jaqueline Kennedy of her husband’s “fearless commitment to the great ideals of the American nation, courage in the performance of his duty, and compassionate concern for his fellow man.” University women’s organizations around the world also contributed notes of sympathy to AAUW leaders, expressing their sorrow at the tragic event and their hopes for a still-healing nation.
(Inside cover of AAUW Journal, January 1964, AAUW Archives)

By:   |   November 18, 2013