The very large party was successful both as fund-raiser and as a festive and joyful Democratic Party occasion, but examination of the program’s detail reflects the fact that Kennedy’s nomination was highly contested, showing continuing regional and other fractures that went back at least to the Dixiecrat walkout of 1948. The names of well-known, longtime, key Kennedy loyalists may be found in the lists of those attending this event a few months after the inauguration, along with the names of those who came on board only after the inauguration; comparison of this roster with the lists of those who attended the inaugural ball (and who was on each dais, for example) would be instructive. It’s also thought-provoking tosee who DIDN’T attend the birthday fiesta: We observe that notably missing from this guest list are the top three members of Congress from Virginia at that time, Senators Harry Byrd, Sr., and A. Willis Robertson, and Howard W. Smith, who became notorious as the segregationist Chair of the House Rules Committee.
The program notes that Morton Downey (senior, of course) sang the national anthem; “Gentlemen head table guests [were] escorted from their places to visit with dinner guests for 15 minutes” during a “7th-inning stretch”; Jerry Lewis provided the main entertainment; and apart from the president's own address, remarks were made by half a dozen Democratic luminaries including Harry Truman, Sam Rayburn, and Lyndon Johnson. Door prizes included items so various as two Sarkes Tarzian radios (contributed by Indiana), an American broadtail jacket with mink collar (from a citizen of the District of Columbia), a $50 gift certificate towards purchase of American Indian jewelry (from Sen. Stewart Udall of Arizona), an aluminum and plastic lounge chair and ottoman and a walnut card table (from two gentlemen of Arkansas), a Rose Marie Reed bathing costume (from a lady of California), and six canned hams (from the State of Iowa).
Provenance: The family of one of the attendees listed.
Program very good, with its stiff covers a little dust-soiled and sunned; “Continuation” soiled across top inch; admission tickets pristine. (31352)
CLICK THIS LINK FOR