Long before his presidency, the Post was covering the political career of John F. Kennedy. In this 1953 article, the magazine introduced him to a national audience as “The Senate’s Gay Young Bachelor.” The following quotes show early stirrings of what would be come an infatuation with the young senator and his family. Sample some of these quotes and then check out the story in its entirety.
Kennedy [appears] to be a walking fountain of youth,” wrote Paul F. Healy. “He is six feet tall, with a lean, straight, hard physique, and the innocently respectful face of an altar boy at High Mass. Senators less generously endowed were especially taken with his trade-mark —a bumper crop of lightly combed brown hair that shoots over his right eyebrow and always makes him look as though he had just stepped out of the shower.
Six years ago, when he started his first of three terms in the House of Representatives, Kennedy looked so young that he was mistaken by several other congressmen for a House page.
Kennedy wears an air of imperturbable informality; he often seems to be at once preoccupied, disorganized and utterly casual—alarmingly so, for example, when he solemnly addressed the House with his shirttail out and clearly visible from the galleries.
Many women have hopefully concluded that Kennedy needs looking after. In their opinion, he is, as a young millionaire senator, just about the most eligible bachelor in the United States—and the least justifiable one. Kennedy lives up to that role only occasionally, when he drives his long convertible, hatless and with the car’s top down, in Washington, or accidentally gets photographed with a glamour girl in a night club,” Healy wrote, but added that he was “basically a mature and responsible fellow.
At the time the story appeared, Kennedy’s bachelor days were already over. He and Jacqueline Bouvier decided to postpone announcing their engagement, which might have caused the Post to pull the “Bachelor” article. They announced their engagement 12 days later and were married on this day 60 years ago.
The article is also interesting for its description of the way Kennedy’s family helped him get elected.
Kennedy was reinforced by a task force from his large and fabulous family. His comely mother and three attractive, long-legged sisters took the stump, while his younger brother, Robert, acted as campaign manager.
There was nothing haphazard about the way the Kennedy women pitched in to help brother Jack. First they pounded the pavements to help collect a record total of 262,324 signatures on his nominating petition—though only 2500 were required by law.
Read the full story, “The Senate’s Gay Young Bachelor,” here.
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