Wednesday, December 24, 2014



Washington, D.C. and West Palm Beach, Florida (JFK+50) Fifty-two years ago President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy enjoyed what was to be their last Christmas Holiday together at the White House and Palm Beach.

The festivities began with the official lighting of the National Christmas Tree on Monday, December 17, 1962.  It was a 72 foot blue spruce from the state of Colorado.  JFK said..."Christmas offers a respite in our lives, a respite for meditation, for reappraisal, for rededication."

On Christmas Day, the First Family was in Palm Beach where they opened their gifts.  JFK received a piece of scrimshaw for his collection from his wife.  She had kept it hidden away until Christmas morning.  It bore the presidential seal carved by Delano Milton*.

According to Peggi Medeiros, Mr. Delano worked for 240 hours "etching, coloring and polishing" his "masterpiece."  The piece, which measured 9 1/2 inches, had been discovered in an old house in New Bedford, Massachusetts.  It was from a bull whale.

This was actually the second piece of scrimshaw that Mr. Delano had done for the President.  The first bore JFK's likeness.  Claire Barnes tells us that President Kennedy was "absolutely enchanted" with the piece with the presidential seal and that he put it on the right corner of his desk in the Oval Office.

Mrs. Barnes goes on to say that "it always meant more to him than any other piece in his scrimshaw collection."  Perhaps that was the reason that it was buried along with JFK's remains at Arlington National Cemetery.

Scrimshaw Reproduction Piece
JFK Desk Recreation
Photo by John White (2014)

JFK Desk Recreation
Photo by John White


"John F. Kennedy: Scrimshaw Collector," by Claire Barnes, Little, Brown and Company, 1969.

"Kennedy Christmas: At the White House, 1962," Boston Irish Tourism Association, Kennedy Christmas 1962

"The president's scrimshander," by Peggi Medelros, South Coast Today, November 1, 1963


Knoxville, Tennessee, USA (JFK+50) The White family extends the best wishes of the season to all visitors of JFK+50.   

"Peace on earth, good will to men!" 

As President Kennedy said...

"All of us....want the same things for America, we want security for our families, we want peace in the world, and we want to see the cause of freedom strengthened. That is our obligation."

           President and Mrs. Kennedy
                   December 12, 1962
           Photo by Robert Knudsen
                         JFK Library