Saturday, February 28, 2015



New York City (JFK+50) Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.*, former Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy and New Frontier historian based at the Kennedy White House, died eight years ago today, February 28, 2007.

Mr. Schlesinger, who died of natural causes at the age of 89,  joined JFK's presidential campaign in 1960 as a speech writer.

Mr. Schlesinger won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945 for his book The Age of Jackson, and another for his memoir of the Kennedy White House,  A Thousand Days.

JFK speech writer, Theodore Sorenson, wrote this tribute to Schlesinger in 2007:

"Arthur played many roles in the Kennedy White House:  a counselor who advised, in vain, against the Bay of Pigs, a bridge to the American intellectual and academic community....and to the rising young leaders in the third world and Europe." 

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. wrote in his first edition introduction to A Thousand Days:

"Above all, (JFK) gave the world...the vision of a leader who greatly understood the terror and the hope, the diversity and the possibility of life on this planet and who made people look beyond nation and race to the future of humanity."

In his 2002 edition of A Thousand Days, Arthur wrote...

"Ordinary Americans remember a strong and stirring president who saved the peace in the most dangerous moment of the Cold War, assumed leadership in the struggle for racial justice, initiated the exploration of space, laid the foundation of federal aid to the arts and humanities, tapped the republic's latent idealism and infused a generation with a passion for public service."

Amen, Arthur.

*Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) was born in Columbus, Ohio.  His father was a social historian at Ohio State University and Harvard.  AMS Jr. received his degree in 1938 from Harvard University.  During WWII, he served as an intelligence officer in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).  He became a full professor at Harvard in 1954.


"A Thousand Days:  John F. Kennedy in the White House," by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 1965 & 2002.

Special Assistant Arthur Schlesinger
JFK Library, Boston


We had the pleasure of attending an address delivered by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. at the University of Tennessee Student Center here in Knoxville.  It was an honor to have him appear at my alma mater and to see and hear him in person.