Presidency of John F. Kennedy

SUN, OCT 19, 2003 (1:31:56)

Arthur Schlesinger, Alan Brinkley and Lizabeth Cohen look back, 20 years later, at John F. Kennedy's presidency.

+ BIO: Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Jr., was a leading authority on the history of the United States. Schlesinger was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1917. His father, Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Sr., was a prominent historian of the United States. His son also became an American historian.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. graduated from Harvard University in 1938. Schlesinger published his first book, his Harvard University honors thesis, in 1939. During World War II he serving in the Office of War Information from 1942 to 1943 and in the Office of Strategic Services from 1943 to 1945. He continued to research and write while serving his country. In 1945, he published The Age of Jackson. The book won the Pulitzer Prize. In 1946, Schlesinger became a professor at Harvard University. He held the position until 1961. Schlesinger's liberal political and social views heavily influenced his books and articles. He emerged as one of the most respected and influential historians of the twentieth century.

He also played an active role in politics. During the administration of President John F. Kennedy he served as a campaign advisor and later became Kennedy's Special Assistant for Latin American Affairs. With President Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, Schlesinger returned to academic life. He wrote a study of Kennedy's administration called A Thousand Days. It won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1965. Schlesinger became a professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center in 1966. He concluded his teaching career in 1994. After retiring, Schlesinger continued to write books. Schlesinger died on February 28, 2007 from a heart attack.

+ BIO: Alan Brinkley

Alan Brinkley is the 20th Provost and the Allan Nevins Professor of History at Columbia University in New York City. An eminent scholar of twentieth-century United States history, he has chaired the Department of History since 2000.

Brinkley has been a prolific writer and published numerous works including, Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin and the Great Depression, which won the 1983 National Book Award, The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People, The End of Reform; New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War, and Liberalism and its Discontents. His latest book is The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century. In addition, Brinkley is a frequent commentator on current events, government policy, and economic and social trends.

Before joining Columbia, Brinkley taught at M.I.T., Harvard and the City University of New York Graduate School. He has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the National Humanities Center, the Media Studies Center, Russell Sage Foundation and others. Brinkley is chairman of the board of trustees of the Century Foundation (formerly the Twentieth Century Fund), a member of the editorial board of The American Prospect, a member of the board of directors of the New York Council for the Humanities and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1998 and 1999, he was the Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University. He received his A.B. from Princeton and his Ph.D from Harvard.

+ BIO: Lizabeth Cohen

Lizabeth Cohen is the Howard Mumford Jones Professor American Studies and currently Chair of the History Department of Harvard University. She is the author of Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 (1990, new edition with new introduction 2008), winner of the Bancroft Prize and a finalist for the Pulitzer, and A Consumers Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (2003). Her interests have focused on integrating social, cultural, and political history in the twentieth century, probing how people's social and cultural experiences and identities shaped their political orientations. In her current research, she is exploring the rebuilding of American cities after World War II by investigating the life and career of a major figure in urban renewal, Edward J. Logue. Her current research is supported by grants from the Real Estate Academic Initiative, the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, all of Harvard University.

John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
American Experience: The Presidents Series