JFK Presidential Library Opens the Personal Papers of Jacob "Jack" Rosenthal

For Immediate Release: February 15, 2011 
Further information: Rachel Day (617) 514-1662, rachel.day@jfklfoundation.org 

Boston, MA – The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum announced today that it has processed and made available for research a portion of the personal papers of Jacob “Jack” Rosenthal, who served under Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in the U.S. Department of Justice as the Assistant Director of Public Information from 1961-1964. The papers, a collection of approximately 4.17 cubic feet, about 3,500 items, consist of materials related to the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of State, the Civil Rights movement, organized crime, and wiretapping. The collection spans from 1961 to 1999. 

Among the many items included in this newly released collection are Robert F. Kennedy’s daily schedules during his service as the U.S. Attorney General from April 1962 to September 1964. 

Additional highlights of the collection include: 

• the final copy and hand annotated drafts of a statement given by Robert Kennedy on the Freedom Rides [download]; 

• the transcript of a conference call between Robert Kennedy, Deputy Attorney General Byron White and others detailing the minute-by-minute chronology of the Freedom Rides as events unfolded [download]; 

• a summary of a phone conversation between Mississippi governor Ross Barnett and Robert Kennedy during the crisis over the integration of Ol' Miss on Sept. 25, 1962 [download]. 

Jacob “Jack” Rosenthal was born in Tel-Aviv, Palestine in 1935 and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He attended Harvard University, where he was an editor of The Harvard Crimson, and graduated with an A.B. degree in history in 1956. He worked as a reporter and editor at The Oregonian in Portland, Oregon and served in the U.S. Army. In 1961, Rosenthal went to Washington D.C. to serve in the U.S. Department of Justice as the Assistant Director of Public Information from 1961-1964, the Director of Public Information from 1964-1967, and in the U.S. State Department as the Executive Assistant to Under Secretary Nicholas deB. Katzenbach from 1966-1967. Rosenthal was a Kennedy Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics from 1967-1968, and in 1968 he was the principal editor of the Kerner Commission Report on urban riots. Rosenthal joined The New York Times as the urban correspondent in 1969, and in 1982 he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished editorial writing on national politics and social policy. He served as The New York Times Editorial Page Editor from 1986-1993 and as the Magazine Editor from 1993-2000. Rosenthal was the President of The New York Times Company Foundation from 2000 – 2009 and is currently a Senior Fellow at The Atlantic Philanthropies. 

The Personal Papers of Jacob “Jack” Rosenthal will be added to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library’s Archives, which include 48 million pages of documents from the collections of over 350 individuals, organizations, or government agencies; oral history interviews with 1,300 people; and more than 30,000 books. The Audiovisual Archives administers collections of more than 200,000 still photographs, 7,550,000 feet of motion picture film, 1,200 hours of video recordings, over 7,000 hours of audio recordings and 500 original editorial cartoons. 

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through scholarship, educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service. 

The Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the exceptions of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Research Room is open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm each weekday, and is closed on weekends and Federal Holidays. Appointments may be made by calling (617) 514-1629. The Library is located in the Dorchester section of Boston, off Morrissey Boulevard, next to the campus of the University of Massachusetts/Boston. Parking is free. There is free shuttle-service from the JFK/UMass T Stop on the Red Line. The Museum is fully handicapped accessible. For more information, call (866) JFK-1960 or access www.jfklibrary.org on the Internet.