Kennedy Family Collection
This diary, kept by Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy as a 6- and 7-year old child, contains handwritten entries detailing his daily activities from January 1, 1939, through September 9, 1939, while residing at 14 Prince’s Gate in London, England, where the Kennedy family lived during Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.’s tenure as United States Ambassador to Great Britain. The gold stamped title on the cover reads, “Diary / No. 28 / 1939.” Pages contain pre-printed ruling and text, including entry dates, as well as manuscript entries written in black ink. Most entries were not written by Ted, but most likely by Kennedy family nurse, Luella Hennessey, with Ted dictating. Ted’s handwriting appears in entries from July 11, 12, 16, 17, and 18. Entries cover a variety of topics, including Ted’s education at the Gibbs School and St. Thomas More School, both in London; various train and boat rides during the family’s travels; social events, including a party attended by the British royal family at which Ted danced with Princess Elizabeth; outings to parks, zoos, movies, and pantomime performances; and playtime and sports activities with family and friends. Specific events and experiences that Ted mentions include a family trip to St. Moritz, Switzerland; Adolf Hitler’s Reichstag speech; the death of Pope Pius XI; Ted’s seventh birthday, for which he received a new dog, named “Sammy”; the family’s trip to Rome in Italy, as well as the Vatican, during which he received his First Holy Communion from Pope Pius XII; bombings of London by the Irish Republican Army; a visit to the estate of family friend, Sir James Calder, in Norfolk, England; a family trip to Cannes and Antibes in France; events leading up to Great Britain’s declaration of war on Germany, including the relocation of members of the Kennedy family to financier John Pierpont Morgan, Jr.'s country estate in Hertfordshire, England, while awaiting transport back to America; and the sinking of the S.S. Athenia. Luella Hennessey and the Kennedy children's governess, Elizabeth Dunn, also feature prominently throughout the diary. About half of the pages for July and August do not contain entries. The last entry of the diary is September 9, 1939; the remaining pages dated through December 31, 1939, are blank. The diary also contains three loose photographs, one loose newspaper clipping, and one loose printed birthday invitation.