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The Boston Globe



When JFK ruled the Smoker Committee

And more highlights from the Ideas blog

Today, any college kid who thinks he might one day run for president is probably not looking to create ties with the tobacco industry. But as a Harvard undergraduate, John F. Kennedy chose the smoking field as one place to show off his already considerable leadership talents. The Harvard University Archives has a number of images from Kennedy’s freshman year, including one of the future president as chair of the Smoker Committee, which each year planned a tobacco-themed party for freshmen. Kennedy’s party was held in May 1937 at Memorial Hall on the Harvard campus, with tobacco and cigarettes supplied by Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co., appearances by baseball stars Frankie Frisch and Dizzy Dean, and two performances by The Dancing Rhythmettes. In the Smoker Committee picture, Kennedy, who was assassinated 50 years ago this week, has better posture and a more serious expression than any of his peers, as if he’d already moved on to a bigger stage.


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