Kids' Letters to President Kennedy

Children don't hold back.
There are few places I’d rather be than a good used bookstore. The smells, the history, the possibilities….it’s magical. I’ve been obsessed with the presidential section at The Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood for a while now, and I only recently thought to look outside that section for history books – to the paperback section. 

That’s where I found a copy of “Kids’ Letters to President Kennedy,” compiled by Bill Adler and first published in 1962. This paperback edition was published in February 1963, nine months before Kennedy was assassinated.

I bought the book for $2.50, thinking it would be an amusing collection of kids-say-the-darndest-things letters, just like the cover said – a time capsule from a more innocent time before everything changed. The truth isn’t quite so simple.

Here are some highlights from the book, along with my thoughts.

Dolley Madison: Clever, Gay, and Yeasty

Describing Dolley
To mark the 250th birthday of First Lady Dolley Madison, I turned to a 1972 biography by Ethel Stephens Arnett called “Mrs. James Madison: The Incomparable Dolley.”

I love how Arnett opens one chapter with a huge list of “complimentary adjectives” from different books about Madison: