Read The Patriarch Online

Authors: David Nasaw

The Patriarch

BOOK: The Patriarch
10.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Andrew Carnegie

The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst

Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements

Children of the City: At Work and at Play

Schooled to Order: A Social History of Public Schooling in the United States


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)

Penguin Group (Australia), 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3008 Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)

Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

Penguin Books, Rosebank Office Park, 181 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parktown North 2193, South Africa

Penguin China, B7 Jaiming Center, 27 East Third Ring Road North, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, China


Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices:

80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England


First published in 2012 by The Penguin Press,

a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


Copyright © David Nasaw, 2012

All rights reserved


Photograph credits appear

Frontis photo © Bettmann/CORBIS


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Nasaw, David.

The patriarch : the remarkable life and turbulent times of Joseph P. Kennedy / David Nasaw.

p.   cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-1-101-59591-6

1. Kennedy, Joseph P. (Joseph Patrick), 1888-1969.   2. Ambassadors—United States—Biography.   3. Politicians—United States—Biography.   4. Businesspeople—United States—Biography.   5. Kennedy family.   I. Title.

E748.K376N37   2012





No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.


Also by David Nasaw

Title Page


Cast of Characters


Part I: East Boston to Cambridge to Brookline

One: Dunganstown to East Boston

Two: School Days

Three: Starting Out

Four: War

Five: Making a Million

Part II: Hollywood

Six: “My Own Master in My Own Business”

Seven: Hollywood

Eight: Gloria and Rose

Nine: Last Exit from Hollywood

Part III: Washington

Ten: On the Roosevelt Train

Eleven: Waiting for the Call

Twelve: To Washington

Thirteen: Reelecting Roosevelt

Fourteen: Maritime Commissioner

Part IV: London

Fifteen: A Plainspoken Ambassador

Sixteen: A Rather Dreadful Homecoming

Seventeen: Munich

Eighteen: The Kennedy Plan

Nineteen: Sidelined and Censored

Twenty: “This Country Is at War with Germany”

Twenty-one: The Lives of Americans Are at Stake

Twenty-two: Defeatist

Twenty-three: The Fall of France

Twenty-four: The Worst of Times

Twenty-five: There’s Hell to Pay Tonight

Part V: Washington, but Briefly

Twenty-six: Home Again

Twenty-seven: The Man Who Out-Hamleted Hamlet

Part VI: Palm Beach and Hyannis Port

Twenty-eight: A Forced Retirement

Twenty-nine: War

Thirty: “A Melancholy Business”

Thirty-one: The Candidate’s Father

Thirty-two: Family Matters

Thirty-three: “The Great Debate”

Thirty-four: The Next Senator from Massachusetts

Thirty-five: Retirement

Thirty-six: Making Money and Giving It Away

Thirty-seven: The Catholic Candidate

Thirty-eight: Electing a President

Thirty-nine: “He Belongs to the Country”

Forty: “No!”





Bibliography of Works Cited


Photograph Credits

About the Author


Joseph Patrick Kennedy (1888–1969, m. 1914)

Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890–1995, m. 1914), wife of Joseph P. Kennedy

Children and Children’s Spouses

Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr. (1915–1944)

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, “Jack” (1917–1963, m. 1953)

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1929–1994, m. 1953), wife of John Kennedy

Rose Marie Kennedy, “Rosemary” (1918–2005)

Kathleen Agnes Kennedy Hartington, “Kick” (1920–1948, m. 1944)

William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, Billy Hartington (1917–1944, m. 1944), eldest son of the 10th Duke of Devonshire, husband of “Kick” Kennedy

Eunice Mary Kennedy Shriver (1921–2009, m. 1953)

Robert Sargent Shriver, “Sargent Shriver” or “Sarge” (1915–2011, m. 1953), husband of Eunice Kennedy

Patricia Kennedy, “Pat” (1924–2006, m. 1954)

Peter Lawford (1923–1984, m. 1954), husband of Patricia Kennedy

Robert Francis Kennedy, “Bobby” (1925–1968, m. 1950)

Ethel Skakel Kennedy (1928–, m. 1950), wife of Robert Kennedy

Jean Ann Kennedy Smith (1928–, m. 1956)

Stephen Edward Smith, “Steve” (1927–1990, m. 1956), husband of Jean Kennedy

Edward Moore Kennedy, “Ted” (1932–2009, m. 1958, 1992)

Joan Bennett Kennedy (1936–, m. 1958), first wife of Edward Kennedy

Joseph P. Kennedy’s Parents

Patrick Joseph Kennedy, “P.J.” (1858–1929, m. 1887), father of Joseph P. Kennedy

Mary Augusta Hickey Kennedy (1857–1923, m. 1887), mother of Joseph P. Kennedy

Joseph P. Kennedy’s Paternal Grandparents

Patrick Kennedy (ca. 1823–1858, m. 1849), grandfather

Bridget Murphy Kennedy (1821–1888, m. 1849), grandmother

Joseph P. Kennedy’s Parents-in-Law

John Francis Fitzgerald, “Honey Fitz” (1863–1950), father-in-law of Kennedy, mayor of Boston (1906–1908 and 1910–1914)

Mary Josephine Hannon Fitzgerald, “Josie” (1865–1964), mother-in-law of Kennedy, wife of John Francis Fitzgerald


Dean Acheson, assistant secretary of state (1941–1945), under secretary of state (1945), secretary of state (1949–1953)

Robert S. Allen, journalist, co-columnist with Drew Pearson, “Washington Merry-Go-Round”

Joseph Alsop, Washington columnist

Nancy Astor, Lady Astor, member of Parliament (1919–1945), Cliveden set

Waldorf Astor, Lord Astor, politician, newspaper owner

Bernard Baruch, businessman, financier, Democratic Party adviser

Lord Beaverbrook, Max Aitken, newspaper owner, minister of aircraft production (1940–1941), minister of supply (1941–1942), Kennedy friend

Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle, Jr., “Tony,” ambassador to Poland (1937–1943), ambassador to governments in exile (1941–1943), U.S. Army in Europe (1944–1955)

Kirk LeMoyne Billings, “Lem,” JFK friend

John Boettiger, husband of Anna Roosevelt, editor of
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Benjamin C. Bradlee, journalist and editor of
Washington Post, Newsweek

Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court justice (1916–1939), Roosevelt adviser

Bart Brickley, Boston lawyer, Kennedy friend

William Christian Bullitt, Jr., ambassador to France (1936–1940)

John Burns, law professor, Massachusetts judge, SEC general counsel, Kennedy attorney and friend

Rab Butler, under-secretary of state for foreign affairs (1938–1941)

James Byrnes, senator from South Carolina (1931–1941), Supreme Court justice (1941–1942), Economic Stabilization Office (1942–1943), secretary of state (1945–1947)

Sir Alexander Cadogan, permanent under-secretary for foreign affairs (1938–1946)

Sir James Calder, head of Distillers Company, Kennedy friend

Boake Carter, radio commentator, Kennedy friend

Father John Cavanaugh, president of Notre Dame (1946–1952), Kennedy friend

Neville Chamberlain, prime minister (1937–1940)

Winston Churchill, first lord of the Admiralty (1939–1940), prime minister (1940–1945)

Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian minister of foreign affairs (1936–1943), Mussolini’s son-in-law

Clark Clifford, Washington lawyer, head of JFK transition team

Ralph Coghlan, editor of
St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
JFK campaign adviser

Benjamin V. Cohen, attorney, New Deal adviser

Duff Cooper, first lord of the Admiralty (1937–1938), minister of information (1940–1941)

Thomas Gardiner Corcoran, attorney, Felix Frankfurter protégé, New Deal and Lyndon Johnson adviser

Robert Coughlin, collaborator, ghostwriter for Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy’s
Times to Remember

James Michael Curley, mayor of Boston for several terms, representative from Massachusetts (1911–1914, 1943–1947), governor of Massachusetts (1935–1937)

Guy Currier, Massachusetts legislator, lawyer, lobbyist

Archbishop Richard Cushing, archbishop of Boston (1944–1970), cardinal (1958–1970)

Mark Dalton, JFK campaign manager (1946, 1952)

Russell Davenport, managing editor of

Marion Davies, actress, mistress of William Randolph Hearst

Eddie (E. B.) Derr, Kennedy business associate

Paul A. Dever, candidate for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts (1946), governor of Massachusetts (1949–1953)

Thomas E. Dewey, governor of New York (1943–1954), Republican candidate for president (1944, 1948)

Joseph Dinneen, journalist with
Boston Globe

Herbert von Dirksen, German ambassador to Great Britain

William J. Donovan, “Colonel Donovan” or “Wild Bill,” lawyer, intelligence officer, Roosevelt adviser

William O. Douglas, law professor, SEC commissioner, Supreme Court justice (1939–1975), Kennedy friend

Morton Downey, singer, Kennedy friend

Allen Welsh Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1953–1961)

Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe (World War II), supreme Allied commander (1951–1952), president (1953–1961)

Henri, Marquis de la Falaise de la Coudraye, Gloria Swanson’s husband

James Farley, postmaster general (1933–1940), Roosevelt adviser

James Fayne, Kennedy classmate, business associate

Robert Fisher, Harvard roommate and Kennedy friend

John J. Ford, “Johnnie,” business associate, Fore River, Maine and New Hampshire Theatre Company, New York City office

James Forrestal, secretary of the navy (1944–1947), secretary of defense (1947–1949)

Felix Frankfurter, Harvard Law School professor, Supreme Court justice (1939–1962), Roosevelt adviser

Count Enrico Galeazzi, Rome liaison to Knights of Columbus, Vatican adviser, Kennedy friend

Ann Gargan, Rose’s niece, chief caregiver after Kennedy stroke

John Nance Garner IV, representative from Texas (1903–1933), Speaker of the House (1931–1933), vice president (1933–1941)

Robert L. Ghormley, vice admiral, Roosevelt military adviser

Arthur Goldsmith, Harvard classmate, Kennedy friend

Dr. Frederick Good, family doctor and obstetrician for Kennedy children

Edmund Goulding, “Eddie,” movie and stage director, screenwriter

Lord Halifax, E. F. L. Wood, foreign secretary (1938–1940), British ambassador to the United States (1940–1946)

William Harrison Hays, Sr., “Will,” president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America

William Randolph Hearst, publishing magnate, head of Cosmopolitan Pictures

Nevile Henderson, British ambassador to Germany (1937–1939)

Luella Hennessey, Kennedy family nurse

Father Theodore Hesburgh, president of Notre Dame (1952–1987)

Sir Samuel Hoare, Conservative Party politician, home secretary (1937–1939)

Herbert Hoover, president (1929–1933), chair of Hoover Commission (1947–1949, 1953–1955)

J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (1935–1972)

Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt adviser, New Deal agency administrator

Arthur Houghton, manager of Fred Stone, Hollywood executive, Kennedy friend

Louis McHenry Howe, Roosevelt adviser

Cordell Hull, senator from Tennessee (1931–1933), secretary of state (1933–1944)

Harold L. Ickes, secretary of the interior (1933–1952)

Lyndon Baines Johnson, representative from Texas (1937–1949), senator from Texas (1949–1961), Senate minority leader (1953–1955), Senate majority leader (1955–1961), vice president (1961–1963), president (1963–1969)

Joseph Kane, Kennedy cousin, family political representative in Boston

Estes Kefauver, senator from Tennessee (1949–1963), Democratic nominee for vice president (1956)

John Kennedy (no relation), “London Jack,” journalist, publicist for Kennedy

Frank Kent, Baltimore columnist, New Deal opponent

Tyler Kent, U.S. embassy (London) code clerk, convicted of stealing documents

Philip Kerr, Lord Lothian, British ambassador to the United States (1939–1940)

Robert Kintner, co-columnist until 1942 with Joseph Alsop

Louis Kirstein, David Sarnoff friend, Boston department store owner, investor in FBO

Harvey Klemmer, Maritime Commission, attached to U.S. embassy in London (1938–1940)

Frank Knox, publisher of
Chicago Daily News,
Republican nominee for vice president (1936), secretary of the navy (1940–1944)

Arthur Krock, Washington bureau chief of
New York Times,
Kennedy family adviser

Ferdinand Kuhn, Jr., journalist with
New York Times

James Landis, law professor, SEC commissioner, Kennedy lawyer, friend, adviser

Alfred M. Landon, “Alf,” Republican candidate for president (1936)

Harold Laski, London School of Economics, tutor to Joe Kennedy, Jr.

Jesse Lasky, Hollywood producer and executive

General Raymond E. Lee, military attaché at U.S. embassy in London

Missy LeHand, secretary to President Roosevelt

John L. Lewis, labor leader, CIO organizer

Charles Lindbergh, aviator, opposed United States entry in World War II

Ronald Lindsay, British ambassador to the United States (1929–1939)

Walter Lippmann, Washington-based syndicated columnist

Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., senator from Massachusetts

Breckinridge Long, ambassador to Italy (1933–1936), special assistant secretary of state (1939–1940), assistant secretary of state (1940–1944)

Clare Boothe Luce, actress, playwright, wife of Henry Luce, representative from Connecticut (1943–1947), ambassador to Italy (1953–1956)

Henry Luce, “Harry” (1898–1967), publisher of
Time, Life,

Louis Lyons, journalist with
Boston Globe

General Douglas MacArthur, UN commander in Korea (1950–1951)

Malcolm MacDonald, colonial secretary (1938–1940)

Torbert Macdonald, JFK classmate, politician, friend

George Marshall, secretary of state (1947–1949), author of Marshall Plan

Joseph McCarthy, senator from Wisconsin (1947–1957), Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (1953–1955)

John McClellan, senator from Arkansas (1943–1977), Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (1955–1973)

John W. McCormack, representative from Massachusetts (1928–1971), House majority leader

Colonel Robert McCormick, anti–New Deal publisher of
Chicago Tribune

Timothy McInerny, Boston newspaper editor, family friend

Jeremiah Milbank, banker, associate of Elisha Walker

Jay Pierrepont Moffat, State Department’s Western European division (1937–1940)

Raymond Moley, New Deal “brain trust,” Roosevelt adviser, newspaper editor

Edward Moore, “Eddie,” Kennedy friend, business associate, surrogate parent to Kennedy children

Mary Moore, wife of Eddie Moore, family friend

Henry Morgenthau, Jr., secretary of the treasury (1934–1945)

Francis Morrissey, “Frank,” JFK campaign aide, nominee for federal district judge

Frank Murphy, governor of Michigan, Supreme Court justice, Kennedy friend

Paul Murphy, manager of operations, New York City office

Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, Roman Catholic cardinal, secretary of state for the Vatican (1930–1939), Pope Pius XII (1939–1958)

Cissy Patterson, newspaper editor and owner of
Washington Times-Herald

Joseph Patterson, editor of New York
Daily News

Drew Pearson, syndicated columnist

Ferdinand Pecora, chief counsel, Senate Committee on Banking and Currency (1933–1934), SEC commissioner

Frances Perkins, secretary of labor (1933–1945)

Arthur B. Poole, business associate, accountant, Pathé, Hearst Corporation

Dave Powers, JFK adviser

Sam Rayburn, representative from Texas (1913–1961), Speaker of the House

James Reston, London journalist with Associated Press, chief diplomatic correspondent for
New York Times

Paul Reynaud, prime minister of France (1940)

John J. Reynolds, Kennedy real estate adviser

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German ambassador to London, minister for foreign affairs (1938–1945)

Anna Roosevelt, daughter of President Roosevelt

James Roosevelt, “Jimmy,” son of President Roosevelt, secretary to the president

Carroll Rosenbloom, Baltimore businessman, Palm Beach friend

George Rublee, director of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees

Louis Ruppel, journalist with
Chicago Times

Howard Rusk, director of the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Leverett Saltonstall, governor of Massachusetts (1939–1979), senator from Massachusetts (1945–1967)

David Sarnoff, RCA executive, founder of RKO

Joseph Schenck, Hollywood executive

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., founder of Americans for Democratic Action, historian of JFK presidency, Robert Kennedy biographer

Sir John Simon, chancellor of the Exchequer (1937–1940)

George Smathers, representative from Florida (1947–1951), senator from Florida (1951–1969)

Al Smith, governor of New York (1919–1920, 1923–1928), Democratic presidential candidate (1928)

BOOK: The Patriarch
10.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Blast From the Past by Ben Elton
Frosted by Katy Regnery
The Suicide Murders by Howard Engel
I Am Max Lamm by Raphael Brous
A Season in Hell by Marilyn French