Exhibit Shows Process Behind JFK's 'Ask Not' Inaugural

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President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address — given 50 years ago next month — has become such a part of American consciousness, it's easy to forget that someone actually had to write it.

But a new exhibit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston gives a glimpse into the creative process behind the speech, as well as other aspects of the 35th president's inauguration.

"Passing the Torch: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy" opens Friday. The exhibit features notes from Kennedy’s first full day in office, his reading copy of his farewell address to Massachusetts and other treasures from events surrounding the inauguration.

Highlights of the exhibit also include the never-before-displayed top hat and brown suede gloves Kennedy wore to his inauguration and the Oleg Cassini evening gown that Jacqueline Kennedy wore to a gala on the eve of the inauguration.

WBUR spoke with museum curator Stacey Bredhoff and author Thurston Clarke, who wrote a book on the address.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. The video was provided as a courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

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This program aired on December 10, 2010.

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Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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