A major fund drive directed at Massachusetts' businessmen began in earnest last night with a New England Convocation Dinner for the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library.
Some 250 of the commonwealth's solidest citizens--industrialists, bankers, and a smattering of policicians and professors--gathered in the cavernous main hall of the Harvard Club of Boston to hear speeches by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy '48, Senator Edward M. Kennedy '54, president Pusey, and Eugene R. Black chairman of the Library's board of trustees.
The dinner was officially a progress report on the Library, but the trustees reportedly hope they can raise at least $1 million among the corporations whose presidents dined on roast beef last night.
Although all the speakers praised the Library and agreed that the institute it will house should make it more than a mere memorial archive, no clear picture emerged of just what the Institute will be.
Stnator Kennedy said it will be a place which will "bring together the worlds of public affairs and scholarship." Black said it will be "a place where government leaders can get ideas from businessmen." And Pusey said it will be a place where "scholars and lay people, young people and old people can come together."
In his speech, however, Attorney General Kennedy detailed three "unique features" of the Library.
First, Kennedy said, the Library will contain an extensive film collection. The three television networks, local communities, and others are being encouraged to donate to what will be a complete pictorial record of the President's career.
The films will be readily available for study, the Attorney General added. There will be specially equipped booths in the Library to which "an individual can come, press a button, and see a particular press conference or trip on film."
Second, the Library is now in the process of photographing all documents dealing with decisions the President made. In the past, Kennedy said, Presidential libraries have included only White House papers. He noted that over 400,000 documents have been photographed so far.
Third, Kennedy said, the Library will house an "oral history of recorded interviews with some 300 of the President's friends and associates. Because most important communications are now made by telephone, Kennedy said, "the Library cold have all the written documents and still not present a true picture."
Pusey, who spoke before Kennedy, said he hopes the Library's institute will "perpetuate the memory of a young man who went into a career of politics and gave himself to it with joy and enthusiasm."
Black, who is the former head of the World Bank, said he thinks President Kennedy would have anted "to see this Kennedy institute developed as a place that can help bridge the gap between business and government," and called this "a worthwhile reason for corporate giving to this project."
Thomas J. white, New England Chairman, for the Library, announced gifts totaling $430,500 from 22 Boston firms. He said that more than $5 million has now been pledged toward the Library, which will cost an estimated $10 million