Fifteen Minutes: Behind a University's Very Close Doors... 'The JFK Suite'

There are no neon signs or gaudy trimmings proclaiming the site of room 14 in the F entryway of Winthrop House. A simple blue placard tacked to the door identifies the dorm room haunted by, as one visitor called it, "The Ghost of Charisma Past." Welcome to the JFK Suite.

On May 29, 1970, in commemoration of the 53rd birthday of John F. Kennedy '40, the Institute of Politics created this cozy home-away-from-home for assorted visiting dignitaries, scholars and public figures. Once the posh pad of JFK and his senior year roomie--future Congressman Torbert H. MacDonald '40--the suite is also let out to supplicating students who want to bask in the nostalgia of JFK and his memorabilia.

Behind the locked door lies the New Frontier, a frontier that tickles the nose with "a whiff of history," as another guest put it. The door opens to a quaint sitting room, bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom while books by and about the President overflow the bookshelf and framed photos and newspaper clippings deck the walls. Here, a snapshot of the swimming team; there, JFK attending the Harvard-Columbia football game in 1963; upon the bedroom door, the 1940 University Class Day Program announcing all the swingin' graduation activities. "There's a flavor to it," says Catherine L. McLaughlin, deputy director of the IOP. "That's why we didn't change it. We want to maintain the feeling of a dorm room." Vivian M. Song '02, modern-day inhabitant of F entryway, acknowledges the positive aura of the room, but, as an advocate of progress, regards it as "A little shabby. I would have done a little more work with it, especially in the bedroom."

Recommended Articles

French Cafe Closes
The Patisserie Francaise closed yesterday after 30 years of serving the Cambridge community. The moldy bread and rotten fruit lying
Delectable Cuisine Awaits Summer School Gourmands
At summer school one can study physical science, social science, natural science and even the history of science. But one
George Cabot Lodge
Greek tragedy is a sad spectacle on the political stage, as George Lodge is painfully proving. The awkwardly handsome young
'19 Years Have Passed Since That Day in Dallas'
On the 19th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy '40 yesterday, the Associated Press--the nation's largest news
BOOKENDS: Lance Morrow’s Presidential Dream Team Falls Short
The title of Lance Morrow’s new book is remarkably fascinating: “The Best Year of Their Lives: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon
A Suite Decision
It’s getting to that time of the school year when Harvard students must make a critical decision that has an