The Young JFK, Not Yet Ready For Prime Time

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Yesterday was the birthday of John F. Kennedy. Here are a few pictures of him while a student at Choate, submitted by a reader a couple of birthdays ago.

Above Kennedy is pictured in buttondown collar, which he would abandon during his presidential election — the first to reach a mass audience via television — for being “too Ivy League.”

The shot below is from the year 1934 and features Kennedy looking very prep/collegiate with polo coat and what appear to be well worn white bucks:

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Flannels, sweater and odd jacket (possibly tweed), all of which derive from sporting activities. This is an outfit for being in the country, not running it:

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Finally, that whole touch-football thing? A lifelong pursuit apparently. Note Converse All Stars, which were introduced in 1917. — CC

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9 Comments on "The Young JFK, Not Yet Ready For Prime Time"

  1. the nonchalance of a youthful JFK in that autographed photo is captivating.
    some people work at it, but that contradicts the very essence of nonchalance.

  2. Vern Trotter | May 30, 2015 at 3:45 pm |

    Democrats are nonchalant. Republicans are insouciant.

  3. I’m wondering, looking at the shoes, whether they’re PF Flyers rather than Cons. The photo comes from the Georgetown 1954 shoot that has been published in Camelot at Dawn and elsewhere, and in other photos, it seems the striping on the backside of the shoe is more apparent, and that the pattern on the rubber outside of the toe is of vertical lines rather than the crosshatch pattern of Cons. I’m being pedantic, but I thought it was worth a mention for the really hardcore JFK fashion fanatics. I certainly defer to anyone who knows more about the history of Cons in that era for a better opinion, though.

  4. Mountain Cat Prep | May 30, 2015 at 11:34 pm |

    Greg, I did some brief googling and came up with this picture of the soles of some converse from the 50’s : http://only-sneakers.ru/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/converse-pre-chucks-1950s___.jpg

    The pattern on the soles seems to match the ones JFK is wearing, so it looks like those are Converse!

  5. I would be more interested in seeing actual shoes.

  6. Woody wagon in the background really nails this photo to the wall. Love it.

  7. Can’t help but wonder about the identity and destiny of the each of the others in the snow shot.

  8. Vern Trotter | June 1, 2015 at 3:06 pm |

    The shoes are PF Flyers. I had a pair exactly like them sold to me in 1950 by the jr. high basketball coach who was also my PE instructor. They were promoted in the 1950s by Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics. In the late 50s they were passed by Converse Chuck Taylors in organized basketball popularity.

    Converse purchased them from BF Goodrich in 1972 but the sale was blocked by the U.S. Dept of Justice as being monopolistic.

  9. Vern Trotter | June 1, 2015 at 3:36 pm |

    The Converse Chuck Taylors had a donut shaped rubber ankle patch while the PF Flyers patch was solid making it easy to identify both.

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