Tag Archives: Lem Billings

January 4, 1961

JFK is in Palm Beach with Jackie, Caroline, and newborn John, Jr. along with his mother Rose and close friend Lem Billings. JFK is scheduled for a photograph session with Richard Avedon for Harper’s Bazaar.

There is much hustle and bustle as the preparations for the photograph session are completed. In addition to the Kennedy party, Avedon’s assistant who is also the sister of Leonard Bernstein is there along with famed hairdresser Kenneth of New York and a fitter from Cassini, who would become Jackie’s favorite dressmaker.

Caroline is dressed in a white organdy dress and pink hair ribbon and infant John Jr. is swaddled in blankets.

JFK is reportedly poised and good-natured throughout but remarks afterwards to Billings, “Well, that was certainly a morning wasted.”


January 19, 1954

JFK spent part of the day in Baltimore with Lem Billings appearing at the Foundation for Better Reading.

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February 20, 1945

JFK wrote to his friend Lemoyne Billings. In the months after his discharge from the Navy, Kennedy struggled to find a direction and focus for his time. In this letter, he discusses his tentative plans and a possible start to his political career,

“I am returning to Law School at Harvard… in the fall – and then if something good turns up while I am there I will run for it. I have my eye on something pretty good now if it comes through.”

Langdell Hall at Harvard Law School (photo courtesy Wikimedia)


January 30, 1943

In a letter to his friend Lem Billings, JFK somewhat somberly reports the casualty news friends that he has heard,

“Your friend Jock Pitney I saw the other day is reported missing and a class-mate of mine, Dunc Curtis…. was killed on Christmas Day.”

March 12, 1942

JFK writes to Lem Billings from his posting in Charleston, South Carolina. He describes an exercise regimen he has undertaken involving the Charles Atlas course of isometrics, which he is doing over a ninety day period.

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December 7, 1941

JFK and Lem Billings played touch football in a pickup game they joined on the Mall close to the Washington Monument. News of the bombing at Pearl Harbor came over the radio after the game as they were heading back to Jack Kennedy’s apartment.


October 26, 1941

JFK reported to the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C., where he was assigned a desk job encoding and deciphering local signals.

Lem Billings recalled that JFK was less than thrilled with the work.

…he was pretty much concerned about his own in that he wasn’t happy at all in what he was doing….He was very frustrated…. I mean it just seemed to him a waste of time. He wasn’t happy at all. At the time there was nothing he could do about it. He was very frustrated and unhappy.


June 18, 1938

Four days after he last wrote a letter to Lem Billings, JFK again wrote to his close friend.

JFK and best friend Lem Billings giving Bobby Kennedy a lift (photo courtesy kennedys.tublr.com)


June 14, 1938

JFK wrote a letter to long-time friend Lem Billings. The contents of the letter are closed and will be made available to the public in 2013 by the John F. Kennedy library.


July 27, 1937

JFK and Lem Billings continue their travels through France, driving to Lourdes and then onto Toulouse. JFK notes in his red-leather bound diary that Billings takes ill as they are leaving Lourdes!

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