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Special Collections: Guide to the Collection on John F. Kennedy's Visit to UMaine

Administrative Information

Collection title:  Collection on John F. Kennedy's visit to the University of Maine
Collection number:  SpC MS 273
Dates of collection:  1963-1983 (bulk 1963)
Size of collection:  1 box (.5 linear ft.)
Provenance:  appears to have been transferred to Special Collections by the Office of the President at the University of Maine
Restrictions on access and use:  Stored in the library's remote storage area.  One week's notice requested for access.

Historical Note

John F. Kennedy visited the campus of the University of Maine for a special convocation program on October 19, 1963, where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Materials in the collection were created by members of the staff of the office of University of Maine President Lloyd H. Elliot. According to a press release included in the collection, “arrangements for President Kennedy’s visit to the university were made by Senator Edmund S. Muskie, who felt that the State University was the logical site for a presidential address during the chief executive’s visit to Maine for an inspection flight over the proposed Passamaquoddy Power project site.”

Scope and Content Note

Materials include correspondence, telegrams, photographs, convocation program, press kit, and transcript of remarks of President Kennedy. Correspondence prior to the event includes letters to government officials helping to arrange the visit, including Maine's Governor John H. Reed, Senator Ed Muskie and Senator Margaret Chase Smith. Correspondence following the event include many letters congratulating President Lloyd Elliott on the success of the progam, although some letters note that "in the eyes of some alumni and friends of the institution," the choice of Kennedy to receive an honorary degree was controversial.  Information is included about a film that was produced to document Kennedy's visit, as well as President Elliott's remarks following President Kennedy's assassination.

Related Materials

Several photographs of President Kennedy's visit can be found in the University Photograph Archive.  Contact Special Collections for assistance.  The department also holds the cap and gown worn by President Kennedy during the ceremony.


f1    University of Maine publications

f2    Convocation program, citations, speech transcripts

f3    Convocation preparations, stage party list, seating arrangement

f4    Press kit

f5    Transcript of remarks, President Kennedy

f6    Related correspondence, Office of UMaine President Lloyd Elliott, October 16-October 31, 1963

f7    Related correspondence, November 6, 1963-November 4, 1965

f8    Telegrams, October-November, 1963

f9    Remembrance, 1983

f10    News clippings

f11    Newspapers, Bangor Daily News, October 19-20, 1963

f12    Newspapers, Bangor Daily News, October 21, 1963

f13    Additional Press Materials


 Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/18/2015
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University of Maine
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The University of Maine
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