Fifty years ago March 9, 1960 a reception was held in Reedsburg at the Badger Theater. An unknown Senator, John F. Kennedy made a scheduled appearance that day. His other stops on March 9th were in Mauston, Baraboo, Sparta and LaCrosse with Mrs. Kennedy by his side. About 150 people turned out at the Badger Theatre according to the Reedsburg Times Press. Senator Kennedy was campaigning for votes in the Wisconsin primary election to be held April 5. He was seeking the presidential nomination from the Democratic Party. In Reedsburg he praised the primary system as a means by which presidential candidates can become familiar with the major problems of different states. He mentioned specifically the decline in the income of state dairy farmers in his talk. He also expressed alarm in the drop in farm income.
You can follow the Kennedy campaign fifty years later on twitter.com/JFK_1960. Experience the day-to-day workings of JFK’s road to the White House. This site will give you links to images and remarks made on each hour of each day of the campaign. We have in our collection the DVD “Primary” an interesting film made by Robert Drew. This film is one week of round the clock access of Senator Kennedy as he toured the cities and towns of Wisconsin, campaigning against rival front-runner Hubert Humphrey in the state’s pivotal primary election. With minimal narration and ground breaking technique unseen in TV news reporting at the time. This historical document is particularly interesting because it will give you a flavor of the politics of the time. On our web page you will find a link to see images of Senator and Mrs. Kennedy’s visit to Reedsburg fifty years ago. Did you know that our Library Director Susan Steiner met Senator Kennedy as a grade school student in Fennimore, Wisconsin during the primary campaign? She got to shake his hand and he autographed a notepaper for her before he got into the helicopter to leave.