From a small northwestern observatory…

Finance and economics generally focused on real estate

And now for something completely different…..

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All work and no play makes John a dull boy, I guess, so Tuesday evening, I enjoyed a great dinner at the Cosmos Club in DC with Amanda Smith to celebrate her new book, Newspaper Titan:  The Infamous Life and Monumental Times of Cissy Patterson.  For a bit more about Amanda and her book, click here or keep reading.

First, about Amanda — you may know her better as the biographer and granddaughter of Joe Kennedy (Hostage to Fortune:  The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy), who of course was the Ambassador to the Court of St. James under FDR in the 1930’s, and perhaps even better known as the Father of JFK, RFK, Teddy, and the like.  Amanda’s mom is Jean Kennedy Smith, no slouch in her own right, who is the last surviving child of Joe and Rose Kennedy and was Ambassador to Ireland under President Clinton.   Amanda holds her doctorate from Harvard.

Joe Kennedy, of course, was one of the great isolationists during the interwar years, and when Amanda was researching her granddad, she was drawn to the stories behind the other isolationists of the day.  Cissy Patterson is one of the most interesting women — nay, most interesting people — of the middle years of the 20th Century.  In 1946, Colliers magazine called her the most powerful woman in America, and perhaps the most hated.  She was the granddaughter of Joseph Medill, one of the founders of the Republican Party (and the man who delivered the decisive Ohio delegation to Abraham Lincoln at the 1860 convention), and after an amazingly adventurous life, became publisher of the Washington Times Herald, taking it from the 5th rank among papers in the nation’s capital to number one in both circulation and influence during World War II.

Presenting a book about Cissy Patterson at the Cosmos Club was not without irony (and regular readers of this blog know how much I love irony).  Cissy Patterson was an early supporter of FDR, but became a big critic of his administration over its foreign policy.  The wonderful headquarters of the Cosmos Club, on Massachusetts Avenue, was the former home of FDR’s under-secretary of state, the famed Sumner Welles, who was one of the great architects of modern-day interventionist U.S. foreign policy and the designer of the United Nations.

Of course, attending a dinner to honor Amanda Smith and her new book wasn’t the ONLY reason I was in DC this week, but it’s the only one I can talk about right now.  More on the other things later.

Written by johnkilpatrick

September 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm

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