Blogs > Cliopatria > Kennedy Sale

Feb 24, 2005 5:54 pm

Kennedy Sale

The news of yet another sale this week of Kennedy clothing and artifacts reminded me of the change in fortunes of presidential families.

Today Kennedy is regarded as one of the top five presidents by Americans (though not by historians, of course).

The other president he usually battles for first place with was Lincoln.

But after Lincoln was turned into a saint following HIS assassination, no one stampeded to buy Lincoln family clothes.

In 1867, as Jason Emerson shows in a fine article not yet published, Mary Lincoln tried to raise family funds by selling off some of her White House dresses.

In what is dubbed the Clothes Scandal she even asked people who had won jobs through Lincoln to make some of the purchases.

There were hardly any takers. When her letters about the clothes became public the newspapers had a field day at her expense.

And today? Today the Kennedy family holds sale after sale and millions are raised.

To my mind something was wrong in both cases. Both families are guilty of exploiting their dead heroes for financial gain. That this was only regarded as a scandal in the 19th century may be a reproof to the 21st.

But then, this is America. The marketplace rules.

And it would be fun to attend one of those auctions.

Now if I only had a few thousand dollars so I could purchase some Kennedy remnant.

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Michael Meo - 2/27/2005

One of the benefits feminism may have done for us is, that we are able to construct more easily a socially generated frame.

"The marketplace rules." Yes, but that marketplace is a socially constructed category, like feminity or masculinity.