January 21, 2011

JFK's Harvard Application

John F. Kennedy's 1936 Harvard application is now on the Internet. In grades, he finished 65th out of 110 at Choate Academy, which is awfully mediocre since they probably weren't all that selective back then. The application includes old-fashioned College Board tests scored on a 0 to 100 scale, but I don't know how to interpret those: Latin 75, French 60, and Math A 82.

One thing I hadn't known was that JFK had actually started college at Princeton, but then dropped out because of a severe illness that put him in the hospital for two months. He ended up missing a year to recuperate, so he didn't start Harvard until he was 19. I feel sorry for the kid being that sickly.

In other news, the Democrats' favorite Republican Senator, Lindsay Graham, likes to boast of his 800 combined SAT score.

73 comments:

RandyB said...

That was when Ivy League schools had more to do with family connections than superior academics. I remember one article pointing out that in 1950, three elite prep schools each contributed ten percent of the entering freshman class. But academically, they were probably no superior to the entering class at a lot of state universities.

Peter A said...

Princeton, ugh. It's funny the Kennedys have become so associated with Massachusetts when they really were culturally more of a New York Irish family. Even JFK's accent is not really a typical Mass accent at all - it's weird hybrid of New York upper class and Boston Brahmin.

Anonymous said...

Steve, excellent reporting on the academic shortcomings of certain Democrats. Perhaps you should also do a little journalistic digging on Sarah Palin's intellectual bona fides as well. Or does that one hit a little too close to home? ;)

Saint Louis said...

800 combined? Ouch. Well, it's probably still better than Alvin Greene, that is, if Alvin Greene even took the SAT.

Harry Baldwin said...

I'm not sure if Graham is boasting about his SATs. The article says, "After tossing out a few if-I-can-make-it-anyone-can references to his humble beginnings as a pool-hall owner’s son in Central, S.C., and his 800 combined SAT score . . . "

To me that implies that that dismal score is one of his if-I-can-make-it-anyone-can references. It would certainly help explain his obtuseness.

dearieme said...

He was a Kennedy - is it likely that he took the relevant tests himself, or will he have used a "ringer"? I suppose it's harder to fake at a school than at a university.

Anonymous said...

The real skeleton in the Camelot closet is how ill JFK was most of the time, far sicker than Eisenhower, who was much older. That Kennedy was able to serve in a physically demanding position in WWII, and hold up to the rigors of a political career, is a tribute to his mental toughness, but honestly, for the health standpoint, the guy had no business being President.

Reg C├Žsar said...

In a discussion on who the first circumcised president might have been, someone mentioned that Kennedy was cut as a teenager during some health crisis. Would this have been at Princeton?

It was also revealed that the Luo, despite being Moslem, don't practice this. But one wonders how much say BHO I would have had in the matter-- assuming he was present at all-- in 1961 when it was almost universal in the US.

If anyone knows of photographic evidence relating to either case, please... keep it to yourself!

Truth said...

Damn, A.A. really sucks! 65th in a class of 110? there should be one really pissed 85 year old Asian computer programer who never got his chance to go to Harvard because of this miscarriage of justice.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Is Lindsay Grahamnesty actually proud of an 800 SAT score as proof of his bona-fide average American-ness?

Or did he get 800s?

It appears from the article you link to that it's the former, not the latter. Which seems retarded.

Dutch Boy said...

JFK had Addison's Disease, caused by a deficiency of hormones (chiefly cortisol) produced by the adrenal glands. They may have been damaged by the severe back injury he suffered when his PT boat was sunk in WW II. My mother was an RN and used to comment about his puffy-looking face, which is a side-effect of cortisone therapy.

Anonymous said...

Blagojevich is quoted as receiving an 18 on his ACT.

http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2009/01/quotations-of-gov-blagojevich.html

SF said...

Maybe, Like GW Bush, he wants to be sure people don't regard him as a pointy headed intellectual. He is a lawyer. I can't imagine someone with an 800 SAT doing well enough on the LSAT to get in at any mainstream law school.

Anonymous said...

Kennedy was something like a master of sublimation. How rare is it these days for heirs to fortunes to actually build on their legacy. Kennedy knew he would die young one way or the other and he did the most with what he had. His will to power was impressive.

Anonymous said...

It's funny the Kennedys have become so associated with Massachusetts when they really were culturally more of a New York Irish family.

This isn't true.

They were from and tied to Boston since they first immigrated. JFK's grandfather was involved in Boston politics and served in the Mass state government.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Off-topic, but the headline story at Yahoo right now is touting a strong correlation between world-wide happiness & the ability to "trust" one's fellow citizens.

Main page screenshot is here.

Story itself is here:

The World's Happiest Countries
By Christopher Helman
travel.yahoo.com

...With very high levels of social cohesion and a first-place ranking in education, New Zealanders trust and help each other...

Aussies trust their government...

Finland - Excellent education, universal health care, plentiful personal freedoms, trusted government, peaceful...

No. 1: Norway... An unparalleled 74% of Norwegians say other people can be trusted, 94% are happy with the beauty of their environment, and a very high 93% believe hard work will help them get ahead in life...

Eric said...

That Kennedy was able to serve in a physically demanding position in WWII, and hold up to the rigors of a political career, is a tribute to his mental toughness, but honestly, for the health standpoint, the guy had no business being President.

Mental toughness and drugs. Lots and lots and lots of drugs.

Kylie said...

"Damn, A.A. really sucks! 65th in a class of 110? there should be one really pissed 85 year old Asian computer programer who never got his chance to go to Harvard because of this miscarriage of justice."

In 1936 when JFK applied to Harvard, an Asian who's now 85 y/o would have been only 9 or 10. I think age rather than race would have led to Harvard's refusal to grant your theoretical Asian a place in the Class of 1940.

That and the fact that your Asian was born and raised in Asia. There weren't quite the number of foreign students on American campuses back then that there are today.

And no, I'm not going to ask about your SAT math score.

Truth said...

"In 1936 when JFK applied to Harvard, an Asian who's now 85 y/o would have been only 9 or 10."

Did I not imply strongly enough that he was a genius?

Kylie said...

"Did I not imply strongly enough that he was a genius?"

No, you did not.

I hate to break it to you this way but you're starting to remind me of Hank Kimball.

Anonymous said...

At the time the Democrats gushed about how handsome JFK was. They also went into rhapsodies about how smart his advisors were. They went on and on about his charm and his wit too.

It was not however an article of this particular faith that JFK was also a genius. I was taken for granted that he must have been smart because he had written a Pulitzer Prize book.

Of course we now know that he didn't write that or any other book. He hadn't introduced any legislation while he was a senator or ever held a serious executive position in private industry or the military.

So when Lloyd Bensen said "I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine and you are no Jack Kennedy" - he was talking through his hat. The pre-Presidential Kennedy wasn't a man of accomplishmsnt nor was he admired and revered by his colleagues. If anything he had been an object of derision and contempt - the playboy senator.

I read about a decade ago that JFK had an IQ of 125. I don't have much faith in the methodology of intelligence testing of the dead but in this case it sounded plausible.

His brain power was somewhere between Leonardo Dicaprio and George Clooney - other good looking guys.

Albertosaurus

jz said...

Was Kennedy's severe illness his Addison's Disease?, or something else?

Blago's ACT of 18 is no surprise .

Maguro said...

Hey, 800 is pretty good for South Carolina.

Anonymous said...

Now if we could only see... well.. anything of Obama's

Anonymous said...

What does "Psychology Test: BC" on his application mean? Beyond Crazy?

Anonymous said...

hat was when Ivy League schools had more to do with family connections than superior academics
if that is the case then why have they become a joke academically, whereas back then it was quite a challenging curricula, if you did graduate from an ivy league school, back then, you were educated.
now?
As for family connections- you still had to pass and study, and meet standards, the ivys just had set asides for their posterity, as our nation, should and doesn't

Anonymous said...

http://takimag.com/article/genomics_chinas_new_killer_app/print

Project Schwarz.

Anonymous said...

"Blago's ACT of 18 is no surprise ."

He got into Northwestern with that and graduated law school?

Steve Wood said...

I read about a decade ago that JFK had an IQ of 125. I don't have much faith in the methodology of intelligence testing of the dead but in this case it sounded plausible.

Was anyone claiming that JFK was a genius? 125 is pretty smart - probably (for example) FDR smart. That's plenty smart enough to to be President, especially when you have the good sense and connections to surround yourself with much smarter advisers.

Some people revere JFK and FDR; others loathe them. But both men were good AT BEING President, even if - in the opinion of some - they weren't very good Presidents. Whatever their failures may have been, they did not arise from stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James Douglas. There is no way that the CIA didn't kill him.

Truth said...

"the ivys just had set asides for their posterity, as our nation, should and doesn't"

So you're in favor of preferential treatment?

Anonymous said...

Was Kennedy's severe illness his Addison's Disease?, or something else?

The Addison's was definitely at the heart of his many problems. Even today, steroid replacement therapy to treat it is tricky, and we don't know all the answers. But before circa 1970? Endocrinologists might as well have been throwing darts at numbers on the wall for all the certainty they had with respect to what level of hydrocortical medication to give at any given stage of the disease. Kennedy's quacks, especially the infamous "Dr. Feelgood", were probably killing him with steroids as relentlessly on one front as the Addison's was on the other.

The best source for Kennedy's issues, and about Presidential medical history in general from Washington to Obama, is the inestimable Dr. "Zebra": http://www.doctorzebra.com/prez/index.htm

I've seen some speculation that even without Dallas, Kennedy's health was so fragile that there was a significant possibility that JFK would not have lived out his first term, and very little chance that he could have survived a second.

Anonymous said...

JFK put his ass on the line when he didn't have to. How about a little gd respect.

Dan in DC

Obama Hussain Obama said...

At the time the Democrats gushed about how handsome JFK was. They also went into rhapsodies about how smart his advisors were. They went on and on about his charm and his wit too.

It was not however an article of this particular faith that JFK was also a genius. I was taken for granted that he must have been smart because he had written a Pulitzer Prize book.

Of course we now know that he didn't write that or any other book. He hadn't introduced any legislation while he was a senator or ever held a serious executive position in private industry or the military.


That sounds like another very recent POTUS...

Kylie said...

"'the ivys just had set asides for their posterity, as our nation, should and doesn't'

So you're in favor of preferential treatment?"


For one's own ingroup, of course, Hank. You know, the way the Liberian constitution restricts citizenship to people of Negro descent and restricts land ownership to citizens.

ben tillman said...

So you're in favor of preferential treatment?

Everyone is.

Eric said...

if that is the case then why have they become a joke academically, whereas back then it was quite a challenging curricula, if you did graduate from an ivy league school, back then, you were educated.
now?


Why would you expect ivies to be immune from the general dumbing down of college curricula?

Udolpho.com said...

The entire Kennedy line is as degenerate as they come.

Anonymous said...

Troof:

JFK was an AA admit. Just an earlier generation of AA. Back then they were bloviating about the first Catholic president. Today it's the first black president. Tomorrow it'll be, I dunno, the first transgender president.

America will be super strong then of course, because it will be so DIVERSE.

Anonymous said...

My dad was an Air Force lawyer with Lindsey Graham. There's no way he got a combined 800 on his SAT--he was probably joking (i.e., "Of course I did get an 800 on my SAT...combined.") and the dumb reporter didn't get it. According to dad, Lindsey was plenty smart, but even back then he was extremely ambitious and already had political aspirations. He's not dumb; he's weird.

Anonymous said...

Steve, why don't you have a label for the recent posts about Goldberg? Why not a label for all posts relating to Jews. Makes them easier for your readers to find later.

Grumpy Old Man said...

I was never a great fan, but the guy served his country bravely when he didn't have to.

Anonymous said...

"That was when Ivy League schools had more to do with family connections than superior academics."

The exception was Radcliffe, the much smaller exclusive girls school affiliated with Harvard. Most of the students were from NE public high schools, and they were truly among the best of the best.

Anonymous said...

The easiest way to solve America's problems in the long term is to put a steeply progressive tax on the earnings of lawyers. Also, put a steep sales tax of all items, including groceries, which gets refunded to you with modest interest if you can prove you are a US citizen. Otherwise the state pockets it to "do good things."

Anonymous said...

"That was when [getting admitted to] Ivy League schools had more to do with family connections than superior academics."

The academic departments at Harvard have always been superior.

Anonymous said...

SAT scores might be very predictive on a group level, but it would be a mistake to heavily weigh a single SAT score for an individual... I'm involved in graduate admisions and it's *very* common for an individual's scores (GRE) to shift hundreds of points when taking the test twice or more...

helene edwards said...

I once knew a retired lawyer who'd been a Capitol page while attending a D.C. law school in 1958. He said that a barber in the Capitol barbershop once told him that Senator Kennedy would get a haircut and tip the barber a nickel.

Mr. Anon said...

"Dutch Boy said...

JFK had Addison's Disease, caused by a deficiency of hormones (chiefly cortisol) produced by the adrenal glands. They may have been damaged by the severe back injury he suffered when his PT boat was sunk in WW II. My mother was an RN and used to comment about his puffy-looking face, which is a side-effect of cortisone therapy."

His brother, Teddy, had the same puffy-looking face, but that was perhaps a side-effect of his Chivas Regal therapy.

Anonymous said...

JFK put his ass on the line when he didn't have to.

Huh???

Anonymous said...

Off topic:

The Genome's Dark Matter

http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/26963/

"Findings like these, taken together, could shed light on the missing-­heritability problem, but at the cost of upending the dominance of traditional Mendelian ideas about how inheritance works. Sitting on the outside deck of the Institute for Systems Biology one recent afternoon, munching on a sandwich as seaplanes descended toward the skyline of Seattle, Nadeau recalled giving a talk about all this at a conference several years ago and discovering afterward that a prominent Ivy League geneticist in attendance, whom he declined to name, simply couldn't get the heretical ideas out of his head. "He came up to me after the talk," Nadeau recalled, "and said, 'This can't be true in humans.' I ran into him at breakfast the next day and he said, 'This can't be true in humans.' And then when the meeting was over, I ran into him at the airport, and he came up to me and said, 'This can't be true in humans.' " Or as another leading genome scientist once told Nadeau at a meeting in Europe, "If transgenerational effects happen in humans, we're screwed."

and this:

"Even before publication in 2007, Nadeau began describing the findings—to decidedly mixed reviews. He says, "If they were geneticists, there were all sorts of technical [objections] or 'It's not fair to talk about this in public. This is just too complicating, too—it's too everything!' One even said, 'Are you trying to ruin genetics?' "

Anonymous said...

"In other news, the Democrats' favorite Republican Senator, Lindsay Graham, likes to boast of his 800 combined SAT score."

I'll grant you, Steve, that Graham's S.A.T. scores are atrocious; that said, he did score very highly on the College Board's long since discontinued "Advanced Placement: How To Dispel Accusations of Your Glaring Homosexuality" exam.

Lispin' Lindsay earned at least a 4, if not in fact a glittery, pink 5 on that one.

/seriously cannot believe that no one in the more socially conservative quarters of the center-right media establishment--for example, the otherwise useless Jim Demint-aligned CPAC types--has tried harder to oust this ol' RINO queen.

Anonymous said...

Lindsey Graham has an 800 SAT score - and it shows every time he advocates for amnesty.

Anonymous said...

So you're in favor of preferential treatment?

How about all groups have the right to practice ingroup favourtism or none do? Why is the concept of basic fairness so hard for you to grasp?

Anonymous said...

"So you're in favor of preferential treatment?

Everyone is."

Aw, no-one wants to play leftist ju-jitsu with Truth.

Gilbert Pinfold.

sabril said...

I wonder why the application is required to be hand-written and not typed.

Fred said...

"I was never a great fan, but the guy served his country bravely when he didn't have to."

Bravely, maybe. But also incompetently. He managed to get a tiny, speedy, patrol torpedo boat rammed and sunk by a larger and slower destroyer. Then his father got that spun into an act of heroism. The naval intelligence officer who wrote up the report on the sinking of Kennedy's boat was later put on the Supreme Court by Kennedy. Coincidence, or delayed payback?

Anonymous said...

The Genome's Dark Matter

Wow - fascinating article.

It's starting to sound as though clusters of genes - and interactions within clusters [and maybe even among clusters] - are much more important than single genes.

[And also that the parents' "learned behavior", in the proteins & the RNA, may be inheritable down through the gametes.]

The big implication for humans seems to be, "Family, family, family!!!" - i.e. marry into a good family.

PS: The mathematics then make the possibilities [beyond] astronomically complicated. There are only about 23,000 human genes, but there are

2 ^ 23,000

possible subsets [i.e. "clusters"] of those genes, and that's a number which is so large that we aren't even capable of contemplating it - for all intents and purposes, it might as well be positive infinity.

Anonymous said...

Bush senior got his plane shot down during WW2, was that incompetence as well? Gotta love people who didn't serve hating on the warrior of the past.

Truth said...

Kimura!

Anonymous said...

I doubt that Graham scored that low. He's probably saying that just to forge allegiance with the legions of low-scoring lunkheads in his state.

Fred said...

"Bush senior got his plane shot down during WW2, was that incompetence as well? Gotta love people who didn't serve hating on the warrior of the past."

Did he get it shot down by a much bigger, slower, and less maneuverable plan? JFK at least deserves credit for trying to save his men after he presided over getting their ship sunk. Bush bailed on his bomber, condemning his crew members to death, rather than attempting a crash landing at sea.

Anonymous said...

The Kennedy Dynasty is kaput. And since when in hell, anyway, did one generation a dynasty make?

John, Edward and Robert were all brothers. The 2nd generation consists of 2 former US House members, a former Maryland lieutenant governor who couldn't even get elected governor in liberal Maryland, of all places, a dead pilot/coke addict, and a dead babysitter boinker who died playing "ski football."

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia has this to say about George H.W. Bush's plane crash:

"During their attack, the Avengers encountered intense anti-aircraft fire; Bush's aircraft was hit by flak and his engine caught on fire. Despite his plane being on fire, Bush completed his attack and released bombs over his target, scoring several damaging hits. With his engine afire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft; the other man's parachute did not open."

Fred - I am not a fan of the Bush family at all, and perhaps Wikipedia's version is bollocks. But feel free to cite your claim that Bush abandoned his crew. Crash landing a plane on water is not necessarily safer than bailing out.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

The Kennedy Dynasty is kaput. And since when in hell, anyway, did one generation a dynasty make?

John, Edward and Robert were all brothers. The 2nd generation consists of 2 former US House members, a former Maryland lieutenant governor who couldn't even get elected governor in liberal Maryland, of all places, a dead pilot/coke addict, and a dead babysitter boinker who died playing "ski football.""

Yes, all true, but the dream will never die..........

Anonymous said...

Fred - Bush bailed on his bomber, condemning his crew members to death, rather than attempting a crash landing at sea.

Fred - why was it safer for Bush to bail out but safer for the other two guys to ride out a crash landing into the sea?

According to wikipedia all three bailed but one chute didnt open, the other guy didnt survive either.

How did Bush know his own chute was OK either?

Anonymous said...

"The Kennedy Dynasty is kaput. And since when in hell, anyway, did one generation a dynasty make?"

But the damage they did set our nation on an inexorable course for annihilation in the 21st century.

Truth said...

"According to wikipedia all three bailed but one chute didnt open, the other guy didnt survive either."

If any of this really happened of course. Georgie could have spent the war in the Captain's mess hall smoking cigars and drinking brandy. It would not be the first time history has been re-written for a man from a rich family. And it seems that there were no witnesses.

Mr. Anon said...

"Fred said...

Bush bailed on his bomber, condemning his crew members to death, rather than attempting a crash landing at sea."

Yeah, ditching an Avenger is a good plan. Just ask the survivors of Flight 19. Oh, that's right, there weren't any.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

If any of this really happened of course. Georgie could have spent the war in the Captain's mess hall smoking cigars and drinking brandy. It would not be the first time history has been re-written for a man from a rich family. And it seems that there were no witnesses."

Yeah, cause whitey is always a coward; only a black man can be a hero. That what you black guys really believe? Well, there certainly was a lot of heroism on display during hurricane Katrina or the LA riots. It takes a lot of guts to risk your neck drowning or getting shot just to boost a six-pack of beer.

Anonymous said...

Truth: It would not be the first time history has been re-written for a man from a rich family. And it seems that there were no witnesses.

Uh, Sport (as you seem to like to call people), there is that little matter of the cameraman on the USS FINBACK filming the fishing of Lt. Bush out of the water as it happened. Unless you think Prescott was a pioneer in the field of faked videos in the 1940s.

Half Sigma said...

SF: "He is a lawyer."

If true, then he got an 800 on the SAT because he walked out in the middle of the test, or something.

It's IMPOSSIBLE for an 800 SAT person to pass the bar exam. The bar exam is a g-loaded test.

The ability to pass the bar exam demonstrates above average intelligence. (Not genius intelligence, but above average intelligence.)

Truth said...

"Yeah, cause whitey is always a coward; only a black man can be a hero. That what you black guys really believe? Well, there certainly was a lot of heroism on display during hurricane Katrina or the LA riots."

Grasshopper, I'm really starting to believe you have major...major issues.

"Uh, Sport (as you seem to like to call people), there is that little matter of the cameraman on the USS FINBACK filming the fishing of Lt. Bush out of the water as it happened."

Oh you mean this footage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_ovbnRg4RE

20 seconds of an unrecognizable guy in a lifeboat being pulled onto a ship. How could I ever question that?

Svigor said...

It takes a lot of guts to risk your neck drowning or getting shot just to boost a six-pack of beer.

Ahem. I think it's clear some of us take our beer more seriously than others.