The Women's Vote

It has been said that the older women wanted to mother him and the younger ones wanted to marry him, a thought I find more than reasonable. However, for his youthful and manly charm to be effective, they had to meet him. -Mrs. Kennedy, Times to Remember

Held all over Massachusetts, Kennedy Teas encouraged women to become involved in a political campaign for the first time. Even though women won the right to vote in 1920, John F. Kennedy was the first candidate who specifically worked to win over female constituents. The “Kennedy Teas” hosted by Mrs. Kennedy were essential to this effort. For many women whose lives’ revolved around the home,

A women looks at a photograph of a receiving line from a Kennedy campaign tea.
A visitor looks at historic photographs of the Kennedy campaign teas from JFK's 1952 Senatorial campaign.

husband and children, receiving an engraved invitation giving them the opportunity to dress in their finest and attend high tea with the well-known Mrs. Kennedy was thrilling. Held in fancy hotel ballrooms, women were greeted with tea tables set with fine china and silver. Not only did the women nibble on cookies and tea while socializing with one another, but they listened to speeches by Mrs. Kennedy and her relatively unknown son. The highlight of the tea was a receiving line in which every woman in attendance had a chance to personally meet the candidate and his mother, thereby cementing their loyalty to the Kennedy cause. Read more about Mrs. Rose F. Kennedy.

Pattern from parlor drapes in the JFK birthplace
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Photos on this page by Joel Veak. Courtesy of NPS, John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site.

Last updated: May 25, 2019

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