Joseph Esposito, Author of Dinner in Camelot: The Night America’s Greatest Scientists, Writers, and Scholars Partied at the Kennedy White House
In April 1962, the Kennedys hosted 49 Nobel Prize winners, along with many other prominent scientists, artists and writers, at a White House dinner. Among the guests were: J. Robert Oppenheimer, who was officially welcomed back to Washington, D.C. after a stint in the political wilderness; Linus Pauling, who had picketed the White House that very afternoon; William and Rose Styron, who began a 50-year friendship with the Kennedy family that night; James Baldwin, who would later discuss civil rights with Attorney General Robert Kennedy; Mary Welsh Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway's widow, who sat next to the president and grilled him on his policy in Cuba; John Glenn, who had recently orbited the Earth aboard Friendship 7; and historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., who argued with Ava Pauling at dinner. Held at the height of the Cold War, the dinner symbolized a time when intellectuals were esteemed, divergent viewpoints could be respectfully discussed at the highest level and the great minds of an age might all dine together in the rarefied glamour of "The People's House."
Location: 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program MLF: Humanities Program organizer: George Hammond
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