Harvard Dorm Room Reflects JFK

By Isabel Schooler
BU News Service

CAMBRIDGE — A pristine view of the Charles River through an ivy-covered wrought iron fence could certainly soften some of the stress of college. That’s the view that John Fitzgerald Kennedy saw throughout his senior year through windows of his Winthrop House suite at Harvard.

Although the suite has been renovated, it’s been decorated to look the way it might have when JFK lived there. Interior designer Dale Holman took about a year to do research and find the right accessories for the room that would reflect this research.

Kennedy lived in this suite during the academic year 1939-1940, his senior year at Harvard.

Holman felt very connected to this project on a personal level. “I’m part of his era…I was always a big fan of President Kennedy,” she says. Her late husband was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin when JFK came to campaign in the state. He was very involved in politics at the university and he ushered JFK around the state introducing him to people.

Holman’s husband has since passed away and she feels that recreating JFK’s room was her part in giving back.  “It is a wonderful walk through time,” she says. The furniture, paintings, and even the typewriter are almost exact replicas of what JFK had in his dorm room. Black and white photos of a college-age JFK also hang in the room.

“The day that we opened the room, Caroline Kennedy was there and she loved it,” says Holman. JFK’s daughter saw things from her father’s past that she was not aware of before that day because they had all been in an archive.

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