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Jan 8 2005

Rosemary Kennedy Dies

118rosemary.jpgRosemary Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy, died yesterday at the age of 86. While the "official" story is that she was born retarded, she very likely was only "shy and mentally limited - symptoms of what many suspect was dyslexia." She is shown here (looking awfully normal) in a 1938 photo with her mother Rose Kennedy four years prior to the "procedure" discussed below.

In her own diaries before the [procedure], she chronicled a life of tea dances, dress fittings, trips to Europe and a visit to the Roosevelt White House.

But as she got older, her father [Joseph Kennedy] worried his daughter's mild condition would lead her into situations that could damage the family's reputation.

So what is a good loving father and patriarch of a perfectly normal family to do? Why a frontal lobotomy of course! You know...just like the barbaric animals performed in Planet of the Apes or as was done to quiet the patients in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Doctors told Joseph Kennedy that a lobotomy, a medical procedure in which the frontal lobes of a patient's brain are scraped away, would help his daughter and calm her mood swings that the family found difficult to handle at home.
In Rosemary's case it was a disaster and left her permanently disabled, paralyzed on one side, incontinent and unable to speak coherently. She was never allowed to return home, but instead was spirited away to St. Coletta's School in Wisconsin.

As late as 1958 the family was maintaining the fiction that Rosemary had become a quasi nun in Wisconsin, content to renounce the glamorous world of her siblings to teach less fortunate children.

119kennedykids.jpgOn the right, the original Kennedy children, from left to right: Eunice, John, Joe Jr., Rosemary and Kathleen. It never fails, whenever I learn something new about the Kennedy family, I'm always disgusted. Perhaps though, this helps explain an origin of the Kennedy males' incredible disrespect for women and ambivalence for women's lives. The irony: Joe Kennedy worried that Rosemary's mild condition would somehow "damage the family's reputation." Instead, his disgusting actions serve to solidify the family's reputation in my mind.

Joe Has His Daughter Lobotomized
Kennedy Who Inspired Special Olympics Dies
ABC News retains (as of the time of this posting) the original not so politically correct headline on the same AP article which Yahoo also used but subsequently changed: Retarded Kennedy Sister Dies at 86

Posted by Don |


  1. #1
    letti said on January 8, 2005 | Reply

    omg what an outrage! we're doing lobotomies for "mild conditions" ??????

  2. What a bastard.

  3. #3
    UV said on January 9, 2005 | Reply

    I blogged about this, too.

  4. #4
    Pixy said on January 12, 2005 | Reply

    And I thought MY family is a bunch of arses!! I can not beleive that any parent would do this to his own child. Sending my kids for their appendixes was a huge deal to me. But having your childs BRAIN scrapped. There is NO WAY he did it out of love for his child!! How does one person become so obssesed with themselves and their image??

  5. #5
    greyhat said on January 12, 2005 | Reply

    It is Joe Kennedy's own fault Rosemary was acting out because she could not keep up with her brothers and sisters whom Joe pushed to compete against each other. Joe got Joe jr. killed because he felt he had to get a distinguished flying cross since John got a navy cross from his PT-109 incident. Any veteran can tell you going to war looking to get a medal will only get you a pine box. So Joe Sr. was worried about Rosemary disgracing the family? Joe did that all by himself womanizing behind Rose Kennedy's back. I'm surprised John, Bobby, and Ted, did not beat the hell out of Joe for what he did. I damn Joe Sr.'s memory and hope he is burning in hell for what he did to Rosemary.

  6. Greyhat, (January 12) has it wrong. Whatever other fault's Joe Sr. had, getting his oldest Son killed wasen't his fault. Joe Jr. VOLUNTEERED for his suicide mission in 1944 which resulted in his death. True, he did it to please his Father, but the old man was not there in England twisting the Son's arm. Joe Jr. VOLUNTEERED!

    Secondly, Joe Jr. did not get (nor even aspire to) a "Distinguished Flying Cross", nor did his younger brother (the late President) get a "Navy Cross". Joe Jr's Parent's received the "Navy Cross" on his behalf, after his being Killed-In-Action. The Navy Cross is the second highest Decoration ANY American Serviceman can receive after the "Congressional Medal Of Honor". President Kennedy received the "Navy-Marine Corps Medal" (A high Decoration), for the PT-109 incident, NOT the Navy Cross.

    And going to War looking for a Medal does not always get you a Pine Box. Bud Day of the US Air Force flew Combat Missions in Vietnam, Korea, WWII and received over 70 Medals, Decorations, Ribbons, Foreign Decorations....over 50 of them for Combat. Bud is still around as far as I know.

    The late Chesty Puller, Lieutenant General, (USMC) received 53 Medals, Decorations, Ribbons, Foreign Decorations for his actions in FOUR Wars, including FIVE NAVY CROSSES. No other Marine in American History ever received that number of Navy Crosses. None ever will! Chesty enlisted in the USMC in 1918, but WWI ended before he had a chance to enter Combat. After graduating from Marine Corps Training, "Chesty" was heard by an MP to exclaim: "NOW, all I need is a War".

    He didn't come back in a Pine Box. Wounded numerous times in Four Wars maybe, but he never returned in a Pine Box.

  7. #7
    Kathleen Bauer said on January 14, 2005 | Reply

    I find it sad and pathetic that the same Family that sentenced her to a life of incontinence, isolation, and lonliness could make the statement that her mental retardation (which was most likely DYSLEXIA) a powerful source of thier '' FAMILY'S COMMITMENT TO DO ALL WE CAN TO HELP ALL PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES LIVE FULL AND PRODUCTIVE LIVES." Her Father had her lobotomized---Is this how the Kennedy's help people live their lives to the fullest??? I'm not a Doctor, but I am pretty sure that Rosemary's life would have been much more productive without the labotomy-don't you agree?

  8. #8
    Don said on January 14, 2005 | Reply

    What is more sick is that they ship her off to Wisconsin to be warehoused. When, with all their vast wealth they could easily have afforded to provide her with the best care in the world in their own home or, at least, nearby. But, again, they were too worried about their reputation and the inconvenience of having a "retard" (of their own creation) around to bother them. And they can't blame it on their father because he died in 1969 and they could have easily brought her home to be near her family for the last 35+ years. And people look up to and respect the Kennedy family...I just don't get it.

  9. #9
    Archana Susarla said on February 6, 2005 | Reply

    i think youre right!!!! joe kennedy was very selfish and mean, not to mention arrogant. people with diabilities have feelings too. he was nothing more than someone who was book smart and i am thankful to god that i am not his kid.

  10. #10
    Tricia said on September 27, 2005 | Reply

    Look, none of us were there. None of us were in the room. We don't know what happened. However, doctors had dianosed Rosemary as being "retarded." Whether she was or not, a MEDICAL DOCTOR made a "PROFESSIONAL Diagnosis" What I mean to say was that at a time when doctors were promoting lobotamies, and when dylexia was confused with "retardation" you cannot simply blame a family, or a man. Sure, he ruled his family with an iron fist, however, none of us were there, so we don't know. Don't tell me you all are biographers, because chances are, you are conservative leaning, hate all Kennedys, or even anti-Catholic. (Yeah, I said it.)

    Bottom Line: Stop creating your own legend about the Kennedys. We weren't there. You aren't experts. Why the mud-flinging? Stop speculating.

  11. #11
    Don said on September 27, 2005 | Reply

    Using your own logic, were you were in the room for the doctors' diagnosis of retardation? I agree that certainly some blame lies with the doctors. After all, old Joe didn't perform the operation himself. However, I still place the blame on the Kennedy family for allowing a new, experimental, treatment involving scraping away parts of one's brain to be done in response to such a mild condition. But, the Kennedys were so worried about being embarrassed by one of their own who was mildly retarded (if that characterization even applies) that they were more than willing to risk a very dangerous procedure.

    The Kennedy family's utter disgustingness was forever confirmed by the fact that they whisked Rosemary off to St. Coletta's School in Wisconsin never to return. This is a family with near limitless resources which couldn't care for Rosemary at home? Or they just couldn't care? They could have easily afforded the best in home care or even started a group home near their own. Instead, they sent the retard off so she wouldn't be seen and wouldn't embarrass the family. They never brought Rosemary back after Joseph Kennedy died. There is no speculation here. They are all sick bastards, John, Robert, Ted, and the immoral enablers they married, the whole lot of them.

    Oh, and I'm not the least bit anti-Catholic...I married one and am raising one.

  12. #12
    archana susarla said on November 22, 2005 | Reply

    i agree- i said negative things about joe b/c of some of the several other things i read. but like 1 of you said, we were not there. there are only so many conclusions we can come to. however, his treatment of rosemary was unfair. joe WAS warned that the lobotomy would not work. but HE insisted on it. if there was a even slight chance of hurting his own kid, why would he take that risk. this is not a criticism but an observation. probably getting her help would have been more beneficial for the family and for her. she was not a disgrace, but someone to be proud of and someone whom we should all learn from.

  13. #13
    Stephen Parrott said on March 15, 2006 | Reply

    If you read Blacks book "The War Against the Weak"
    You may be suprised of the things we Americans have done in the past and present.
    Eugenics was and is still alive in this"modern "world.
    Hitler was not the sponsor of the only "solution".
    I was upset to hear a woman in Holland ,just recently ,proposing mass sterilizations of criminals and some ethnic peoples.
    This was on FOX news in Feb.2006
    God help us all.
    thoughts from the BULL

  14. #14
    Mike said on June 8, 2006 | Reply

    You know, some of you people really should read a history book now and then, and stop relying on Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken or any of the other right OR left wing howlers. Do your own research, and read both sides of the issue.

    Joe Kennedy might have been a lot of things, but a tyrannical, iron-fisted father he was not. True, he set high standards for his kids. But he did this because when he was growing up in Boston, the discrimination he faced because of his religious beliefs (sound familiar, Christian Coalition voters?) and his ethnic background. He decided to become more American than the WASPs that kept him out of their country clubs and banks and businesses by working harder and beating them at their own game. This work ethic is what he tried to instill in his children. His wife Rose instilled in them the idea that because they had been given so much by God, they were obligated to give back. I challenge any of you people to find one instance where one of his nine children described Joe Sr. as a tyrant. You can say a lot of things about that particular Kennedy family good and bad. But you can't say, if you've actually read an honest history about them, that they were a family that didn't love one another deeply and felt an intense loyalty to toward one another. They were an extremely tightly-knit family. Don't we wish families these days could be as close and loyal to one another as the Kennedy family? Their father pushed them to be successful and their mother pushed them to be people of strong faith.

    As for the charge that Joe Jr. died trying to please his father, Joe Sr. had been encouraging his son to take advantage of the fact that he had far exceeded his required number of missions and that he should return to the states. His crew had already returned. Joe Jr. chose to stay. Joe Sr. had come close to losing one son, Jack, and had another, Bobby, that was 17 and eager to enlist. Joe Jr. made his own decision, and part of that decision was based on the fact that he did indeed dream of being the first Irish Catholic President. It had been a dream of the Kennedy and Fitzgerald families since the bad old days in Boston when Irish Catholics were consigned to ghettos and treated worse than the slaves in the South. Joe wanted to be President, but because of the anti-Catholic bigotry of the time that kept Al Smith from the office, he backed off and let the dream pass to his sons.

    Regarding Rosemary, please don't make the error of taking the hard-won scientific knowledge of today for granted and wondering why people didn't know any better 60 years ago. The other day my 83-year old mother was telling me she had the planter's warts in her feet treated with X-rays back in the early 50's. Everybody did! Now think about that for a minute before you condemn old Joe Kennedy for listening to his doctors and following their advice back in the 30s. This is back in a time when MDs were on the radio pitching Camel cigarettes, for crying out loud.

    The claim that Rosemary was just a little slow and most likely suffering from dyslexia is hindsight with a vengeance and it is most likely inaccurate. Among Rosemary's bizarre, unpredictable, and sometimes aggressive behavior was a tendency to, as her sister described it "do the thing the priest says not to do." In other words, Rosemary's budding sexuality was getting harder and harder for her to understand and thereby control. She was becoming a compulsive masturbator, and was not always discrete about it. Would not you and the members of your family be a bit concerned if your sister was playing hide and seek with the turkey baster at a table of relatives and friends during Thanksgiving dinner, and when caught started running through the house screaming and throwing food?

    No, that didn't happen at a Kennedy Thanksgiving. But similar incidents did likely occur, and given the conservative religious convictions of the Kennedys, such behavior would have been of deep concern and worry. And yes, embarrassment. So how would your family handle it? Yes, I know. You'd call the booking agent for the Springer Show.

    We should all know enough about dyslexia and its causes and effects to know that one of the warning signs that Johnny might not be able to read isn't that he can't keep his hands out of his pants in the school library. That sort of compulsive behavior indicates a more serious disorder, and Rosemary's disorder was, I imagine, a bit more serious than dyslexia.

    An honest review of Rosemary's behavioral dysfunctions, and I don't mean a picture from 1938, would be a better way of understand Joe's, admittedly, flawed decision. Somewhere there's probably a picture of younger Charles Manson with a crew cut and a three-piece suit that belies the truth of the man's mental health.

    As for Joe Sir's decision, I find it horrible and I certainly wouldn't do what he did -- Today! Hate to be the bearer of bad new for all you hind-sighted Kennedy haters out there, but what old Joe did back then was the norm for dealing with mental health issues, and not just for the rich people who could afford it. The rich people put their loved ones into better facilities, of course. But the brothers and sisters of middle class and poor people ended up in state institutions. And failing that, they were usually locked up for the night somewhere in the house and not allowed to go out during the day. That was the norm back in those days when dealing with mental health issues. Think "Boo Radley" of "To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Better yet, just Think. Read a book. Better yet, read two books; one on each side of the argument. It's amazing what's you'll learn by hearing conflicting opinions. That's where the cool part comes in. You can then form your own opinions. Only this time they will be a cogent, well-formed, and educated opinions, quite unlike those expressed by the myopic, ill-informed windbags that precede this man's words.

    Anyway, here's a book that's got to be better than whatever the heck ya'll read to come up with what I just read. It seems to be a fairly honest, warts, and all, study of the Kennedy and Fitzgerald families that starts with them in Ireland and works its way up to the recent present. I am almost 50 years old, and I've read all that crap from one side about Camelot and the goody-goody Kennedys all the way through the hateful crap that claims outrageous claims like Bobby killed Monroe with the leash that belonged to his family's pet Labrador. This book seems to poke a lot of holes in both extremes. It runs right down the middle, where the truth is most often found. But I'll probably read another one later on, just to make sure.

    The Kennedys, by Robert Maier.

  15. #15
    Don said on June 8, 2006 | Reply


    Not a bad job. Defending the morality of the Kennedys is a difficult task but you did about as good a job as anybody can giving the subject matter you have to work with. Just a few problems though...

    First, with regard to Joseph Kennedy he was discriminated against, but only in that he wasn't able to mingle in the highest most wealthy good-old boys networks or join the elite country club of his choice. He had to join a second tier country club instead...the poor guy. Joseph was insulated from any real horrors that most people associate with "discrimination." His father Patrick was successful in the liquor business and was active and well connected in local democratic politics. Joseph grew up pampered and privileged and, though a below average student, the family's money and connections got him admitted to Harvard where other members of the Kennedy family previously attended. Oh, that we all could be such victims of discrimination.

    But you can't say...that they were a family that didn't love one another deeply and felt an intense loyalty to toward one another.

    Ummm, actually I can easily say this as I include ones wife in the term "family" to which one should love and be loyal to. Joseph was a profound public philanderer. He didn't even try to keep private his affairs with Gloria Swanson and other women which he publicly flaunted. I'll add that such womanizing is also not showing "love" or "loyalty" to one's children either. And, Joseph did well in instilling his sick twisted form of family values in his children. But, at least, John Kennedy didn't publicly flaunt his dalliances, although he likely exceeded his father in sheer volume.

    They were an extremely tightly-knit family.

    I guess I can assume you're still not including the spouses like Rose Fitzgerald and Jacqueline Bouvier in "family"? Rose actually left Joseph due to how he humiliated her with his public affairs. She went back to her father, John F. Fitzgerald, and told him she was leaving Joseph, but her father convenced her to suck it up and return to her family. John Fitzgerald was a powerful mayor of Boston. (The only thing I'm not sure of is the extent politics played in the decision of Joseph to marry Rose, or Rose's father to convince her to go back to what was a marriage in name only.)

    Don't we wish families these days could be as close and loyal to one another as the Kennedy family?

    You're kidding right? I know my wife doesn't want me emulate the Kennedy family's particular form of "close and loyal" as you put it.

    As for Joe, Jr. No one can dispute he was a hero volunteering for an incredibly dangerous mission which resulted in his death. I don't think anyone knows whether he volunteered to fulfill his father's dreams or his own. I hope the latter.

    Moving on to Rosemary, it is agreed that they didn't know then what we do now about lobotomies. But, that's part of the point. The surgical procedure of lobotomy was in its infancy and nobody knew much about it. It was at best a new risky procedure with only hoped for positive results. We may not have been landing spacecraft on Mars back then, but we knew what the brain was and that you don't just go around making cuts in it so as to avoid public embarrassment to family members. It was risky and Joseph Kennedy weighed the risks of cutting into someones brain versus his family being embarrassed and possibly affecting his all encompassing desire of attaining the presidency. It was a poor choice, even without hindsight, given the mild nature of Rosemary's condition. But, then, Joseph wasn't thinking just about Rosemary.

    what old Joe did back then was the norm for dealing with mental health issues

    This is objectively false. The first human lobotomy wasn't performed, or at least reported, until 1936. Rosemary's lobotomy was performed in 1941. It had not become "the norm" and the procedure had not yet become standardized or, otherwise perfected (if it ever was).

    Finally, after the procedure forever destroyed Rosemary, I am equally critical of how the Kennedy's treated Rosemary. And, it doesn't matter what the norm was in 1941 with regard to institutions because the Kennedy's had near unlimited wealth, opportunity and power, and they could have provided the world's best 24-hour care in the same home or nearby instead of shipping her off to to Wisconsin to be warehoused. Even if institutionalization was the norm, institutionalization half way across the country was not...unless your political aspirations were greater than the love for your daughter.

    So, coming full circle with regard to the Kennedy's being the shining light of "love" and "loyalty" for one's family. Putting aside the decision to perform the lobotomy, made out of ignorance, the way the family treated Rosemary afterwards does not, to me, exemplify love and loyalty. And the Kennedy family can't blame it all on Joseph because he died in 1969 and they could have easily brought Rosemary home to be near her family for the last 35+ years of her life...but, then who wants a retard living nearby.

    As to me and others being "myopic, ill-informed windbags" and other gratuitous ad hominem attacks you make, you would be better off not fawning over the Kennedy clan and reserving some of your criticisms for their Brobdingnagian* moral failures.

    [From Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Brobdingnag was the name of the land of giants. I liked your Boo Radley, To Kill a Mockingbird, reference. Disagree with the point you were making, but I liked the reference.]

  16. #16
    Rich said on August 27, 2006 | Reply

    I don't totally agree with Mike. As far as I am concerned, Old Joe Kennedy was an arrogant and unscrupulous man who was a tyrant. Yes, this man set high standards for his kids to the extent that he told them all that he didn't want any losers, or that finishing second in anything was tantamount to failure(If the Old Man had been alive when Grand Daughter Kathleen Kennedy Townsend had lost her bid for Congress in 86, and the Maryland Gubanatorial election in 02, he would have disowned her without a qualm!). Somehow, I don't consider that the act of a loving Father. On the contrary, I consider it the act of a cold-hearted SOB who could not give his kids credit for doing their best no matter how they fared. As for Kennedy's decision to authorize surgeons (They were actually butchers as far as I am concerned) to perform a lobotomy on Rosemary, it was an unmitigated DISASTER. Tell me Mike, did the Old Man ever visit Rosemary after the operation? No, he just washed his hands of her after locking her up in an institution, or was it a convent? And Rosemary's siblings also ignored her and did not visit her until after the Old Man kicked the bucket and deserved a well earned dirt nap. There was nothing admirable about a man who cheated on his wife, made a fortune as a bootlegger and said in so many words while serving as the American Ambassador to the Court of St. James that Nazi Germany would ultimately defeat Britain. For his many sins (Including the virtual destruction of his Daughter Rosemanry), The Old Man paid the price, AND WITH INTEREST WHEN HE SUFFERED A STROKE IN DEC61, and spent the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair, half-paralyzed and unable to speak. And before this sorry excuse for a human being died, he endured the deaths of not only Joe, Jr., but Kathleen, Jack and Bobby. May that old SOB rot in hell!

  17. #17
    RMM said on August 27, 2006 | Reply

    Myopic, Ill-informed windbags? Mike that was an in sulting and condescending remark to make! It would behoove you to agree to disagree agreeably.

  18. #18
    Helana said on February 11, 2007 | Reply

    Rich, as bold as your comments are, I must agree...Karma!

    It seems to be the case as often seen! Dirt poor families who strike it rich gain power through money to control what goes on around them. They still lack class. They tried to maintain their stance as up-and-standing conservative christians. The consciousness of true christians would not have allow them to live as liars...the Kennedys lied for years about Rosemary's whereabouts after they sent her away.

    After they lobotomized her brain, leaving her with a flat affect, they were too ashamed to risk the public's knowledge of the truth...They had a guilty conscious...they knew they had done something that the public would recognize as very unethical. Otherwise, they would not have hid the truth. If they had honestly believed that having the lobotomy was a genuine medical procedure for true retardation, they would not have played it off the way they did. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    Someone had the audacity to say that the Kennedys were a very close knit family...By the time JFKs kids were just old enough to drink beer they all flew off in separate directions. Next thing the Kennedy dynasty petered out. If they would have actually been that close knit, they would not have risen to aristocrat status and fallen from their pedestal within 2 generations. They blew the fortune their ancestors had made off the liquor still. By the time the stigma of the new money family was about to dissipate, they'd gone through their fortune, and their true colors were revealed.

    It's ironic, considering how inhumane they mangled a beautiful healthy girl, who could have had a husband, family, home, and, yes, a job of her own...They robbed of her of that. She might not have had a high IQ. She might not have become a lawyer; of course John, Jr. got into law school because of who he was. Of course, he flunked the bar 3 times. They certainly didn't ostracize him because he was too "retarded" to pass the bar exam.

    I'd have put money on it, had they not have removed part of her mind, she could have passed a driver's test and driven herself to a job of her own. She could have made a good wife and mother. She could have lived a life of livelihood. They stole that from her. God gave her a mind. It was not their place to take that from her. The philosophy I learned as a nurse is to focus on maintaining a person's health to their optimum potential, not stripping one's body and mind of what they have maintain their mental, social and emotional well-being. Back in the mid 1800s aristocratic families kept their perfectly normal kids at home and showed them off. Their not-so-perfect kids were sent off to a sanatorium, away from society because they regarded it as a social stigma. The Kennedy's were no different by Rosemary than the Puritans were back in the earlier century.

    Ironically, look what they've all gone through. Not one of them has come out smelling like a rose, except "Classy Jackie"...and I'm certain she felt like kicking herself in her own butt many times for having married into that bunch of sophistocated redneck idiots.

    It breaks my heart to know that man imposed such a deranged, twisted and inhuman cruelty on his own daughter.

    It is also ironic that Rosemary lived well into their 80's, and the rest of them died young.

  19. #19
    Francesca said on September 6, 2007 | Reply

    It's funny, Rose Kennedy looks like the special kid in that. IT's weird Rose and Joseph Kennedy had good looking kids; the couple was actually kinda homely. Rosemary just looks like a healthy happy kid in that. It is particularly disgusting for the Kennedy's to let that happen to their own family member, throw said family member away in a warehouse and then plug plug their reputation with the special olympics. It is proved very true in Joseph Kennedy Sr.'s case that Karma works like the mafia, through your family. And I thought the Bushes and the Clintons were creepy political families.

    I think an earlier poster is right that there probably was nothing wrong with Rosemary, she just snapped from Joseph sr.'s mental abuse. The fostering of competition between kids also explains why no one else would protect Rosemary or probably even visit her while she was institutionalized-all while Eunice Kennedy used Rosemary as a poster child for the special olympics. I guess this is why the Kennedy children seemed to lack compassion. Think of Ted Kennedy leaving Mary Jo Kopechne to drown.

    I guess I was lucky in comparison with my family.

  20. #20
    Mary said on September 15, 2007 | Reply

    What Joe Kennedy did was at the least callous and unfeeling. I will give him the benefit of the doubt on following the advice of 'doctors' who urged the surgery, but not on his treatment of his daughter after the operation.

    In my opinion, he so wanted to have a son become President of the United States that he was willing to sacrifice his oldest daughter to save the family image. So what if she was mildly retarded, dyslexic, or mentally unstable? Lots of us are, and still manage to live productive lives. I suspect depression, perhaps bipolar disorder. Maybe she just opted out of Joe's ambitions.

    I also condemn Rose, who could have stood up to him on the institutionalization, and certainly could have brought her daughter home after his death. Rose often gets a pass on this and other issues, but she chose to marry and stay with Joe because she had similar ambitions for her children, and she sacrificed her daughter to the Presidency too.

  21. #21
    s hammons said on December 13, 2007 | Reply

    maybe this was just a way to silence her from letting the cat out of the bag about sexual abuse?

  22. #22
    iamthewalrus said on November 1, 2008 | Reply

    It seems to come back to them over and over. The Kennedys do nasty things and nasty things happen to them constantly. Even their money cant fix the awful events that come because of their horrible behavior. Ted is paying the price as we speak. They may be rich but you know everyone of them is waiting for the next horrible thing to happen. Its kind of a hell on earth when you think about it. Its sad to think some people consider this family American Royals. They are dirty right down to their socks, but its all good cause they pay the price here on earth and later in death. Let em keep rolling in it.

  23. #23
    Fred Smith replied to William Urban on May 19, 2009 | Reply

    Now that you mention it, Chesty Puller and Joe Kennedy Sr. had alot in common. They both were high achievers and set high standards for their kids, and the kids went through some very tough times. It has been well publicized what the Kennedy's went through, not as many people know that Puller Jr. lost three limbs almost as soon as he got to Vietnam and suffered from terrible depression for years, until he committed suicide years later. Slightly different than his fathers years of wars with hardly an injury. The moral of the story is that it doesn't matter who your father was; if you spend your life trying to please your parents, you've got a tough row to ho, and people who take risks get hurt.

  24. If the American population only knew how evil most of the kennedy clan were they would be appalled. But in the end the evil ones got their do.

  25. #25
    Penelope said on August 11, 2009 | Reply

    Oh my god! What is wrong with you people? Rosemary was not the only person to whom this abomidable procedures was done. What idiots to try and speculate as to any ulterior motive held by this family. Like it or not, the Kennedy family has a long legacy of public service, and to undermined that with slack jawed speculation is just insulting. I don't know the Kennedy's, nor was I privy to their private lives. Who are we to speculate the whys and wherefores of this family. How selfish of anyone to publish such trash just so they can say something bad about someone. Grow up.

  26. #26
    sheery said on August 11, 2009 | Reply

    Very complicated subject. Who knows how Rosemary was behaving on a daily basis. She could have been dangerous to herself or others, we don't really know and never will. Also, back then, they just didn't have the meds to control behavior like they do now. I saw a documentary about lobotomies and the Dr. who "invented" the procedure. It was performed on people who were literally out of their minds and could not be controlled safely. They had no lives and many were living like animals through no fault of their own or others. The Dr. was not particularly proud of the procedure that kept people alive but reduced them to infants. Today the procedure seems barbaric and it was/is and of course has stopped. At the time it seemed humane applied to people who were not functioning normally, and of course it was abused and over applied no doubt and I don't condone it at all. Setting aside the family/power problems the Kennedys had, we should empathize with them on this tragic situation that no one deserves regardless of who they are. Just because they were rich and powerful and corrupt doesn't mean that they are not deserving of forgiveness and understanding. We just don't know what happened and times were different back then. The Kennedys for all their faults also helped a lot of people as well, so give them a break, nobody is perfect.

  27. #27
    Don said on August 11, 2009 | Reply

    To all you people defending the procedure, answer me this: why did they ship Rosemary off to Wisconsin if they so loved and cared for her so much? With all the Kennedy family wealth, power and influence they could have:

    1) provided the best in-home care that anyone in the world had ever received;

    2) built Rosemary her own home nearby with the best in-home care in the world;

    3) solicited donations from their wealthy friends and built the world's greatest institution nearby; or

    4) sent her to an existing institution in Massachusetts or a bordering state (Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York. Rhode Island, Vermont).

    The problem with all of these logical solutions is that the embarrassing retard they created would still be nearby spoiling the Camelot image of beauty, health and virility that was so important for their insatiable quest for wealth and power.

    And to those of you who blame mean old Joe Sr., why didn't the rest of the oh-so-loving family bring Rosemary home when Joe, Sr., had a stoke in 1961 or when he died in 1969? They didn't bring her home because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    To Penelope who said, "Rosemary was not the only person to whom this abomidable procedures was done." My research reveals it had only been done to 65 other people at the time. It was still a highly risky, experimental procedure with unknown outcomes, yet Old Joe was willing to risk it to tweak her slightly less than perfect behavior. What a guy!

    To sheery, I've never seen a third-party report (one that didn't originate from the lying Kennedys that said she was a danger to herself. As for their deserving forgiveness, maybe they could be forgiven if they had ever brought Rosemary home, but the family's continued complacency in the tragedy they inflicted on Rosemary prohibits forgiveness. Further, I'm not too included to forgive those who do not see the error of their ways and I haven't seen too many (any) Kennedy come clean on the family's treatment of Rosemary. Finally, as for the Kennedy's allegedly having "helped a lot of people," perhaps no other family has done more harm to this great nation than the Kennedy clan.

  28. #28
    Christian Seaborn replied to Mary on August 11, 2009 | Reply

    I am not attempting to "stand up" for any member of the Kennedy clan but just to make a historical point about why, maybe, Rose did not stand up to Joe Sr. It is very easy - in 2007, 2008, 2009 - to overlook the realities of women dealing with men in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Maybe it is true that Rose had the same ambitions for her children that Joe Sr. did. But from everything I have ever read about Rose Kennedy I am not sure that would be true. I suspect that being a woman, born in 1890, she largely conformed to the times that the man was the head of the household. I am not saying this was necessarily right. But it was the realities of the times in which they lived.

  29. #29
    wee replied to letti on August 11, 2009 | Reply

    omg this is so alful and I'm late reading this I admired the Kennedys so much. joe you were a real BASTARD I dont care if my child is retarded or mildly retarded I will keep her at home with her family to let her know that she is stilled loved.

  30. #30
    gamn said on August 11, 2009 | Reply

    Its the kennedy curse for the fathers greed in the scotch trade.Since the kennedies get paid for every bottle of scotch( that arfrangement was made during prohibition) that is imported into this country(yes thats how the kennedies made their fortune).
    A jinks of sorts has been placed on that family and will forever remain with them from generation to generation 2 presidentail assasinations,and a retarded sibling as well as countless other happenings i cant think of right now..

    Its all about the benjamins baby.....

  31. #31
    callie9 said on August 11, 2009 | Reply

    That beast of a "man" is surely getting what he deserves in the afterlife, or his reincarnation, or whatever one believe in..as a matter of fact- the entire Kennedy family is nothing but a bunch of self-centered, lying hypocrites- entwined with every foul person and theory known to man- J Kennedy was many things- and a good person is not, nor ever was, one of them.

    May they all rot in their own self-created hells.

  32. #32
    nsncy fortunato said on August 31, 2009 | Reply

    I agree with most of the comments what a horrible thing they allow to happen to Rosemary. A question I have always had is did the Kennedy family ever visit Rosemary at that school in Wisconsin?

  33. #33
    nancyfortunato said on September 2, 2009 | Reply

    I have always wondered did the Kennedy family visit Rosemary on a regular basis?

  34. #34
    Joseph Kennedy replied to s hammons on September 7, 2009 | Reply

    You are right sharp. The pattern certainly fits. A young beautiful girl who is unusually close and attached to her father (the profile of a young victim). The father secludes her in a nunnery at an early age though there is no evidence of retardation or disability. She becomes ''moody and confrontational'' in her early twenties. That is exactly the age when a victim of child sexual abuse begins to awaken to the evil done to them--and they are rightly pissed off. The father is personally threatened by her behavior--and likely by what she will let out. Certainly threatened enough to have a hack scoop out parts of her brain to shut her up.

    I believe granny Rose knows the full truth--and perhaps others in her family...though their ambitions were too dear to risk disclosure.

    Sadly, child sexual abuse is still rampant in the US and abroad. And the old practice of blaming the victim still thrives.

    Laws need to radically change to stamp this insidious threat to children. RIP Rosemary. Burn in Hell JPK.

  35. #35
    Sheril Mcfee replied to letti on December 3, 2009 | Reply

    And this is why the Kennedy's name have a curse on it.

  36. #36
    Bert said on December 27, 2009 | Reply

    Rosemary was a beautiful woman, by the pictures shown of her, I could not tell that she had mild retardation. It saddens me that the surgery she had destroyed her life. I agree with many of your comments about how wicked Joesph Sr. I know that Rosemary is in heaven now and she is in perfect now.

  37. #37
    Kristi said on January 6, 2010 | Reply

    As I see it, everything seemed to go downhill for the Kennedy Family after Rosemary had her lobotomy. It was Joe Kennedy's decision not God's to have this surgery done on Rosemary. I wonder why God let this surgery fail. Maybe God knows what Joe's intentions were. Joe had a history of sinning prior to her lobotomy. He was an unfaithful husband, imported illegal liquor, and didn't support England and the United States going to war against "Evil" Adolf Hitler. If England and the United States did nothing, Adolf Hitler would of ruled the whole world by 1950. The whole world would be united in facism and nazism. Adolf Hitler preached hate; he only wanted Caucasians and perfect people without disabilities living on this planet. You know what Joe Kennedy and Adolf Hitler, "God created everyone of us to be different and unique." Not everyone can swim well, not everyone can be president, lawyers, or rocket scientists, not everyone can walk, ski, play tennis and so forth. Everyone has a disability. Everyone has abiliites as well, I very much discovered that when I worked at a group home a few years ago. Some residents can cook, others can play the piano, others can draw, and so forth. I wish Joe Kennedy and Adolf Hitler could see that in people. Those two men only saw the negative in people with disabilities not the positive. These two men were both powerful but ignorant. There are negative consequences to being ignorant. Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt ignored Joe Kennedy's opinions. England continued fighting during World War II and the United states entered it on Dec. 7th 1941, three months after Rosemary's lobotomy. It took the United States and Britian another good three years to fight off Hitler, but he was defeated. I am very thankful that Hitler never got the chance to rule the world!!!!

    When Joe Kennedy died in 1969, four of his nine children were already dead, his last surviving son already let another person drown without reporting it the police for ten hours, and he himself was incapacitated the last eight years of his life after a stroke. All of these events listed happened after Rosemary's lobotomy in 1941. These are the reasons why I am saying that everything seemed to go downhill. Things sure went downhill for Joe Kennedy. Besides God, I also believe in karma. "What goes around comes around." I believe karma has hit Joe Kennedy really hard.

    Joe Kennedy is not the only Kennedy to blame for the "bad karma" coming his way. I think the whole Kennedy Family were responsible for other bad actions not listed above. Beginning with Rosemary, from 1941-1961, they all lied about her status. It is a mystery if she ever had an intellectual disability at all. They lied about JFK's health problems having Addison's Disease etc. I honestly think there were more people involved in JFK's and RFK's assassinations. Officials stated that there were two lone gun men for both assassinations. The Kennedy's were allies with the mob. The FBI knew about Rosemary and some other Kennedy dirty secrets. The CIA also knew some of the bad things that the Kennedys were doing as well. I think either the mob, the CIA, the FBI or all three could of worked together behind the Kennedy Family's back to get those two brothers killed. Ted Kennedy did not give the public a clear explanation to why he waited so long to tell police about his accident on Chappaquiddick. "Bad karma" has hit all of the Kennedys.

    As for Rosemary, I believe she did suffer. She suffered for not being what her father wanted of her and not being like the other siblings. I think she suffered even more after her lobotomy. Rosemary lived at St. Coletta's School, a catholic institution, located in Jefferson WI, far away from her family. There is a St. Coletta's School in Massachusetts, why didn't the Kennedy Family put her there? After the lobotomy, Rosemary lost much of her independence that she once had. She required 24 hour care, she couldn't go to the bathroom on her own, get dressed on her own, eat on her own, etc. The nuns at St. Coletta had to help her. I read all of this in Lawrence Leamer's book, "The Kennedy Women" and interviews from Anthony Shriver, who started "Best Buddies." Rosemary must have felt miserable after the lobotomy. She must have! She was indeed the victim of this family. I am sure she had no problems getting into heaven after all she has been through. There might be problems for the rest of the Kennedy Family. Only God knows!

  38. #38
    Kristi replied to Joseph Kennedy on January 19, 2010 | Reply

    I am here to respond to Joseph Kennedy replied to s hammons Sept. 7, 2007, post. I doubt that Rosemary was ever sexually abused. If she was, I think Joe Kennedy would of done it to his other four daughters as well. Well, at least Eunice, Pat, and Jean married and had children of their own. In JFK Reckless Youth, by Nigel Hamilton, written in 1992, stated that she was sexually abused. There are other things in the book that the Kennedys are claiming that is not true. Eunice, Pat, Jean, and Ted wrote an editorial to the New York Times in Dec. 1992, saying that this book had inaccurate information about their family.

    This is in response to nancyfortunato. Red "True Compass" and "Times to Remember", Ted and Rose Kennedy's memoirs. Rose wrote that the family visited Rosemary often, Eunice once every six weeks, and the others every few months. Ted wrote that Rosemary often visited her family in Hyannis Port, Palm Beach, Eunice and Jean's homes. In Laurence Leamer's "Kennedy Women", there is a picture of Rosemary swimming with Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver, in Palm Beach. There is evidence that the Kennedy Family has seen Rosemary after her lobotomy.

  39. #39
    Diane said on April 24, 2010 | Reply

    I always thought that Rosemary was sexually abused by her dad.What a disgrace that man was. He slept with his niece, that has been established. The operation was to silence her like Rose Williams, Tennessee Williams abused sister.

  40. #40
    Ted Gibbons said on May 28, 2010 | Reply

    Are the Kennedy's considered the American Royal family because they lack the mental and moral qualities that make up the average American family.

  41. #41
    Madeline said on October 4, 2010 | Reply

    I agree that some actions Joe kennedy did in life were cruel, but you cannot damn his descendants for the sins of the father.

    With that being said, no one deserves to see two of their children being assassinated.

  42. #42
    arlenekucan said on October 7, 2010 | Reply

    The Kennedy family should have hired a private nurse to care for Rosemary. The house was large enough; or they could have built an adjacent cottage. With all their money, they chose to place her in a vaulted life, so they could continue on with their novel lifestyle. Joe Kennedy could not live with any imperfection. In the end of his life, after his stroke, that was all he had IMPERFECTION.

  43. #43
    Don replied to Madeline on October 7, 2010 | Reply

    Nice try saying "you cannot damn [Joe Kennedy's] descendants for the sins of the father." Joe Kennedy died in 1969! The family could have easily brought home their little embarrassment and afforded to provide her the best 24-hour care in the world while surrounded by her loving family for the last 35+ years. One small problem, she didn't have a loving family. It was far more convenient to keep her locked up in Wisconsin far from their privileged lives in the Northeast. Out of sight, out of mind!

    The sins of the father became the sins of his children!

  44. #44
    john said on July 10, 2011 | Reply

    I come from Ireland where the Kennedy clan originated and child sexual abuse has been huge here . I saw a suggestion on Yahoo Answers that Joe sent his wife and other daughters home from England in 1939 but kept Rosemary with him? Why?
    In our history people were very poor and often had large 14-16 children families in one roomed houses and I guess this might have been the origin of sexual abuse in our society. It seems to have been very widespread with even recently the Sinn Fein leader admitting his own father sexually abused his siblings and his own brother sexually abused his daughter in turn.
    My point is could Joe have interfered with Rosemary to precipitate her schizophrenia?????????????

  45. #45
    Girlygirl90 replied to Pixy on August 3, 2011 | Reply

    I agree I saw the series called the kennedys and I didnt know much about them and they have a crazy life and many sad things that happened to them

  46. #46
    Rose Mary Pfeifer said on January 7, 2013 | Reply

    Poor Rosemary somehow she made it; and isn't ironic that Joe Kennedy died the same way he forced Rosemary to live. Who said, what goes around comes around. The most fabulous words are so true; no one leaves this world unflinched to Paying the Piper.

  47. #47
    e.h. replied to s hammons on November 30, 2013 | Reply

    This is what I suspect. Nothing else makes sense. Her supposed 'acting out' sexually and otherwise, makes me think old Joe, Sr. was protecting himself by cutting out her brain. This could also explain her rage toward her mother -- the one who's maternal instincts should have kicked in to protect her. Even Jack railed about her coldness as a mother. This was/is a sick, sad family.

  48. #48
    mytwocents said on July 30, 2015 | Reply

    It horrifies me that anyone can even try to justify a person that openly had affairs with other women, obviously taught his sons this by example, and took the word of a doctor that "scraping" his daughters brains would help her in some way. I don't care what my child's issue, there is no way on this earth I would let someone "scrape their brains". In fact, I can barely type those words! It's disgusting how women have been treated by some. Thank God things have changed and continue to. You know, I didn't think Caitlin Jenner was a hero, until just now. HUMAN DECENCY and RESPECT... the actions of this man do not reflect these values. Cut it any way you like, there or not there... these are not the actions of a loving father or husband. Not being able to fill in the details because we weren't there is irrelevant!

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