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Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Resigns from White House, Will Write Book on JFK

Jan. 28, 1964 - Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (pictured in 1961) has resigned as special assistant to the President. He plans to write a book about the Kennedy Administration. The 46-year-old historian and former Harvard professor is the second close adviser to President Kennedy to leave President Johnson. Theodore Sorenson resigned as special counsel to the President 12 days ago, also to write a book about his White House years. Mr. Sorenson will depart Feb. 29. Mr. Schlesinger’s resignation is effective March 1.

Mr. Schlesinger said today that he resolved even before President Kennedy’s assassination that “the time had come for me to return to scholarly work,” although President Johnson had urged him to stay on. “I cannot depart without assuring you of my admiration for your wise and strong leadership in these shadowed weeks since Nov. 22,” Mr. Schlesinger wrote to President Johnson in his resignation letter. “You have fully identified yourself with the liberal and progressive ideals of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.”

Mr. Johnson replied that he accepted the resignation “with much regret.” “I know the academic world will be the richer for your return,” he continued, “but the White House will not be quite the same without you. We shall miss the fresh insights of your scholarship and the liberality of your spirit.” Mr. Schlesinger joined the Kennedy staff in July of 1960. His historical work, “The Age of Jackson,” won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1945. He is also at work on “The Age of Roosevelt,” three volumes of which have appeared.


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