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President Kennedy Dedicates Robert Frost Library at Amherst College

Oct. 26, 1963 - President Kennedy issued an appeal to the nation today to recognize the contributions of men of spirit and insight as well those of action. The occasion was the dedication of the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College in Amherst, Mass. “The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the nation’s greatness,” Mr. Kennedy declared. “But the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested. For they determine whether we use power or power uses us.” “This,” he continued, “was the special significance of Robert Frost. He brought an unsparing instinct for reality to bear on the platitudes and pieties of society.” The President and Archibald MacLeish, the poet and playwright, spoke at a special convocation held in conjunction with the dedication of the new $3.5 million library in honor of the poet, who died last Jan. 29 at the age of 88. At the Amherst campus, the President was welcomed by Calvin Plimpton, college president, and John McCloy, chairman of the board of trustees. In his speech, Mr. Kennedy praised Frost, a personal friend in the closing years of the poet’s life, as “one of the granite figures of our time in America.” After the ceremonies, the President returned by jet to the Washington area, and he later joined his wife and children for the first weekend at their new home at Atoka, Virginia.

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