Kennedy, Rosemary (1918—)

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Kennedy, Rosemary (1918—)

American daughter of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Born in 1918; third child and eldest daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy (1888–1969, a financier, diplomat, and head of several government commissions) and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890–1995); briefly attended public school in Brookline, Massachusetts; also attended private schools; never married; no children.

Born during the 1918 flu epidemic, Rosemary Kennedy was the third child and eldest daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy . Rose noted that she was a sweet, peaceful baby, her pride and joy after the birth of two sons. Although healthy, Rosemary was slow in developing and by the end of first grade was diagnosed as mentally disabled. Rose Kennedy chose to keep Rosemary at home rather than send her away, and she carefully supervised her education and saw to it that she was involved in all family activities. In 1941, however, Rosemary began to display disquieting symptoms; she regressed in mental skills and her good nature gave way to frequent tantrums and convulsive episodes. At the suggestion of medical specialists, she was lobotomized, a common procedure at the time for controlling behavior. The operation left her in a childlike state. Rosemary never recovered her ability to function on her own and has spent her adult life, over 50 years, at the St. Coletta School in Jefferson, Wisconsin.


Kennedy, Rose Fitzgerald. Times to Remember. Garden City NY: Doubleday, 1974.

Leamer, Laurence. The Kennedy Women. Villard, 1994.

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Kennedy, Rosemary (1918—)

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