Online Collection

"Will America Elect a Catholic President?" anti-Catholic pamphlet

Object Number: 2002.038.0001
Category: Documents
Author: Don Hillis
Publisher: H.M. Hillis
Type of Object: Pamphlet
Date: 1960
Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 9 in. (14 x 22.9 cm)
Medium: Paper
Description
One political pamphlet, issued during the 1960 presidential campaign, titled "Will America Elect a Catholic President?", about John F. Kennedy's Catholic faith. Authored by Don Hillis and published by H. M. Hillis. The brochure is anti-Catholic and summarizes the issues that America may confront if Kennedy were elected.

The cover of the brochure has a color background of an American flag, with a sketch of a drawn curtain, and blue text that reads: "Will AMERICA Elect a CATHOLIC President?" The text throughout is blue.

The back cover has the publishing information printed at the bottom:
"QUANTITIES of this tract may be secured for 80 cents per hundred from H. M. Hillis, 602 Fairmont, Glendale 3, Calif."
Curator's Notes

Prior to 1960, the only major party Catholic candidate to run for president was Democrat Al Smith, who was soundly defeated in 1928. John F. Kennedy's Catholicism, at a time when anti-Catholic prejudice was still a part of mainstream American thought, became a major issue during the 1960 campaign. The primary concern was that Kennedy's religion would enable the Vatican in Rome to exert undue influence on the United States. Kennedy ultimately addressed the issue head-on in a September 12, 1960, speech before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. Although Vice President Nixon never attacked Kennedy's religion, pamphlets like this one were widely distributed by citizen groups across the United States who opposed having a Catholic president. - Stephen Fagin, Curator

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