Richard J. Daley in the Oval Office

After John F. Kennedy was sworn in, one of his first actions as president was to invite his friend, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, and Daley’s family for a visit.

William Daley, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, President John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Daley, Patricia Daley, John Daley, Mary Carol Daley, Eleanor R. Daley, and Michael Daley in the White House, 1961.

William Daley, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, President John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Daley, Patricia Daley, John Daley, Mary Carol Daley, Eleanor R. Daley, and Michael Daley in the White House, 1961. RJD_04_01_0047_0016_004

Daley’s eldest son, Richard M. Daley, who later also served as Chicago’s mayor (1989-2011) could not attend. He had to stay at college to take a biology exam. His father had told him “You have an exam and that’s your responsibility.” Richard M. reflects further:

He always thought education should be the highest priority. Nothing else should be more important. In government, it was always education….If you solved the education crisis, you solved all of the social ills.

This excerpt comes from Richard M. Daley’s oral history interview (PDF) for this online exhibit.