By Madison Butkus
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Sponsored by the Tewksbury Public Library, the Needham Free Public Library (NFPL) shared an online event titled “White House By The Sea – A Century of Kennedys At Hyannis Port.” Author of this book, Kate Storey, discussed the content within as well as her writing process.
Storey is currently the senior features editor at Rolling Stone. She was first interested by the Kennedy’s once she wrote an article about John F. Kennedy Jr. for the Esquire. Upon writing this article, she was approached by a publisher who wanted a book written about the Kennedy’s during their time in Hyannis Port.
At first, Storey was not sure if she would be the right person to write this kind of book, but she did realize right away it was definitely the type of book she would want to read. In order to see if this was in fact the right fit for her, Storey spent some time in the area of Hyannis Port during the fall of 2019.
She quickly understood her deep interest for the topic and for the Kennedy family and signed the book deal in March of 2020. Writing through the pandemic did not come as an easy task, but she was able to speak with dozens of members of the Kennedy family, including Max Kennedy. Since sailing is such an important part of their family, Max responded to Storey’s email stating that he would only talk with her if she went out on the sailboat, which is exactly what she did.
Not only did Storey speak with members of the family, but she also spoke with neighbors, friends, people that worked for the family, and so on. Altogether, Storey went on to interview 130 people for this book.
Since the book covers over 100 years of stories, Storey knew she needed more context of those early years so she really had to dig deep into the archives that were available throughout Cape Cod. The research overall had higher hurdles than she was initially expecting, especially through the pandemic, but it was all completely worth it in the end.
Throughout her presentation, Storey showed photos of the different eras of the Kennedy’s during their time in Hyannis Port. Starting from the 1920’s and ending to the present day, each photo she explained about in detail, including who was in the photo, where it was taken, and the significance behind it.
In her own words, Storey describes the meaning of the book, “To me, the book is about the Kennedy’s ofcourse, but it’s really, more than anything else, it’s a book about a place and a book about community. So for every Kennedy story that I was told or that I found, I made sure that I did the research to understand what was happening across Cape Cod but specifically in Hyannis and Hyannis Port to give the stories context.”
For more information about where to purchase/read this book, please visit the Needham Free Public Library.