“When you’re President of the United States, you don’t make many new friends, and I’m not giving up the old.”

This week, we’re sharing stories of ‪#‎LGBTQ‬ history in our holdings. On Saturday, join us online for our second National Conversation, held in Chicago, on LGBTQ human and civil rights:

John F. Kennedy met Kirk LeMoyne “Lem” Billings at Choate prep school in 1933. They started the ‘Muckers Club’ to organize Choate’s pranksters, and were almost expelled when the headmaster heard about the Muckers’ plans to treat the school gym to a pile of horse manure. JFK also learned that Lem was gay shortly after they met.

In 1937, JFK and Lem travelled to Europe together. Possibly most adorable part of their European adventure was their adoption of Dunker, a dachshund puppy they met near Nuremburg.

In the 1940s, JFK enlisted in the Navy and Lem joined the Naval Reserve; they kept up their friendship through letters.

The two stayed friends throughout JFK’s rise to the Presidency, a risky decision. In the 1960s, gay Americans faced institutionalized discrimination, especially in government and politics, and this could spell the end of civil service for gay individuals and people associated with them.

As his political career progressed, JFK continued to rely on Lem’s help and friendship. As JFK put it: “When you’re President of the United States, you don’t make many new friends, and I’m not giving up the old.”

Text and image via John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum


A pair of before and after photos from the infamous Carlisle Indian boarding school. This group shot shows the children of Apache leaders who were imprisoned in Florida after surrendering to General Miles in 1886. These didactic photos were meant to show the “positive” outcomes of the US policies of Indian removal and forced assimilation.

Biographical notes on some of these children can be found in the book “From Fort Marion to Fort Sill: A Documentary History of the Chiricahua Apache Prisoners of War, 1886-1913”. A not insignificant number of the Apache children taken to Carlisle at this time–about 100 from Fort Marion–died of TB and other diseases; a few children in this photo never returned home and were buried at Carlisle. Hugh Chee, on the other hand, was among those pictured here who lived a long life.

“Chiricahua Apaches as they arrived at Carlisle from Fort Marion, Florida, November 4th., 1886”, Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania
Photographer: J.H. Choate
Date: 1886
Negative Number 002113

“Chiricahua Apaches Four Months After Arriving at Carlisle”, Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania
Photographer: J.H. Choate
Date: 1886
Negative Number 002112

Dear child(ren),

We’d planned to wait and be surprised on the day you arrive by whether or not you are a boy or a girl, but Papa wants a grandson, and we wanted to be able to tell him if you do happen to be a boy. And so today we found out that indeed you are.

We drove to Judsonia and told Papa, who perked up at the news. He’s got granddaughters, whom he loves very much, but none of them share his last name. I think he’s excited the Choate name will live on through you. 


Little Rock, Arkansas. 1.31.2017.

Jack and a classmate goof for the camera as they dance on the Choate School grounds, circa 1933-1934

Jack has done better work as the year has gone on. He stills falls down badly on the mechanics of writing: his expression is apt to be vague and wrongly worded. I have disliked his casualness in study which has kept Jack from getting honor grades, but his intelligent interest has made it a pleasure to work with him.” - Report from the Choate School on Jack’s performance in history class during the fourth quarter.


Savage Model 10

A heavily modified example with an aftermarket Choate Tactical stock, E.R Shaw heavy bull barrel and a PT&G fluted bolt body. This particular rifle is chambered in .308 Winchester. Overall its a nice setup but I have my doubts about the seller’s claim that it was built at or by the USMC Sniper Program in Quantico. Paperwork would be nice to verify the origin. (GRH)

Dear child(ren),

I began seeing a therapist when I was 22 years old as a way to process some stresses I was experiencing at the time. And truth be told, it wasn’t so much that I wanted to go as Papa wanted me to go. But, it turned out that I loved having someone to talk to about the things I didn’t think anyone else cared about. She helped me understand that I was so loyal to each of my newly divorced parents that I learned to compartmentalize the lives I was creating with each of them for fear that I would hurt one of their feelings. I didn’t talk to one about the other because I didn’t know how they would react. And because they were both such a big part of my life, the pressure to compartmentalize became harder and harder.

I have a theory that the stress of keeping things separate–which is to say private–eventually got to me and it caused me to want to divulge everything to everyone. And that’s part of why I post photos of my everyday life. And that’s why I feel compelled to share things most folks might keep to themselves. Divulging everything is how I’ve learned to cope with life.

I no longer have to compartmentalize my life, but it still gives me a unique sense of relaxation to have all my former compartments in the same room.


Judsonia, Arkansas. 1.28.2017.

When Charles was at high school, he went to Choate (which is now known as Choate Rosemary Hall). Assuming that Charles is a bit older than Hawkeye, I’d say he was born in 1917, which would make him 33 in 1950. If he was born in 1917, then he would have graduated from Choate in 1935. Do you know what that means?

Charles Emerson Winchester III went to school with John F. Kennedy (who was a complete trouble maker and blew up a toilet with fireworks). Could you imagine how annoyed he would’ve been when JFK became president?


Sage International EBR

Springfield Armory M1A, possibly a Loaded model due to the stainless steel barrel, inside of a Sage International EBR chassis. Has the older style pistol grip which I believe was made by Choate, but current EBR’s use an Ergo grip. Although the EBR chassis provides some modern day bonuses over the original M14 style stock, it adds a bit of weight and complexity to the cleaning process. (GRH)