Public Program, Author Talk

The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty

Neal Thompson

Monday, February 28, 2022, 6:00PM - 7:00PM

This is a hybrid event. The in-person reception starts at 5:30 and the program will began at 6:00. Register for how you plan to attend below. 

Register to attend online

Register to attend in person


Today, we remember this iconic American family as the vanguard of wealth, power, and style rather than as descendants of poor immigrants. Neal Thompson introduces us to the first American Kennedys, Patrick and Bridget, who arrived as thousands of others did following the Great Famine—penniless and hungry. Less than a decade after their marriage in Boston, Patrick’s sudden death left Bridget to raise their children single-handedly. Her rise from housemaid to shop owner in the face of rampant poverty and discrimination kept her family intact, allowing her only son P. J. to become the first American Kennedy elected to public office—the first of many. Written by the grandson of an Irish immigrant couple and based on the first-ever access to P. J. Kennedy’s private papers, The First Kennedys is a story of sacrifice and survival, resistance and reinvention. 

Hybrid Event

The in-person reception starts at 5:30 and the program will begin at 6:00.

The MHS maintains a high standard of COVID protection. We require all people entering our building to wear a face mask and provide proof of vaccination. As of 1 February 2022, this includes receiving an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccination along with a follow-up booster. Learn more about our COVID-19 protocols.


The virtual program begins at 6:00 PM and will be hosted on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive a confirmation message with attendance information.