100 Years Ago This Week: The Wedding of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose F. Fitzgerald

The Kennedys on their wedding day, Oct. 7, 1914The Kennedys on their wedding day, Oct. 7, 1914A century ago this week, most Boston newspapers of the day reported on page one of the wedding of Rose F. Fitzgerald, daughter of ex-Mayor John F. Fitzgerald to Joseph P. Kennedy. The ceremony took place on Wednesday morning, October 7, 1914 with Cardinal O’Connell officiating in the chapel of his residence at 25 Granby Street in the Kenmore Square section of Boston.

Both parents of the couple witnessed the ceremony. Ms. Agnes Fitzgerald served as maid of honor for the bride, 24 at the time and another sister, Eunice looked on. Serving as best man for the groom was Joseph Donovan, a close friend and Harvard classmate. Following the ceremony, the couple posed for photos for newsmen who gathered outside the Cardinal’s residence. The couple smiled heartily for the occasion and then returned to the Fitzgerald family home at Welles Avenue in Dorchester for a reception.

The story of the romance of the couple was well told in the bride’s autobiography ‘Times To Remember’, published in 1974. The two first met at Old Orchard Beach in Maine, vacationing as children. They met again as teenagers and romance quickly blossomed into dating and getting engaged a year before the wedding. Upon getting engaged, the couple prepared for their new life. The groom purchased the wood frame home at 83 Beales Street in Brookline a month before the wedding. Here they returned to from a honeymoon of two weeks at White Sulfphur Springs in Virginia.

From this union would come nine children, four of whom were initially raised at 83 Beales Street (Joseph, 1915, John in 1917, Rosemary in 1918 and Kathleen in 1920). In early 1921, needing more space, the family moved nearby to a larger house at 131 Naples Road. Three more babies were born here (Eunice in 1921, Patricia in 1924 and Robert in 1925). Shortly thereafter, the family moved to New York. Jean was born in 1928 and Ted in 1932.

The couple certainly witnessed many tragedies in the family. Almost a year after President Kennedy’s assassination, Rose and Joe quietly celebrated the 50th anniversary of their wedding on October 7, 1964. Three of the nine were deceased. The marriage ended with the passing of Joe on November 18, 1969 in Hyannis. He was 81. Rose would live on for another twenty five years. The centennial of her birthday on July 22, 1990 brought together the Kennedy clan for a happy family reunion in Hyannis. Rose passed away on January 18, 1995 at the grand old age of 104. The couple are buried in the Kennedy family plot at Holyhood Cemetery.