John Steinbeck awarded the Medal of Freedom

John Steinbeck awarded the Medal of Freedom

Writer John Steinbeck was presented the U.S. Steinbeck had already received numerous other honors and awards for his writing, including the 1962 Nobel Prize and a 1939 Pulitzer Prize for Grapes of Wrath.

Steinbeck, a native Californian, studied writing intermittently at Stanford between 1920 and 1925 but never graduated. He moved to New York and worked as a manual laborer and journalist while writing his first two novels, which were not successful. He married in 1930 and moved back to California with his wife. His father, a government official in Salinas County, gave the couple a house to live in while Steinbeck continued writing.

His first novel, Tortilla Flat, about the comic antics of several rootless drifters who share a house in California, was published in 1935. The novel became a financial success.

Steinbeck’s next works, In Dubious Battle and Of Mice and Men, were both successful, and in 1938 his masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath was published. The novel, about the struggles of an Oklahoma family who lose their farm and become fruit pickers in California, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1939.

After World War II, Steinbeck’s work became more sentimental in such novels as Cannery Row and The Pearl. He also wrote several successful films, including Forgotten Village (1941) and Viva Zapata (1952). He became interested in marine biology and published a nonfiction book, The Sea of Cortez, in 1941. His travel memoir, Travels with Charlie, describes his trek across the United States in a camper. Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in 1962 and died in New York in 1968.

READ MORE: The Presidential Medal of Freedom Began as a World War II Honor


John Steinbeck: A Brief Chronology

1902 --On February 27, John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California. He was the third of four children and the only son of John Ernst II and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. He spent his childhood and adolescence in the Salinas Valley, later called "the salad bowl of the nation."

1915-19 --Attended Salinas High School.

1919-25 --Attended classes at Stanford University, leaving without a degree. During these years Steinbeck dropped out for several months, and was employed intermittently as a sales clerk, farm laborer, ranch hand, and factory worker.

1925 --November, traveled by freighter from Los Angeles to New York City worked as a construction laborer and, briefly, for the New York American.

1926-28 --Lived in Lake Tahoe, California and worked as a caretaker for a summer home.

1929 --August, publication of first novel, Cup of Gold, by McBride (New York).

1930 --January 14, marries Carol Henning. October, meets Edward F. Ricketts, marine biologist, philosopher, longtime friend.

1932 --October, The Pastures of Heaven, published by Brewer, Warren, and Putnam (New York).

1933 --September, novel To A God Unknown published by Ballou (New York).

1934 --Winter, gathers information on farm labor unions. Interviews labor organizer in Seaside.

1935 --May 28, first popular success, novel Tortilla Flat about Monterey's paisanos. Published by Covici-Friede (New York) beginning of lifelong friendship with editor Pascal Covici.

1936 --October, novel In Dubious Battle, about striking workers. Published by Covici-Friede.

1937 --February 6, novella Of Mice and Men published by Covici-Friede Summer, first trip to Europe and Russia September, The Red Pony, three connected stories, published by Covici-Friede November 23, New York opening of the play Of Mice and Men (207 performances).

1938 --April, Their Blood Is Strong, a nonfiction account of the migrant labor problem in California, published by the Simon J. Lubin Society (San Francisco) May, receives the New York Drama Critics Award for the play Of Mice and Men September, short story collection, The Long Valley, incorporating The Red Pony (1937), published by Viking (New York), where Pascal Covici became an editor after the bankruptcy of his own firm.

1939 --April, The Grapes of Wrath, his greatest critical success, published by Viking, provoking both great popular acclaim and violent political condemnation for its depiction of Oklahoma migrants and California growers, as well as for its alleged "vulgar" language and socialist bias.

1940 --January, films of Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath released March 11 - April 20, marine expedition in the Gulf of California with Ricketts Spring, receives the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath Summer, documentary film about living conditions in rural Mexico, The Forgotten Village.

1941 --Spring, separated from Carol fall, moves to New York City with singer Gwyndolyn Conger December 5, Sea of Cortez, written with Edward Ricketts, published by Viking.

1942-- March, sued for divorce by Carol March 6, novel The Moon Is Down published by Viking April 8, New York opening of the play The Moon Is Down May, film of Tortilla Flat released November 27, Bombs Away published by Viking.

1943 --March, film of The Moon Is Down released March 29, marries Gwyn Conger in New Orleans June-October, in Europe and North Africa as war correspondent for New York Herald Tribune.

1944 --August 2, birth of first son, Thom.

1945 --January 2, publication of novel Cannery Row by Viking.

1946 June 12, birth of second son, John IV.

1947 --February, novel The Wayward Bus published by Viking August-September, tour of Russia with photographer Robert Capa, for the New York Herald Tribune November, novella The Pearl published by Viking.

1948 --April, A Russian Journal, an account of his 1947 tour of Russia, published by Viking May, Ed Ricketts killed in automobile accident August, divorced by Gwyn December, elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters.

1950 --October, novella Burning Bright published by Viking October 18, New York City opening of the play Burning Bright December 28, marries third wife, Elaine Anderson Scott.

1951 September, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, the narrative part of the Sea of Cortez (1941) including an original essay "About Ed Ricketts," published by Viking.

1952 March, film Viva Zapata! released (screenplay published in Rome by Edizoni Filmcritica in 1953 first published in America, edited by Robert Morsberger, by Viking in 1975) September, novel East of Eden published by Viking.

1954 --June, novel Sweet Thursday published by Viking (a sequel to Cannery Row ).

1955 --March, purchases a summer home in Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York November 3, New York City opening of Pipe Dream, a Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein III musical based on Sweet Thursday.

1957 --April, novel The Short Reign of Pippin IV published by Viking film of The Wayward Bus released.

1958 --September, Once There Was a War, a collection of his 1943 wartime dispatches, published by Viking.

1959 --February-October, travels in England and Wales, researching background for a modern English version of Malory's Morte d'Arthur (1485).

1960 --September-November, tours United States with poodle, Charley.

1961 --April, twelfth novel, The Winter of Our Discontent, published by Viking.

1962 --July, Travels with Charley, the journal of his 1960 tour, published by Viking October 25, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1963 --October-December, travels to Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and Russia on United States Information Agency cultural tour, with dramatist Edward Albee.

1964 --September 14, presented with United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

1966 --October 12, America and Americans, reflections on contemporary America, published by Viking.

1968 --December 20, dies of arteriosclerosis in New York.

1969 --Publication of Journal of a Novel: The "East of Eden" Letters, journal kept during composition of East of Eden, by Viking.

1975 --Steinbeck: A Life in Letters (selected correspondence) edited by Elaine Steinbeck and Robert Wallsten published by Viking.

1976 --Publication of The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (edited by Chase Horton), an unfinished translation of Morte d'Arthur.

1979 --U.S. commemorative stamp issued on what would have been his seventy-seventh birthday

1984 -- The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer (biography), by Jackson J. Benson is published by Viking Steinbeck is pictured on half-ounce gold medal issued by the U.S. Government.

1989 --Working Days: The Journal of "The Grapes of Wrath," edited by Robert DeMott (journal kept during writing of the novel in 1938, published on the novel's fiftieth anniversary).

1991 --Frank Gallati's Steppenwolf Theater dramatization of The Grapes of Wrath wins New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best play of the season.

1992 --Gary Sinise directs and stars in (with John Malkovich), in another film version of Of Mice and Men Nantucket conference on "Steinbeck and the Environment," co-sponsored by the Steinbeck Research Center and University of Massachusetts.

1994 --Biography by Jay Parini, John Steinbeck: A Biography is published in England by Heinemann.

1995 --A revised version of Parini's biography is published in the United States by Henry Holt and Company in New York


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I was surprised so many individuals from the literary and performing arts had been recognized for their excellence. Hollywood types like Andy Griffith, Tom Hanks, Doris Day and Gregory Peck are on the list, and though some critics may deem such entertainment as trivial, the roles these actors have played make up an important part of Americana—they positively reflect how we want to view our culture

I was happy to see the writing of Robert Penn Warren had earned him recognition. On those days when I guided my students in the analysis of his poetry, I always considered the experience a privilege. The inclusion of other great writers like Toni Morrison and John Steinbeck also made sense to me.

The number of athletes on the list is what ultimately got my attention (a total of thirty-three), though understanding the prominence of sports in our society readily explains why such is the case. As a Baby Boomer who grew up in the Los Angeles area, I was pleased to see the names of Jerry West, John Wooden and Kareem Abdul Jabbar on the list.

In the midst of the tumultuous late 1960s and early 1970s, these Los Angeles sports legends provided a reassuring sense of excellence, class and civility for both kids and adults. Such individuals were invaluable at a time when our society openly challenged many traditional American values and assumptions. In West, Wooden and Jabbar, we saw that certain bedrock, foundational ideals like hard work, humility, coolness under pressure, and teamwork mattered.

While scrolling down the list, however, I caught the name of one more sports figure associated with Los Angeles—Vin Scully, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ long time radio and TV broadcaster (a total of sixty-seven seasons). Though he has long been considered an LA institution, I didn’t expect to see him on the list. As much as I admired Scully for his superior broadcasting skills (he is generally considered to be the greatest sports announcer of all time), my initial reaction was to ponder the question, “Can a radio announcer be considered a hero?”

I then remembered those summer nights my family spent listening to Scully’s smooth voice as he lyrically described the action on the ball field, recalling his sense of civility and the uplifting nature of his delivery. Though he was neither player or manager, his consistently polite manner and positive attitude soothed and inspired the listener, no matter the outcome of the game.

Like any hero, he calmly guided his followers through the rough times of losing seasons, in a way that showed no disrespect for the opposing teams or those Dodger players experiencing a slump. He never exploited an athlete’s luckless fate in favor of higher ratings. His broadcast booth was a buffoonery, bombast, bullying and divisiveness-free zone.

Needless to say, his style stands in stark contrast to Rush Limbaugh. Though our society has grown more coarse over the past few years, I want to believe that Scully’s civility and positivity, as opposed to Limbaugh’s constant mockery and combativeness, best reflects the aspirational nature of our culture. We may not always be civil and positive, but most of us want to be.

I encourage everyone to take a look at the list of past Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients. You’ll come away impressed by most of the selections. I especially encourage you to do so before Trump decides to place another angry shock jock on the list.

Steve Rodriguez is a retired Marine Corps officer and high school teacher who last taught at Olympian High School in Chula Vista.

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Prizes and Awards

Steinbeck receiving Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm, 1962, from R. Sandler (Royal Academy of Sciences).

1936 Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal for Best Novel by a Californian for Tortilla Flat.

1937 Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal for Best Novel by a Californian for In Dubious Battle.

1938 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Of Mice and Men.

1939 Member of National Institute of Arts and Letters--American Booksellers' Award

1940 Pulitzer Prize Fiction Award for The Grapes of Wrath.

1946 King Haakon Liberty Cross (Norway) for The Moon Is Down.

1948 Made a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

1962 Nobel Prize for Literature.

1963 Honorary Consultant in American Literature to the Library of Congress.

1964 United States Medal of Freedom, Trustee of John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, Annual "Paperback of the Year" Award, Press Medal of Freedom.

1966 Member of the National Arts Council.

1979 US Postal Service issues a John Steinbeck Commemorative Stamp.

1984 American Arts Gold Medallion of Steinbeck issued by the US Mint.

Nearly thirty Academy Award nominations and four Academy Awards were given for adaptations of John Steinbeck stories.

Of Mice and Men (1939) was nominated for five Academy Awards: Norbert Brodine for cinematography Aaron Copland for both original score and scoring Hal Roach for outstanding production and Hal Roach Sound Department, Elmer A. Raguse, Sound Director for best sound recording.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940) was nominated for seven Academy Awards: Henry Fonda for best actor Jane Darwell for best actress in a supporting role John Ford for director Robert E. Simpson for film editing Twentieth Century Fox for outstanding production Twentieth Century Fox Studio Sound Department, E. H. Hansen, Sound Director for sound recording Nunnally Johnson for best screenplay adaptation. Jane Darwell and John Ford received Oscars.

Tortilla Flat (1942) was nominated for one Academy Award: Frank Morgan for best actor in a supporting role.

Lifeboat (1944) was nominated for three Academy Awards: Glen MacWilliams for cinematography Alfred Hitchcock for directing and John Steinbeck for the story.

A Medal for Benny (1945) was nominated for two Academy Awards: J. Carrol Naish for best actor in a supporting role and John Steinbeck and Jack Wagner for the story.

Viva, Zapata! (1952) was nominated for six Academy Awards: Marlon Brando for best actor Anthony Quinn for best actor in a supporting role Lyle Wheeler, and Leland Fuller for art direction Alex North for musical score Thomas Little and Claude Carpenter for set decoration John Steinbeck for story and screenplay. Anthony Quinn received an Oscar.

East of Eden (1955) was nominated for four Academy Awards: James Dean for best actor Jo Van Fleet for best actress in a supporting role Elia Kazan for best director Paul Osborn for best original screenplay. Jo Van Fleet received an Oscar.


Remarks at the Presentation of the 1964 Presidential Medal of Freedom Awards.

OTHER peoples in other lands have marked their history through the years by moments of glory and war, and moments of greatness in power over empires and dominions.

Our experience in our own history has been quite different. Our glory is peace, not war. Our greatness is in people, not power. Our genius for 188 years has been the excellence of individuals.

The history of America is a history of outstanding achievement by outstanding individuals-inventors and enterprisers, thinkers and doers, creators and constructors.

Our society today is a changing society, changing from rural values to urban values, from manual labor to mental labor, from scarcity to abundance, from provincial horizons to cosmopolitan horizons. Yet, as our society changes, the value of the individual is unchanging. Our trust must and does continue to rest upon the individual who envisions more, aspires to more, and who achieves more for all of us.

What America is to be, America will be, because of our trust in and of the individual and of his capacity for excellence. Only those who doubt the individual can be dubious of America's survival and success in this century of contest. This belief is mine. It was this conviction that led President Kennedy to the establishment of the Medal of Freedom as our highest civilian honor for outstanding individuals--citizens who share an extra measure of individual excellence in the mainstream of our well-being and our advancement. On the talents of such citizens rests the future of our American civilization, for it is from the genius of the few that we enrich the greatness of the many.

All Americans are proud, as I am proud, to salute today the great Americans here before me. Their lives and their works have made freedom stronger for all of us in our time.

[The President spoke at the close of the presentation ceremony. Under Secretary of State George W. Ball, Chairman of the Distinguished Civilian Service Awards Board, introduced the recipients, and the President presented the awards and read the citations, as follows:]

THE PRESIDENT. An architect of the defense and growth of a flourishing Atlantic community, his moral resolve and intellectual grasp have placed all free men in his debt.

Mr. Ball: Dr. Detlev W. Bronk.

THE PRESIDENT. Scientist and leader of scholars, his vision and untiring efforts have advanced science education and helped forge an enduring link between Government and the scientific community.

THE PRESIDENT. Masterful composer and gifted teacher, his music echoes our American experience and speaks expressively to an international audience.

Mr. Ball: Mr. Willem de Kooning.

THE PRESIDENT. Artist and teacher, he has adventured into a new range of artistic vision and opened bold pathways to our experience of the world.

THE PRESIDENT. Artist and impresario, in the course of entertaining an age, he has created an American folklore.

Mr. Ball: Prof. J. Frank Dobie.

THE PRESIDENT. Folklorist, teacher, writer, he has recaptured the treasure of our rich regional heritage in the Southwest from the conquistadores to the cowboys.

Mr. Ball: Dr. Lena F. Edwards.

THE PRESIDENT. Physician and humanitarian, she has applied her medical skills and compassionate understanding to the women and children of our migratory work force.

Mr. Ball: Mr. Thomas Stearns Eliot.

THE PRESIDENT. Poet and critic, he has fused intelligence and imagination, tradition and innovation, bringing to the world a new sense of the possibilities for order in a revolutionary time.

Mr. Ball: Dr. John W. Gardner.

THE PRESIDENT. Guardian and critic of American education, he has inspired our schools and colleges toward his own goal of increasing excellence.

Mr. Ball: The Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh.

THE PRESIDENT. Educator and humanitarian, he has inspired a generation of students and given of his wisdom in the struggle for the rights of man.

Mr. Ball: Mr. Clarence L. Johnson.

THE PRESIDENT. Aeronautical engineer, his genius for conceiving unique airframes and his technical management skills contribute mightily to the Nation's security by creating aircraft of daring design with unmatched rapidity and effectiveness.

Mr. Ball: Mr. Frederick Kappel.

THE PRESIDENT. A creative leader of business, he synthesizes the skills of management with a farsighted appreciation of how technology and communications may better serve our country.

Mr. Ball: Miss Helen Keller.

THE PRESIDENT. An example of courage to all mankind, she has devoted her life to illuminating the dark world of the blind and the handicapped.

THE PRESIDENT. Eloquent spokesman of labor, he has given voice to. the aspirations of the industrial workers of the country and led the cause of free trade unions within a healthy system of free enterprise.

Mr. Ball: Mr. Walter Lippmann.

THE PRESIDENT. Profound interpreter of his country and the affairs of the world, he has enlarged the horizons of public thinking for more than five decades through the power of measured reason and detached perspective.

Mr. Ball: Mr. Alfred Lunt and Miss Lynn Fontainne.

THE PRESIDENT. A luminous partnership of artistic talents and personal devotion they have brilliantly enlivened and enriched the American stage.

THE PRESIDENT. Editor and journalist, he has courageously sounded the voice of reason, moderation, and progress during a period of contemporary revolution.

Mr. Ball: Prof. Samuel Eliot Morison.

THE PRESIDENT. Scholar and sailor, this amphibious historian has combined a life of action and literary craftsmanship to lead two generations of Americans on countless voyages of discovery.

THE PRESIDENT. In the name of sanity, he has constantly worked to rescue and extend the qualities of urban life that will preserve and stimulate the humane spirit of western civilization.

Mr. Ball: Mr. Edward R. Murrow.

THE PRESIDENT. A pioneer in education through mass communication, he has brought to all his endeavors the conviction that truth and personal integrity are the ultimate persuaders of men and nations.

Mr. Ball: Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr.

THE PRESIDENT. Theologian, teacher, social philosopher, he has invoked the ancient insights of Christianity to illuminate the experience and fortify the will of the modern age.

Mr. Ball: Miss Leontyne Price.

THE PRESIDENT. A voice of stirring power and rare beauty, her singing has brought delight to her land and to all those who treasure musical values.

Mr. Ball: Mr. A. Philip Randolph.

THE PRESIDENT. Trade unionist and citizen, through four decades of challenge and achievement he has led his people and his nation in the great forward march of freedom.

THE PRESIDENT. Son Of the prairie, he has helped the Nation and the world to comprehend and share in the great affirmation of American life, asserting always, and in the face of disaster no less than triumph, The People.

Mr. Ball: Mr. John Steinbeck.

THE PRESIDENT. A writer of worldwide influence, he has helped America to understand herself by finding universal themes in the experience of men and women everywhere.

Mr. Ball: Dr. Helen B. Taussig.

THE PRESIDENT. Physician, physiologist, and embryologist, her fundamental concepts have made possible the modern surgery of the heart which enables countless children to lead productive lives.

THE PRESIDENT. Master legislative captain, helmsman, and navigator, his fixed star has always been the national interest.

Mr. Ball: Mr. Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

THE PRESIDENT. A business statesman who combined distinction in private life with a cheerful acceptance of countless public duties placed on him by a grateful government.

Mr. Ball: Dr. Paul Dudley White.

THE PRESIDENT. Physician, humanist, and teacher, he has led the way toward a greater knowledge of heart disease and the promotion of international understanding through scientific medicine.


30 Receive Freedom Medal at the White House They Are Praised by Johnson as He Confers the Highest Civilian Recognition

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (AP)—President Johnson conferred the nation's highest. civilian recognition—the Presidential Medal of Freedom ‐on 30 Americans today. He said their achievements “have made freedom stronger for all us.”

In a noon ceremony in the East Room of the White House the honored men and women stepped forward to receive the gold decoration and a handshake from the President to the applause of top Government officials.

The list of recipients ranged from the labor leader John L. Lewis to the industrialist Frederick R., Kappel from the moviemaker Walt Disney to the scientist Detlev W. Bronk from the Negro leader A. Philip Randolph to the author John Steinbeck.

Along with the medal the President gave a kiss on the cheek to Mrs. J. Frank Dobie, receiving the award for her historian husband, the President's I friend for about 40 years.

And the veteran stage couple Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne forgot their usual stage presence and had to be tugged by the President into camera range beside him.

There was extra applause for the journalist Walter Lippmann the poet and historian Carl Sandburg, and for the three recipients whose medals were accompanied by citations of “special distinction” for service in the Government. They were:

Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, retiring Representative Carl Vinson, Democrat of Georgia, and Edward R. Murrow, former television commentator and director of the United States Information Agency.

“Our glory is peace, not war our greatness is in people, not power,” Mr. Johnson told the medal winners when the ceremony ended.

“The history of America is a history of outstanding achievement by individuals.”

It was a belief that the nation's trust must continue to rest on the achievement of individuals, Mr. Johnson said, that led President Kennedy to establish the Medal of Freedom award.

He and Mrs. Johnson honored the group at a reception and buffet luncheon in the Blue Room.

Dean Acheson 71 years old, Secretary of State from 1949 to 1953, of Washington, D.C.

Detlev W. Bronk, 66 , neurophysiologist and for 12 years head of the National Academy of Science, of New York City.

Aaron Copland, 63, composer and lecturer, of New York City.

Willem de Kooning, 60, abstract and impressionist painter, of New York City.

Walt Disney, 62, pioneer In the animated movie cartoon field, of Los Angeles.

J. Frank Dobie, 75, writer, professor and authority on the folklore and history of Texas and the Southwest, of Austin, Tex.

Lena F. Edwards, 63, physician and humanitarian who at the age of 60 gave up private practica in Jersey City to devote herself to care of migrant workers, of Hereford, Tex.

Thomas Stearns Eliot, 76, Nobel prize‐winning author of poetry, plays and criticism who was born in St. Louis, of London.

John W. Gardner, 51, president of the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, of Scarsdale, N. Y.

The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, 47, president of the University of Notre Dame since 1952, of South Bend, Ind.

Clarence L. Johnson, 54, aircraft engineer who designed the U‐2 reconnaissance plane and the A‐11, 2,000 mile‐an‐hour interceptor, of Encino, Calif.

Frederick R. Kappel, 62, chairman of the board of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, of Bronxville, N. Y.

Helen A. Keller, 84, a leader in assisting the blind although she was left blind, deaf and speechless by an illness when 19 months old, of Westport, Conn.

John L. Lewis, 84, retired president of the United Mine Workers, of Alexandria, Va.

Walter Lippmann, 74, journalist and columnist of Washington, D. C.

Alfred Lunt, 71. honored jointly with Lynn Fontanne, husband and wife team of the American theater, of Genesee Depot, Wis.

Ralph Emerson McGill, 66, publisher and former editor of The Atlanta Constitution, of Atlanta.

Samuel Eliot Morison, 76, sailor and historian noted for his histories of naval affairs, of Boston.

Lewis Mumford, 68, author, social philosopher and authority on architecture and city planning, of Amenia, N. Y.

Edward R. Murrow, 56, radio and television reporter and commentator and former head of the United States Information Agency, of Pawling, N. Y.

Reinhold Niebuhr, 72, theologian and American Protestant leader, of New York City.

Leontyne Price, 37, American concert and opera star and the first Negro woman to sing famous opera roles, of New York City.

A. Philip Randolph, 75, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and a longtime leader in the Negro civil rights drive, of New York City.

Carl Sandburg, 86, Pulitzer Prize‐winning poet and biographer, of Flat Rock, N. C.

John Steinbeck, 62, Nobel Prizewinning author and playwright, of New York City.

Helen B. Taussig, 66, professor of pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins University and the discoverer of surgical means to save blue babies, of Baltimore.

Carl Vinson, 81, retiring chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, of Milledgeville, Ga.

Thomas J. Watson Jr., chairman of the board of the International Business Machines Corporation, of Greenwich, Conn.

Paul Dudley White, 78, physician and an authority on heart disease, of Belmont, Mass.

Mr. Dobie, Mr. Eliot, Miss Keller, Dr. Niebuhr and Miss Price were unable to attend the, ceremonies.


John Steinbeck

Born February 27, 1902, 132 Central Avenue, Salinas California, in the front bedroom of the home
Graduated from Salinas High School in June of 1919
Attended Stanford University, 1919-1925
Died of a heart attack in New York, December 20, 1968
Buried in the Garden of Memories Cemetery family plot in Salinas

Steinbeck Family

Father: John Ernst Steinbeck, 1863-1935, Monterey County Treasurer
Mother:Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, 1867-1934, teacher​
Sisters:
Esther Steinbeck Rodgers, April 14, 1892-May 9, 1986, lived in Watsonville
Elizabeth Steinbeck Ainsworth: May 25, 1894-October 20, 1992, lived in Pacific Grove
Mary Steinbeck Dekker, January 9, 1905-January 23, 1965, buried in family plot
Wives:
Carol Henning Steinbeck Brown, married1930, divorced from Steinbeck1942, livedinCarmel Valley, died February 8, 1983 at the Community Hospital in Monterey
Gwyndolyn Conger Steinbeck, married 1943, divorced 1948, died December 30, 1975 in Colorado
Elaine Anderson Scott Steinbeck, married 1950, widowed 1968, died 2003, buried in the Garden of Memories in Salinas
Sons:
Thom Steinbeck, born August 2, 1944, author
John Steinbeck IV, June 12, 1946, died February 7, 1991
(mother of Thom and John IV is Gwyndolyn)


List of Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients

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List of Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients

This is an alphabetized, partial list of recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, grouped by the aspect of life in which they are/were renowned. Unless otherwise noted, the names are listed as they were given in the official announcement of the award (e.g. President Jimmy Carter, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche) which may not match the recipient's highest office or their usual title. The Barack Obama has awarded 80 Medals as of November 24, 2014. [3] [4] [5]

Three people, Ellsworth Bunker, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Colin Powell, are two-time recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Ellsworth Bunker was given both of his awards with Distinction.

This list does not include those awarded the similarly named but very distinct Medal of Freedom, an antecedent award issued prior to 1963.


Seize the day

1. Which one of John Steinbeck’s novels won a Pulitzer Prize?
John Steinbeck’s novel, “The Grapes of Wrath” won a Pulitzer Price.

2. Where and what year was he born?
He was born the 27th of February 1902 in Salinas Valley, California.

3. Name three of John Steinbeck’s books that were made into Hollywood films?
Three of John Steinbeck’s books that were made into Hollywood films are: “Of Mice and Men”, “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden”.

4. In what year did John Steinbeck write of Mice and Men?
John Steinbeck wrote of Mice and Men in 1937.

5. What did John Steinbeck do during WWII?
During WWII John Steinbeck worked as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. He participated in many operations which went out on attacking small German-held islands. If he had been captured he had been executed, but this never happened because all of his mission were successful.
During the war he wrote a book which supported Norway, and in 1945 he received Haakon VII Medal of Freedom because of his literary contributions to those who fought against the Nazis during the war.

6. What US President awarded Steinbeck the United States Medal of Freedom.
John Steinbeck received the United States Medal of Freedom from the US President Lyndon B. Johnson.

7. What is John Steinbeck’s Museum called?
John Steinbeck’s Museum is called The National Steinbeck Centre.

8. How old was Steinbeck when he died?
John Steinbeck was 66 years old when he passed away.

9. What does the novel “The Moon is Down”, have to do with Norway?
The novel “The Moon is Down” is about a military occupation which takes place in Northern Europe, and it’s very similar to the occupation of Norway by the Germans during WWII. The book helped the Norwegian resistance movement very much.

10. Find out on the Internet the two main characters “Of Mice and Men”. Tell me a little about them and what the story is about (8 sentences).
The two main characters in “Of Mice and Men” is George Milton and Lennie Small. George is a smart and quick-witted man while Lennie is mentally disabled but strong as a bull.
George and Lennie is dreaming about having their own farm. Lennie is very fond of stroking soft, hairy things like animal fur, and this often gets him into trouble. Lennie do not know his own strength and accidentally he kills a woman while stroking her hair. She was the wife of the farmers son, at the farm he works at. He is also accused for attempting rape because he touched a woman’s dress. At the end of the story George and Lennie is chased by a lynch mob led by the farmers son, and George shoot Lennie in the back of the head to spare him from a painful death in the mob’s hands.


Marty 10d

1. Which one of John Steinbeck’s novels won a Pulitzer Prize?

2. Where and what year was he born?

He was born on the 27th of February 1902 in Salinas Valley, California.

3. Name three of John Steinbeck’s books that were made into Hollywood films?

“Of Mice and Men”, “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden”.

4. In what year did John Steinbeck write of Mice and Men?

John Steinbeck wrote “Of Mice and Men” in 1937.

5. What did John Steinbeck do during WWII?

In Second World War, he served as a war correspondent for New York.

6. What US President awarded Steinbeck the United States Medal of Freedom.

US President Lyndon B. Johnson awared Steinbeck with an Medal of freedom.

7. What is John Steinbeck’s Museum called?

The National Steinbeck Centre.

8. How old was Steinbeck when he died?

Steinbeck was 66 years when he died.

9. What does the novel “The Moon is Down”, have to do with Norway?

It is much like the German occupation of Norway during World War II.

Short summary.

“Of Mice and Men”s two main characters is George Milton and Lennie Small. George is very smart man, while Lennie is retarded. Lennie is not so very smart, but he’s very strong. The two men is dreaming about having their own farm. Lennie likes animals, and loves to stroke them. Lennie kills a woman because he strikes her hair to hard. That’s very bad because she was the wife of the farmer’s son, at the farm he works on. He gets accused for endeavoring a rape because he touched the woman’s dress. George kills Lennie at the end, with a gun.


The Goals and Contributions of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men to the Great Depression and Vietnam War

The Great Depression had a massive impact on everyone throughout the United States, and any number of programs to try and improve the well-being of the American people and the economy were put into place under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s time as president known as The New Deal. One of these programs was the Federal Writers Project under the Work Progress Administration. One of the many authors brought in on the project was John Steinbeck, who would become a major player in the literary canon of America. Steinbeck wrote his well-known novel, The Grapes of Wrath, and novella, Of Mice and Men. Both books were written to better show the experiences most Americans faced during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Any literature that Steinbeck wrote during his time in the Federal Writers Project was written with one goal in mind: “In every bit of honest writing in the world… there is a base theme. Try to understand men, [for] if you understand each other you will be kind to each other” (Steinbeck), as written in his journal kept throughout this portion of his career. Steinbeck’s overall goal with his writings based on the Great Depression were intended to aid in furthering large scale social change.

The Federal Writers Project was established in 1935 to provide work for writers, teachers, librarians, and the such that would benefit from literature being published. The original purpose of the FWP had been to write a series of guide books that would have individual focuses on several different aspects of the United States, be it history, economic resources, culture of the American people, or the most scenic places in the country.

Throughout 1936, Steinbeck had travelled with a group of migrant workers, seeing first hand their way of life on the road. The quality of life these men had after having been displaced from their homes during the Dust Bowl appalled Steinbeck, who admired their tenacity and will to keep trying to resettle their lives. Based on his experiences with these workers, Steinbeck went on to write Of Mice and Men, focusing more on the hopes of displaced workers to eventually have their own land again to settle down with their families and reclaim their old lives. Of Mice and Men became a popular novella and stage play as American citizens recovering from the aftermath of the Great Depression related to the story as it was a mirror of their own lives not that long ago. Even citizens that were not affected nearly as bad as farmers and other members of the lower class that read this novella or saw the play began to understand just how much of an impact the devastation of the Depression had on the rest of the country.

After Of Mice and Men, in 1939, Steinbeck would go on to write The Grapes of Wrath. The Grapes of Wrath follows the story of the Joad family as they make their way to California to try and rebuild their lives after their family farm was essentially blown away during the Dust Bowl. Steinbeck’s experiences with the migrant workers also played a large influence throughout this novel as the migrant worker camps spread throughout the country, spanning all the way out to California, which would play a large role in many of the key scenes that took place in the novel.

With the publication of The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck earned a Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award, however the book was widely banned by most schools for several accounts of ‘obscenities’ and coarse language. The novel was also protested by the Associated Farmers of America for how corporate farmers were being portrayed throughout the novel. With the novel’s success, a film version starring Henry Fonda would go on to be released in 1940, however production was attempted to be stopped completed by the Kern County Board of Supervisors to keep the supposed negativity shown in the book from spreading outside of California. Steinbeck achieved his main goal of causing social change with The Grapes of Wrath and was backed by First Lady Elanor Roosevelt for the truth that was expressed in the novel First Lady Roosevelt would later influence congressional hearings regarding the condition of the migrant camps.

In the years after writing The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck spent time exploring the world and learning more and more to expand his experiences in life. During this time, in the earlier years of World War II, Steinbeck travelled through Europe and North Africa as a war correspondent to the New York Herald Tribune. In this time period, Steinbeck would go on to write East of Eden, taking place in America spanning the time frame of the Civil War all the way up to World War I, calling it “the story of my country and the story of me” (Steinbeck). Steinbeck’s continued work in literature involving the topic of the American people and the gradual change of American history earned him many awards and accolades. In 1946, Steinbeck was award the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson for helping the American people re-discover themselves through communal experiences as seen in his works.

In 1947, Steinbeck travelled to the Soviet Union as a journalist accompanied by photographer Robert Capa. During this trip, Steinbeck had been under investigation by the FBI for his pro-worker sentiments expressed throughout his writing, his trip into the Soviet Union seemed to confirm suspicions of Steinbeck being a socialist. Despite having come into contact with many communists, labor organizers, and strikers, there was no real definitive proof of Steinbeck being a card-carrying member of the Socialist or Communist parties. Later in his career however, Steinbeck would come under more speculation of is morals and ideals by the politically left and liberals due to his friendship with President Lyndon B. Johnson and pro-war journalistic reporting during the time of the Vietnam War.

At the age of 64, Steinbeck was on the frontlines of the Vietnam War as a journalist and would send back letters telling of what he saw there- these letters would go on to be the last published work of Steinbeck’s. Steinbeck’s shocking letters originally were printed in Newsday, which had been owned by his friend Harry Gugenheim, throughout 1966 and 1967 to be easily accessible to the public. Outside of the shocking content involving the fighting that took place, many fans of Steinbeck’s previous works were shocked at just how pro-involvement in Vietnam Steinbeck truly was, resulting in these letters being kept out of the public eye after the end of the Vietnam conflict for many years. Steinbeck’s primary involvement in reporting on Vietnam came almost entirely from his own interest- both of his sons would become involved in the war- with some encouragement from President Lyndon B. Johnson, though Steinbeck claimed he was never there on Johnson’s behalf. Despite his involvement in the war itself, one of Steinbeck’s sons confronted his father while in Vietnam over his support for the war, as this son felt that the United States’ involvement in Vietnam was wrong and unnecessary. Later in to the course of the war, Steinbeck did begin to have his doubts over the need for involvement, however, these doubts were never published in Newsday.

John Steinbeck started his career as a writer well before the Federal Writers Project came to fruition, however, this program came to be a major turning point in the career of John Steinbeck. Steinbeck’s work in the FWP utilized his experiences living with displaced workers in the aftermath of a massive stock market crash that initiated the Great Depression, only being made worse by the Dust Bowl. Three of Steinbeck’s most iconic works- Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, and East of Eden- would likely never have happened if the FWP was not put into to unify the American people as they look back on their history in order to further understand the place that all Americans had from 1929-1939, feeling a greater connection to other citizens after seeing essentially what they had been through. The FWP also gave Steinbeck earned a great amount of respect- or at least fame- among the American people, as well as the government. Despite the numerous doubts that were had about political ties and viewpoint, John Steinbeck remains as a major player in the American literary cannon.


Watch the video: Grapes of Wrath - NBC University Theater - John Steinbeck