Unusual Presidential Appointment of American Composer and Conductor Leonard Bernstein as a Member of the Commission on Presidential Scholars

Signed by Lyndon B. Johnson

Item: 13433
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JOHNSON, LYNDON B. (1908-1973). 36th president of the United States. DS. (“Lyndon B. Johnson”), countersigned by Secretary of State DEAN RUSK (1909-1994) (“Dean Rusk”). 1p. Folio. Washington, May 23, 1964. The appointment of American composer, conductor, teacher, and pianist LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) to become a “Member of the Commission on Presidential Scholars.”

In 1964, by executive order, President Johnson established the United States Presidential Scholars Program to foster excellence and to recognize outstanding high school seniors. The commission was comprised of university presidents and educators, author Katherine Anne Porter, and Leonard Bernstein, who was on a year-long sabbatical from the New York Philharmonic. Bernstein’s national stature as a force in education grew out of his popular “Young People’s Concerts” series begun in 1958, which set out to increase young people’s interest in and enjoyment of music. Our appointment bears the blind-stamped paper Seal of the United States and is mounted onto a stiff sheet; a fine and uncommon association.

Just this once...
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