Roses are Red, Violets are Blue: Humorous Valentines from Ethel Kennedy to John Glenn
Posted January 23, 2023

By Becky Preiss Odom, History Curator/Manager, Curatorial Department, Ohio History Connection

The John and Annie Glenn Collection at the Ohio History Connection captures both the public and private sides of the Glenn family. One of my favorite light-hearted series of items are the Valentines sent to John by Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert F. Kennedy and mother to their eleven (yes eleven!) children. The Glenn and Kennedy families were close friends, so it’s no surprise that Ethel and John knew each other. But in the whimsical Valentines Ethel cleverly pulls from current events and personal experiences to share a little more of the Glenn’s personal lives. And clearly they had a sense of humor.

Violets are blue, Red is the Rose. You don't make passes like Tom Brady, Valentine, But you keep me on my toes.

Valentine, Ethel Kennedy to John Glenn, 2004

Ethel’s 2004 Valentine references Quarterback Tom Brady. That year, he led the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl victory by overcoming a 28-3 deficit—the largest in Super Bowl history—to defeat the Carolina Panthers 32-29.

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue. I'm over the moon, Valentine, with Obama, the Steelers and You

Valentine, Ethel Kennedy to John Glenn, 2009

In this Valentine from 2009, Ethel shows herself flying Ohioan Eddie Rickenbacker’s plane bearing the “Hat in the Ring" nose art of the 94th Aero Squadron in which he served. She also references two events that took place in the weeks before Valentine’s Day in 2009: Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration and the Pittsburgh Steeler’s 27-23 Super Bowl victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

You're my hero, a star and a trooper. You're still my valentine but you're no Anderson Cooper

Valentine, Ethel Kennedy to John Glenn, 2010

Anderson Cooper was Ethel’s hero in this 2010 Valentine. He famously rescued an injured boy and carried him to safety while reporting in Haiti following a devastating earthquake in January 2010.

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue. If you'll be my Valentine, I'll make room for you.

Valentine, Ethel Kennedy to John Glenn, 2012

Ethel’s 2012 Valentine features a photo of herself with Actor Bill Murray, Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Rice, Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr, Actor Alec Baldwin, and Actor Matt McCoy. The photo was taken during the 22nd Annual RFK Center Golf Tournament at the Hyannisport Golf Club on October 14, 2011 in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

Want to learn more about the John and Annie Glenn Collection? Search our catalog to see about other amazing items from the Glenn family.

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