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Adlai Stevenson’s Last Hurrah

July 14, 2010 |  2:53 pm

Photograph by Otto / Los Angeles Times

July 9, 1960: Agnes Meyer chats with Adlai Stevenson at a cocktail party in Pasadena.

It has always been difficult for me to consider Adlai Stevenson a serious candidate for president, and evidently American voters felt the same way. He half-heartedly sought the 1960 nomination after being defeated in 1952 and 1956, and clearly he was no match for marshaled forces of John F. Kennedy.

July 13, 1960, Stevenson
Photograph by Frank Q. Brown / Los Angeles Times 

One of the key moments of the 1960 Democratic National Convention was a rousing speech for Stevenson by Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn.) urging delegates “Do not reject this man who made us all proud to be called Democrats, do not leave the prophet without honor in his own party.”

Norman Mailer wrote in his Esquire magazine article: “One had not heard a speech like this since 1948 when Vito Marcantonio's voice, his harsh, shrill, bitter, street urchin's voice screeched through the loud-speakers at Yankee Stadium and lashed seventy thousand people into an uproar.”