An estimated 1,700 people, “mostly women,” joined Eunice Kennedy Shriver at a campaign tea in Far Hills a few weeks before the end of the 1960 presidential campaign, according to the New York Times’ coverage of the event.
“They tell me this is Republican country,” Shriver told the crowd while campaigning for her brother, then-U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy. “But I don’t think so anymore.”
The tea was held at the home of industrialist Charles Engelhard. According to published reports, Shriver spent nearly two hours in a receiving line shaking hands. She made the New Jersey campaign stop “because Jack asked me to come.”
Joining Shriver in the receiving line was Thelma Parkinson Sharp, the president of the New Jersey Civil Service Commission and the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1932.
“We must carry New Jersey if we are going to win. We want to get independent and Republican votes too,” Shriver said.
In a close race, Kennedy carried New Jersey’s sixteen electoral votes by 22,091 over Vice President Richard Nixon.
“Today, our nation lost one of its great humanitarians. Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s life’s work of empowering those with intellectual disabilities has made ours a stronger, more accepting nation,” U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez said in a statement released by his office. “Through her tireless efforts, she helped make sure that every member of our community is valued. In addition to her humanitarianism, it is clear that she was one of the most beloved and respected members.”