1. Archive

Jackie Kennedy was JFK's first, only wife

I read that Ronald Reagan was the first U.S. president to have been divorced. I understood that John F. Kennedy was briefly married and divorced, with the marriage annulled by the Roman Catholic Church. He later married Jackie. Can you clarify?

Rumors of a first marriage, of short duration in 1947, have been floating around for years. The supposed bride was Durie Kerr, who later took the last name Malcolm from her stepfather. She was said to have been married at least three times.

Stephen Plotkin, reference archivist at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, said Kennedy and Malcolm dated during the winter of 1946-47 when she visited her mother and stepfather at their home near the Kennedy residence in Palm Beach. Plotkin said the relationship ended during the spring and that, later in 1947, Malcolm married lumber baron Thomas Shevlin. Plotkin said that Malcolm denied marrying JFK and that independent investigations found the story baseless.

The rumors have been fed by at least two books, the first in the 1960s, Search for JFK. They sprang up again in 1997 with The Dark Side of Camelot, in which author Seymour Hersh suggested that Kennedy and Malcolm were married and that an agent of the Kennedy family went to the Palm Beach County Courthouse and removed the marriage records.

Other resources, such as Current Biography Yearbook, The Book of Presidents and Facts About the Presidents, list only one marriage for Kennedy, to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in 1953.

Berger probe continues

Whatever happened with the investigation into former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, who is said to have removed classified information from the National Archives?

The Justice Department is continuing to conduct a criminal investigation to determine whether Berger broke federal laws on the handling of classified material.

Justice Department spokesman Blain Rethmeier declined to provide any further information to Q&A.

As reported by the New York Times and other media, Berger, who was national security adviser to President Bill Clinton, has acknowledged that he took copies of classified documents from a secure reading room at the National Archives last fall when preparing for testimony before the Sept. 11 commission. He also took his notes on the documents reviewed.

Berger said the removal was a careless mistake, but critics have accused him of stashing documents in his clothing intentionally, perhaps as a way of hiding information that could be considered damaging to the Clinton administration.

Some documents were returned, but some remain missing.

After the incident made headlines this summer, Berger resigned as a foreign policy adviser to Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry.

Officials at the National Archives, meanwhile, have imposed new security measures, including the installation of surveillance cameras, for the research rooms.

National Army museum

I recently received a letter from retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks soliciting a donation for the National Museum of the U.S. Army. Is it legitimate?

The museum, to be at Fort Belvoir, Va., is still a long way off _ the grand opening is scheduled for June 14, 2009, to celebrate the Army's 234th birthday _ but it is legitimate.

In late September 2003, the Army formally activated the organization that will oversee development of the museum.

As described by the Army, the facility will be a permanent historical and educational institution and a "world-class national military museum." It will house artifacts, archives and art and will use technology, modern display techniques and interactive methods to tell the Army's story.

Fort Belvoir was selected in 1981 as the most appropriate site for the facility.