"Shelter Morality": Life Magazine - "The Drive for Mass Shelters, January 12, 1962
In late 1961, Kennedy partnered with Life Magazine to campaign for the cause of the family shelter and emphasize the threat of nuclear fallout, complete with “a letter to you from President Kennedy” stating that “every family shelter will contribute to the nation’s deterrent.” (Rose 81). However, the private fallout shelter manifested itself in the public imagination as a force that would divide friends and family, and only four months after the initial report Life Magazine published the cover story “The Drive for Mass Shelters," which favored community shelters rather than family shelters. The article gave voice to the average American, interviewing citizens ranging from barbers to cab drivers to rabbis on their attitude towards mass shelters. In the article, housewife Mrs. Florence Ergang proclaims: "I am dismayed at shelter morality. It is natural to protect one's family, but my ethics dictate that my neighbors be protected too." Suburbia had been envisioned as a space of fellowship and community, but nuclear anxieties threatened to break these bonds. Illustrations by Ken Riley present a utopian vision of dystopia, envisioning fantastical mass shelters that could keep entire neighborhoods safe. While the plans were not entirely realistic- the article itself proclaimed a "need for more research"- these images assuaged Americans that their communities would not be torn apart by nuclear war.