NEW YORK — It was not the Camelot reunion it was cracked up to be: Invited guests Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, John Kenneth Galbraith, Theodore Sorensen, George Ball, George Kennan, Walter Mondale and George McGovern (among many others) failed to show. Still, a hearty crowd that included former John F. Kennedy cronies Joseph Califano and McGeorge Bundy did turn out at the New York Public Library on Nov. 7 to nibble on tiny Chinese pea pods stuffed with herbed chevre cheese and to honor Arthur M. Schlesinger and his "The Cycles of American History" (Houghton Mifflin).
"The '80s were like the '50s and the '20s, an episode in the perennial cycle," Schlesinger declared. He opined that "the recent elections show that the cyclical theory of history runs true: The Ronald Reagan period has run its course." And, the historian predicted, "Probably around 1990, we will have a release of energy and concern comparable to that of (the eras of) Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy."
Within the Schlesinger family, however, the cycles of family historians may stop with the present. Fourteen-year-old Robert Emmet Kennedy Schlesinger ("REKS to my friends") has decided to be "a star baseball player for the New York Yankees, preferably first base."
DIVESTMENT: The 3,000-member Writers Guild of America, East, has voted overwhelmingly to urge trustees of the group's joint industry pension fund to sell all its holdings in companies doing business in South Africa. Said guild executive director Mona Mangan, noting the 84% vote in favor of the action, "The degree of support for divestment demonstrates the depth of concern our members feel on this important issue and their abhorrence of apartheid."
YOUNG SUBJECTS: In preparing the 50-plus-page booklet "Children's Books 1911-1986," researchers at the New York Public Library uncovered definite connections between cultural changes and the themes in children's literature. Fantasy and family stories, for example, were found to be popular in times of economic stress, while in times of war, themes revolved around affirmation of national and cultural values. In the 1980s, children's books began to show grave concern over such theoretically adult issues as nuclear holocaust.
Developed in connection with the library's salute to 75 years of children's collections, the book offers recommendations from the library's 80 children's librarians for the best children's books from the last 75 years. (At $5, plus $1.50 for shipping, the book may be ordered from the Office of Branch Libraries, New York Public Library, 455 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.)
WINNER: New Yorker magazine poetry editor Howard Moss has won the $7,500 Lenore Marshall/Nation Prize for Poetry, issued jointly by the New Hope Foundation and The Nation magazine. Moss' most recent book is "New Selected Poems" (Atheneum).
AMERICANA: For the first time, with the publication this fall of "Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue," every known illustration done by Norman Rockwell in a career spanning six decades has been documented and depicted in one place. Rockwell assisted in preparing the book, published by University Press of New England in Hanover, N.H., when he opened his studio to researchers more than 10 years ago.
BIO: Journalist/novelist/playwright/documentarian James Reston will write a "major biography" of John Connally, the son of the Texas dust bowl who rose to become governor, treasury secretary, Washington power broker, presidential candidate, multimillionaire lawyer and embattled business magnate. Harper & Row expects to publish the book in two years.