John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) was born to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and Joseph Kennedy on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts. One of nine children, JFK attended Harvard University. After graduating, he joined the Navy and served in the South Pacific during World War II. Upon his return, he served three terms in the House of Representatives, representing the 11th Congressional district in Massachusetts. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1952. In 1960, at the age of 43, JFK defeated then Vice President Richard Nixon becoming the 35th President of the United States - the youngest man to serve in this office and the first Catholic. On November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the memory of the thirty-fifth president. Located on a ten-acre park in Boston, MA, the library also offers a digital collection of documents, images and artifacts of JFK's Presidency, including his presidential and personal papers, campaign files, national security files, presidential recordings and personal photographs.
The White House offers a succinct biography of JFK as well as First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
Getting to Know the President: Intelligence Briefings of Presidential Candidates, 1952-2004 by John Helgerson is an online e-book in the Library's collection that provides insight into the "First Customer," the individual who, more than any other, determines the role of intelligence in national security. Chapter Two explores the presidencies of JFK and Lyndon Johnson.
The Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State provides insight into crucial historical moments in the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in their online summaries of Milestones: 1961-1968, including the Laos Crisis, the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, USAID, and the Peace Corps.
Learn about America's decision to go to the moon and JFK's role in that crucial debate from the NASA History Office. The site offers links to text and audio versions of Kennedy's May 25, 1961 speech, information about Project Apollo, a two-part radio program about the political story behind it, and other information.
For a comprehensive review of JFK's public communications, read Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy. It is available in the Library's Law Collection, located on the fifth floor of Burton Barr Central Library.
Explore a Local Connection
The Arizona Memory Project provides access to the wealth of primary sources in Arizona libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions. Visitors to the site will find some of the best examples of government documents, photographs, maps, and objects that chronicle Arizona's past and present. Some of the items in its online collection related to JFK include:
JFK throwing the first pitch at a ballgame with Del E. Webb in Sun City
JFK seated with Cabinet members including Stewart Udall
JFK and Stewart Udall at the White House
Audio clip of JFK and Carl Hayden at the Golden Jubilee in Phoenix