Last week, I admitted to being a big fan of Abraham Lincoln. Well, I’m an even bigger fan of John F. Kennedy. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was 150 years ago on November 19. Kennedy’s assassination was 50 years ago today. Ask anyone who is old enough to remember that day, and I’ll bet they can still tell you exactly what they were doing when they heard the news.
The number of books, films, websites, and the like that are devoted to Kennedy is higher than I can count, and with the 50th anniversary, even more books are being published. A subject search on Kennedy, John F. in the Library’s catalog brings up a list of 94 titles. One of those, a one-volume biography titled An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, was called “the best of the full biographies” on Kennedy by The New York Times Book Review (October 27, 2013, p. 24). I’ve read it, and I agree, it’s a great work. It includes information on the health problems of the president, kept carefully guarded during his lifetime. The Library’s copy is in the Main Collection, call number E842 .D28 2003.
If you don’t want to read a book, maybe you’d like to listen to interviews with Jacqueline Kennedy about her life with JFK. Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, Interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., 1964 is an 8-disc audio book, with an accompanying print book, located in the Browsing Books Audio collection, call number E842 .O63 2011.
Want to watch a film instead? How about, JFK: A Presidency Revealed, by the History Channel? It’s located in our Browsing Academic DVD collection, call number E842 .J45 2003.
To access digital collections, interactive exhibits, and more, check out the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum website.
Or maybe you’d like to read newspaper articles published during his presidency, or how about articles written right after the assassination? Check out our online databases, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2009) or ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Chicago Tribune (1849-1989).
Want to see how quickly things can change? Open the New York Times database above. Go to the Advanced Search, and limit your search to November 22, 1963, front page articles. Click Search. In the newspaper that day, there was a front page article titled: “Kennedy Pledges Space Advances; Opens Texas Tour.”
Then do a new search, and change the date to November 23, 1963. The New York Times front page headline that day, in all capital letters, was: “KENNEDY IS KILLED BY SNIPER AS HE RIDES IN CAR IN DALLAS; JOHNSON SWORN IN ON PLANE.” Kennedy opened his Texas tour one day, and was gone the next.
Rest in peace, Mr. President.