Kennedy Library Releases 1957 Recording of JFK Reading the Declaration of Independence

For Immediate Release: June 29, 2004
Further information: Ann Scanlon (617) 514-1662

BOSTON—The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum released today a 1957 recoding of Senator John F. Kennedy reading the Declaration of Independence in full, which was made exclusively for New York radio station WQXR’s 1957 July 4th observance. The Kennedy Library received the recording in January 1964 from WQXR, which is owned by the New York Times Company.

Kennedy Library Audiovisual Archives Specialist Maryrose Grossman noted the recording as she reviewed the Library’s archival listings, and flagged the entry, noting the approaching 4th of July holiday and the Museum’s upcoming display of an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. The Kennedy Library’s audiovisual archives is home to a wealth of materials, including more than 10,000 hours of audio recordings, 1,800 oral history interviews, eight million feet of film and videotape, and 400,000 still photographs from the life of John F. Kennedy.

"Given the thousands of audio recordings and miles of film footage held at the Kennedy Library, any one item–no matter how marvelous–does not always come to the forefront," said Deborah Leff, Director of the Kennedy Library and Museum. "This is an extraordinary piece of historical record, and shared fittingly as we mark the nation’s 228th birthday. It is awe-inspiring to listen to John F. Kennedy read in full the nation’s founding document, which was always meant to be spoken. The pairing of those words, so central to our democracy, written by our forebears in the 18th century and brought to life by one of the most powerful voices of the 20th century reaffirms for us today our pride in the values of our nation."

A compact-disk recording of Senator John F. Kennedy’s 1957 reading of the Declaration of Independence is available to members of the press by calling the Kennedy Library Press Office at (617) 514-1662. Copies of the recording are also on sale to the public in the Museum Store at the Kennedy Library.

Declaration of Independence to be displayed at Kennedy Library and Museum

As Boston winds down from its week-long celebration as host of the 2004 Democratic National Convention in July, the Kennedy Library will display a rare original copy of the Declaration of Independence in its Museum for three days only—Friday, July 30 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, July 31, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, August 1, 2004, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The public will be able to view the historic document for the regular cost of admission. Known as a Dunlap broadside, this is one of the original 200 copies of the Declaration of Independence printed on the night of July 4, 1776, by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap. The document is owned by TV and film producer Norman Lear and his wife Lyn and is on a national three-and-a-half year tour across the country to help inspire and engage Americans. For more information, call 1-(866) JFK-1960