About Archival Collections

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is one of fourteen Presidential Libraries within the National Archives and Records Administration. The Library acquires, preserves, arranges, describes, and provides access to primary-source materials in all formats that document the life, career, and times of John F. Kennedy, as well as the work of the Kennedy administration and its impact on the public. The Library is also the primary repository for the papers of Ernest Hemingway.

Archival research can be complex. See more information about how to research in archives, including common archives terminology and search strategies.

Documents

The Library houses roughly 24 million pages of documents in over 400 collections of government and institutional records, constituent mail, staff files, and personal papers, including the Ernest Hemingway papers. Most of these collections are fully described in online finding aids.

Photographs

The Library houses roughly 517,000 original prints, contact sheets, negatives, transparencies, and albums that range from 1863 to the present. The bulk focuses on John F. Kennedy, but we also hold materials related to Kennedy family and administration members, the Boston area and the JFK Library, as well as Ernest Hemingway.

Audio

The Library houses roughly 15,200 sound recordings that range from 1910 to the present and cover speeches, press conferences, meetings, and telephone calls from the Kennedy administration, with limited coverage of pre-Presidential activities. Also included are recordings from Kennedy family and administration members, government agencies, and JFK Library events.

Film and Video

The JFK Library houses roughly 15,200 original video recordings and 4,800 original reels of film that range from 1910 to the present. The bulk documents the Kennedy Presidency, with limited coverage of pre-Presidential activities. We also hold a selection of materials recorded by government agencies, television networks and local stations, and home movies, as well as independently-produced documentaries/ retrospectives and videos on the JFK Library’s history.

Oral Histories

The Library’s two major oral history collections include over 1,600 interviews of people associated with John F. Kennedy and/or Robert F. Kennedy. Additional collections cover the Peace Corps Volunteer experience, Ernest Hemingway, and other individuals and topics related to the archival holdings.

Collection Policy and Donating Materials

The Library accepts donations of unique, original primary-source materials that fall within our collection development guidelines. Click here for additional information on our policies for evaluating and accepting donated materials into our holdings.