Fast Facts about John F. Kennedy

FY P30: John F. Kennedy's Harvard College Yearbook Entry, 1940

The following information about John F. Kennedy is arranged alphabetically by topic. For more information please contact Kennedy.Library@nara.gov or 617.514.1629. Have a research question? Ask an Archivist.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

A

Airport, New York City: The law changing the name of Idlewild International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport was signed by New York Mayor Robert Wagner on Wednesday, December 18, 1963. A dedication ceremony was held on Tuesday, December 24, 1963 at 11:00 AM. See the New York Times article of December 19, 1963, p. 25.

Appointment Books, General Information: The White House appointment books were kept by Evelyn Lincoln, the President's secretary, and recorded his workday appointments and activities. The Kennedy administration White House appointment books are by no means the complete record of the President's activities that such books tend to be for modern presidents.

Armorial Bearings of President John F. Kennedy

Assassination:

  • November 22, 1963
  • Dallas, Texas (Dealy Plaza)
  • 12:30 p.m., CST (time approx.)
  • Pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital 1:00 p.m., CST
  • First press report by UPI 12:34 p.m. CST

B

Back Brace: Markings on the brace that President Kennedy wore indicate that it came from the Washington, D.C. firm of Nelson Kloman Surgical Supply Company.

Baseball: During his school years, John F. Kennedy played baseball as a pitcher (right-handed) and third baseman. John F. Kennedy threw out the opening day pitch for the Washington Senators, who were playing the Baltimore Orioles, on April 8, 1963.

Birth: May 29, 1917. John F. Kennedy was born in the master bedroom on the second floor of 83 Beals Street, Brookline, Massachusetts.

Boats:

  • The Manitou:
    • Length: 62 feet overall (44 feet on water line). Beam: 13 feet. Draft: 9 feet.
    • Power: gasoline engine (7-8 knots).
    • Equipment: radio direction finder, fathometer, radio telephone.
    • Accommodations: icebox, propane stove, usable fireplace, head forward, and head admidships. Sleeps 3 crew forward, 4 in main cabin and the main stateroom aft sleeps 2.
    • Marconi rigged yawl.
    • Requires at least 3 experiened hands to sail her and another 2 or 3 to handle the sails and gear.
    • In addition to regular working sails, has a complete set of racing sails.
    • Designed for off-shore sailing with comfortable accommodations.
    • Donated in 1955 to the Coast Guard Academy.
    • Built in 1947 by M. M. Davis and Son in Solomans, Maryland for the James Lowes of Chicago.
    • Named after Manitou Passage in Lake Michigan. "Manitou" means "Spirit of the Water."
    • Chosen by President Kennedy in 1962: "floating White House."
    • Sold by government (Defense Surplus Sales Office) on May 23, 1968 to the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship at Piney Point, Maryland for $35,000. Used for training the Merchant Marine.
  • Honey Fitz:
    • Length: 92' 3"
    • Beam: 16' 6"
    • Draft: 4' 10"
    • Cruising Speed: 12 knots
    • Weight: 88 tons
    • Built: 1931 by Defoe Boat Works in Bay City, Michigan
  • Marlin:
    • Owned by the Kennedy family from 1952 to 1970.
    • Length: 52'. Beam: 12'. Draft: 3.5'.
    • Commissioned by Edsel Ford.
    • Designed by Boston naval architect Walter J. McInnis and constructed by F. D. Lawley of Quincy, Massachusetts in 1930.
    • Rum-runner hull configuration and two Sterling Dolphin six-cylinder 300hp engines allow speeds of thirty knots and more.
    • Built of double plank mahogany with wide hull and varnished superstructure.
    • Open cockpit forward measuring 9' x 10'.
    • Combination galley and crew's quarters aft of the forward cockpit.
    • Originally designed with open bridge and powered by Chrysler Royal 3 cylinder marine engine.
    • Special equipment: fathometer and ship-to-shore radio.
  • The Caroline K.
    • Classed as an outboard runabout.
    • 17' in length, 5' beam.
    • Cruising speed 35 mph.
    • Built by Kenway Boat Co., of Saco, Maine.
    • Purchased by Joseph P. Kennedy in July 1960 as a birthday gift for Jacqueline Kennedy.
    • Powered by a 75hp Evinrude outboard motor.
  • The Flash II:
    • A one-design International Star Class boat No. 902.
    • Built in 1930, it was sold to John F. Kennedy and his brother Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. in 1934. After Joseph was killed in 1944, the boat was sold to a sailor in Maine.
  • The Victura:
    • Wiano Senior Class Sloop, 25' long 8' wide, 3500 lbs
    • Built by Crosby Boatyards, Osterville, MA in 1932.

Books, Favorites as Child (Rose Kennedy Personal Papers, "Modern Times: Memorials, grandchildren, etc. and the future")

  • Arabian Nights 
  • Billy Whiskers series 
  • Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson 
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson 
  • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson 
  • King Arthur and the Round Table by A.M. Hadfield 
  • Lays of Ancient Rome by Thomas Macauley 
  • The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling 
  • Kim by Rudyard Kipling 
  • Bambi by Felix Salten 
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe 
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrier 
  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell 
  • Story of a Bad Boy by Thomas B. Aldrich 
  • Wing and Wing by James Fenimore Cooper 
  • Biography of a Grizzly by Ernest T. Seton 
  • At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald 
  • Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan 
  • Wonder Tales From East and West, Introduction by Maud Wilder Goodwin

Books, Favorites as President (White House Central Subject Files, Box 722, "PP 15-5: Preferences and hobbies, Books-Authors-Poetry-Prose-Fiction")

  • Lord Melbourne by David Cecil 
  • Montrose by John Buchan 
  • Marlborough by Sir Winston Churchill 
  • John Quincy Adams by Samuel Flagg Bemis 
  • The Emergence of Lincoln by Allan Nevins 
  • The Price of Union by Herbert Agar 
  • John C. Calhoun by Margaret L. Coit 
  • Talleyrand by Duff Cooper 
  • Byron in Italy by Peter Quennell 
  • The Red and the Black by M. de Stendhal 
  • From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming 
  • Pilgrim's Way by John Buchan

Boy Scouts: The President was a Boy Scout in Troop 2 for two years in Bronxville, New York. He was also active in the Boston Council from 1946 to 1955: as District Vice Chairman, Member of the Executive Board for more than four years, Vice President for one year, and National Council Representative for two years. He was Honorary President of the National organization of the Boy Scouts of America in 1961.

C

Campaign 1946: On April 25, 1946, John F. Kennedy entered the race for the 11th Congressional District seat, which was being given up by James Michael Curley. The District comprised Boston wards 1, 2, 3, and 22; Cambridge; and Somerville wards 1, 2, and 3.

Campaign 1952: Announced his candidacy on April 6, 1952.

Car: 1959 Pontiac Convertible Coupe. Vehicle Identification/Engine #859F-1111.

Christmas Cards (White House)

Churches Attended

Condolence Card sent by Mrs. Kennedy

Cigars: John F. Kennedy smoked 4-5 a day. His preference was for Upmanns or Monticellos. (White House Central Subject Files, Box 722, "PP 15: Preferences and Hobbies, General")

Confirmation Name: Francis

Cuban Missile Crisis: List of letters exchanged by Kennedy and Khrushchev. Also a chronology of events.

D

Desk in the Oval Office: History of desk, and items it contained

Doodles: From 1952 until the President's death, Mrs. Evelyn Lincoln, his personal secretary, accumulated and catalogued these materials. Most of the doodles are part of the Personal Papers of John F. Kennedy and further information can be found in the finding aid of that collection.

E

Election 1960: Announced his candidacy January 2, 1960 in Washington, DC.

Schedule of debates:

  • First Debate, 9/26/60: Originated from CBS in Chicago and was carried by all networks. Watched by an estimated 70,000,000 people.
  • Second Debate, 10/7/60: Originated from NBC in Washington, D.C. carried by all networks. 
    Third Debate, 10/13/60: Entitled "Face-to-Face, Nixon-Kennedy" originated ABC Hollywood (Nixon) and New York (John F. Kennedy) carried by all networks.
  • Fourth Debate, 10/21/60: Originated from ABC New York carried by all networks.

Eulogies to President Kennedy Delivered in the United States Capitol, 11/24/63

F

Favorites:

  • Quotations:
    • "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." (Edmund Burke)
    • From One Man's America, by Alistair Cooke: On the 19th of May, 1780, as Mr. Cooke describes it, in Hartford, Connecticut, the skies at noon turned from blue to gray and by mid-afternoon had blackened over so densely that, in that religious age, men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end came. The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. And as some men fell down in the darkened chamber and others clamored for an immediate adjournment, the Speaker of the House, one Colonel Daveport, came to his feet. And he silenced the din with these words: "The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles may be brought."
    • From Dante's Inferno.
    • From Shakespeare.
  • Sports: Golf, Sailing, Swimming, Tennis

Funeral:

  • After Action Report 
  • Casket Information: President Kennedy had two caskets. The first, which was used in transit from Parkland Memorial Hospital to Bethesda Naval Hospital, was a Handley Britannia model manufactured by the Elgin Casket Company. The casket, a 400-pound, double-walled, hermetically sealed coffin made of solid bronze, was damaged when it was removed from Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base on November 22, 1963. The second (burial) casket was selected at Joseph Gawler's Sons, Inc. of Washington, D.C. Manufactured by the Marsellus Casket Company, the coffin was made of hand-rubbed, 500-year-old African mahogany and upholstered in white rayon.
  • Eulogies at U.S. Capitol
  • Music
  • Pallbearers ("We carried Kennedy's coffin," by Ed Hymoff, Pageant magazine, December 1965.)
    • George A. Barnum (Coast Guard)
    • Hubert Clark (Navy)
    • Timothy F. Cheek (Marines)
    • Richard E. Gaudreau (Air Force)
    • Samuel R. Bird (Army, commanding)
    • James L. Felder (Army)
    • Douglas A. Mayfield (Army)
    • Larry B. Smith (Navy)
    • Jerry J. Diamond (Marines)

G

Godfather: Thomas A. Fitzgerald (maternal uncle)

Godmother: Loretta Connelly (aunt)

Grave:

  • Description
  • Inscription on granite wall below grave: Excerpts taken from President Kennedy's January 1961 Inaugural Address. Stonework was done by John E. Benson of Newport, Rhode Island
  • Children: On December 4, 1963 the bodies of John F. Kennedy's unnamed baby girl, still-born on August 23, 1956, and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, who died on August 9, 1963 two days after birth, were brought to Washington, DC. aboard the Kennedy family plane, the "Caroline," then interred in graves on either side of their father, the girl to the right, the boy to the left, at Arlington National Cemetery. They were moved along with their father to the permanent grave on March 14, 1967.

H

Harvard Years:

  • Address 1939-40: Winthrop House F 14
  • Field of Concentration: Government
  • Graduation Date: June 20, 1940, S. B. cum Laude

Height: 6' 1" 

"High Hopes" Campaign Song: Sung by Frank Sinatra to the tune of his 1959 hit single, "High Hopes," but with lyrics changed in support of the 1960 Democratic presidential candidate.

I

Inaugural Address: Fewer than 1900 words (the shortest since 1905), between 16-17 minutes long.

Inaugural Poem (Robert Frost)"The Gift Outright." Frost had composed a longer poem, "For John F. Kennedy His Inauguration," but was apparently unable to see his text in the mid-day glare and recited the older poem instead.

Inauguration:

  • Oath: Administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren
  • Bible held by Clerk of the Supreme Court James Browning, later a Federal Appellate Judge in the 9th district with offices in San Francisco
  • See the Boston Globe, Saturday, January 21, 1961 for a story on the family's children during the inaugural. 

L

Legislation:

  • First bill signed into law: (PL 87-3) an act restoring military rank to former President Eisenhower. Signed 3/22/61.
  • Last bill signed into law: (PL 88-185) authorizing the striking of medals to commemorate the founding of the first union health center of the ILGWU. Signed 11/20/63.
  • Summaries of legislation passed during Kennedy years are contained in the publication Summary of the Three-year Kennedy Record and Digest of Major Accomplishments of the Eighty-seventh Congress and the Eighty-eighth Congress, United States Congress.

License: #53332D

License Plate: As Senator: MA-1995

Limousine, Presidential: 1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine "X-100" in "metalic navy blue." Equipped with two jump seats, the car could seat six adults. The blue interior had mouton carpeting on the floor, a wool broadcloth roof interior and all leather seats. Storage space for machine guns under the front seat and in the trunk compartment. Rear seat power operated and rose approximately ten and one half inches, putting the President in full view. Contained foot stands for the President's feet. Accessories: two flagstaffs (one on each front fender), two flashing type red lights located just above the front bumper, a siren, two spotlights for the flags on the fender, a two way radio telephone, an A-M radio and speaker in the rear compartment, a floodlight to illuminate the rear seat, lap robes incorporating the Presidential Seal, grab handles, a first aid kit, emergency light fire extinguisher. A continental rear tire arrangement at the rear held the spare tire. On either side of the tire was a stand for secret service men, as well as toward the front and rear on each side.

M

Movies: The following are some of the movies that John F. Kennedy saw during his presidency:

  • Spartacus, February 3, 1961
  • The World of Apu, February 16, 1961
  • One-Eyed Jack, March 30, 1961
  • All in a Night's Work, April 2, 1961

N

Navy Years:

  • Draft number information: While at Stanford in 1940, John F. Kennedy registered for the draft. Thirteen days later Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, blindfolded, reached into the ten-gallon "fishbowl" and began drawing numbers for the draft lottery. On the eighteenth draw he pulled out number 2748, Kennedy's. As a college student, however, he was able to defer until July of 1941.
  • Separation information: Serial # 116071/1109
  • Medals and awards:
    • Navy and Marine Corps Medal
    • Purple Heart Medal
    • American Defense Service Medal
    • American Campaign Medal (LST-449 P19-1)
    • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with 3 bronze stars) (PT-59 P24-4)
    • World War II Victory Medal PT-109 P21-1

    O

    Officials of the Kennedy Administration: January 20, 1961 - November 22, 1963.

    Oval Office: Listing of items in the office and on the desk.

    P

    Pets in the White House: Two parakeets: Bluebell and Maybell; three dogs: Charlie, Pushinka and Clipper; and two ponies: Macaroni and Tex. Complete list of pets.

    Portraits: The portraits of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline B. Kennedy hanging in the White House were painted by Aaron Shikler.

    Presidential Medal of Freedom (Papers of John F. Kennedy. Presidential Papers. President's Office Files. Subjects. Medal of Honor, Medal of Freedom)

    PT 109:

    • P.T. 109 was built by the Elco Naval Division of the Electric Post Company in Bayonne, N.J. It was delivered to the Navy on July 10, 1942. Fitting was completed at the New York Naval Shipyard. Lieutenant John F. Kennedy took command of P.T. 109 on April 24, 1942. He was the third commander of the ship. It was cut in two by the Japanese destroyer Amagari on 8/2/43.
    • Words on Coconut: Lieutenant Kennedy sent a message by way of friendly islanders who had found him and his men after their shipwreck. The message was composed of these words carved into the skin of a coconut: NAURO ISL...COMMANDER...NATIVE KNOWS POS'IT...HE CAN PILOT...11ALIVE...NEED SMALL BOAT...KENNEDY.

    Q

    Quotations

    R

    Reading Speed: John F. Kennedy could read 1,200 words a minute. In 1954-1955 he attended meetings at the Foundation for Better Reading in Baltimore.

    Residences

    S

    Secret Service Code Names

    Senate Office: Room #362 Senate Office Building

    Social Security Number: 026-22-3747

    Speeches

    Sunglasses: Two pairs of glasses with tortoise shell frame, one with inscriptions "American Optical" and "True color Polaroid tc74-51" and the other with "Cabana TS 2505."  

    T

    Television Appearances (Before September 26, 1960)  

    V

    Voting Record and Stands on Issues, Pre-Presidential

    W

    Wedding Details