Archives Spotlight: The John Fitzegerald Kennedy Library and Museum

Today’s post comes from Nikita Buley, an intern in the National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications.

The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is located in Boston. The staff collect, preserve, and make publicly available over 48 million items related to the 35th President. These records include not only JFK’s writings and belongings, but also records of some of his family members, his administration officials, and other individuals and organizations.

The John Fitzerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Columbia Point in Boston, Massachusetts.

The permanent exhibits include materials from his 1960 Presidential campaign against then-Vice President Richard Nixon; the “Space Race” exhibit, featuring the Freedom 7 space capsule; a collection of Kennedy’s personal effects from the Oval Office; and video samples of the President’s televised press conferences—Kennedy used television extensively  to communicate with his constituents.

If you love Jackie Kennedy’s iconic style, check out the permanent exhibit “First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy” on her involvement in American arts and culture. The library also holds many of Jackie Kennedy’s clothes, photos of which are online.

The famous “pink coat,” designed by Oleg Cassini, was worn by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on her arrival in New Delhi, India, during her state visit on March 12, 1962. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Genealogists might enjoy the fascinating history of the Kennedy and Fitzgerald families, which is on permanent display with a collection of family heirlooms, artifacts, and photographs.

The Kennedy Commemorative Cup was presented to President John F. Kennedy by the New Ross Harbor Commissioners of Wexford during his state visit to Ireland, June 27, 1963. MO 63.1186a-b, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

The library holds the world’s largest collection of Ernest Hemingway archival materials. President Kennedy was a great admirer of Hemingway’s work. Hemingway’s wife, Mary, decided to give the collection to the library at the suggestion of William Walton, a journalist and writer who was friends with both the Kennedys and the Hemingways. Mary believed that the location would allow her husband’s works “a little personal distinction” and to be laid out for the public, displaying the complete writing process. The collection includes more than 10,000 photographs, over 1,000 manuscript items, several thousand letters, early 20th-century paintings, and rare books from Hemingway’s personal library.

Ernest Hemingway’s 1923 passport. EH-C06143D, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

For those closer to Washington, DC, than Boston, you can see documents, artifacts, and photographs from the Kennedy Library at “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” a new exhibition at the National Archives in Washington, DC, from October 12, 2012, through February 3, 2013. The exhibit showcases clandestine recordings from inside the White House, allowing visitors to listen in on the President and his advisers as they resolved the crisis. The exhibit will travel to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and open there on April 12, 2013.

Come delve into the life and times of JFK, and follow the Library and Museum on Facebook and Twitter!

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