Selections from the JFK Archives

Selections from the JFK Archives

Selections from the JFK Archives

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 14 2011 2:38 PM

Selections from the JFK Archives

Yesterday,the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library unveiled a massive trove of newly-digitized material ,in anticipation of the 50 th anniversary of JFK's inauguration. Currently, thearchive features "approximately 200,000 pages; 300 reels of audio tape,containing more than 1,245 individual recordings of telephone calls, speechesand meetings; 300 museum artifacts; 72 reels of film; and 1,500 photos."

Included in that collection are the following historical gems.



Letter from JFK to his father, JosephKennedy, Sr. ( Unda ted )


The full note is two pages. A partial transcript:


"My recent allowance is 40¢. This I usedfor aeroplanes and other playthings of childhood but now I am a scout and I putaway my childish things. ... When I am a scout I have to buy canteens, haversacks,blankets, searchlights poncho things that will last for years and I can alwaysuse it while I can't use a chocolate marshmallow sunday with vanilla ice creamand so I put in a plea for a raise of thirty cents for me to buy scout thingsand pay my own way more around."


  JFK's Harvard application. ( 1935 )



The bar tab for RFK's bachelor dinner at theHarvard Club. ( June15, 1950 )



 Telegram from Harpo Marx to JFKcongratulating him on winning the 1960 election. ( July14, 1960 )


 Notecard from JFK's speech in Berlin withphonetic spelling of "Ich bin ein Berliner." ( 26June 1963 )



 Note from John, Jr. to JFK. ( Undated )


Images courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.


Some other favorites include:

Housereport from Choate School, (Undated)
"I regardthe matter of neatness or lack of it on Jack's part as quite symbolic - apart fromthe value if [ sic ] has in itself -for he is casual and disorderly in almost all of his organization projects.Jack studies at the last minute, keeps appointments late, has little sense ofmaterial value, and can seldom locate his possessions."

Letterfrom JFK's old girlfriend, Frances Ann Hersey. (1942)
"Who wasthat glamorous blonde you were trying to fill full of champagne for some evilpurpose at '21' the other night?"




Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.