U.S. Presidents / John F. Kennedy

Portrait of John F. Kennedy

1917 - 1963

John F. Kennedy

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans... Inaugural Address


John F. Kennedy was born into a rich, politically connected Boston family of Irish-Catholics. He and his eight siblings enjoyed a privileged childhood of elite private schools, sailboats, servants, and summer homes. During his childhood and youth, "Jack" Kennedy suffered frequent serious illnesses. Nevertheless, he strove to make his own way, writing a best-selling book while still in college at Harvard and volunteering for hazardous combat duty in the Pacific during World War II. Kennedy's wartime service made him a hero. After a short stint as a journalist, Kennedy entered politics, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 and the U.S. Senate from 1953 to 1961.

Fast Facts

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Brookline, Massachusetts
Harvard (1940)
Roman Catholic
Author, U.S. Navy Officer, Journalist, Public Official
“JFK,” “Jack”
September 12, 1953 to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1929–1994)
Caroline Bouvier (1957– ); John Fitzgerald, Jr. (1960–1999); Patrick Bouvier (1963)
Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
Marc Selverstone

Chicago Style

Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “John F. Kennedy.” Accessed July 16, 2024. https://millercenter.org/president/kennedy.

Associate Professor

Marc J. Selverstone

Marc J. Selverstone is Chair of the the Presidential Recordings Program and University of Virginia Associate Professor.