About the Edward Kennedy Oral History

About the Edward Kennedy Oral History

On December 6, 2004, the Edward M. Kennedy Project was launched in a ceremony at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. In the past decade, this oral history has constructed an archive of spoken recollections and reflections that illuminates the late Senator Kennedy's public life, his vocation, the institution in which he has served, and the political world in which he moved.

The interviews cover a broad range of politically and biographically important topics, including Kennedy's pre-Senate years and mastering politics, his relationship to his brothers and their career choices, his rise to the Senate leadership, his political style, his Senate and presidential campaigns, his public causes and how he sought to advance them, and his legacy.

In addition to interviews with Senator Kennedy, the program's scholars interviewed others who knew him in various contexts, from different vantage points and throughout his life. Interviewees include family, friends, classmates, relevant campaign staffers, state and national party officials, key members of his Senate office, selected members of Congress and the executive branch, intellectuals, journalists, community activists, and selected public figures.

The end product is a collection of 280 oral history interviews, 29 of those with Senator Kennedy himself.

James Sterling Young, former chair of the Presidential Oral History Program, came out of retirement in 2004 to direct the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History Project.  He conducted over 120 of the interviews for this project, including, all 29 with Senator Kennedy.