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John F. Kennedy Presidential Resources

portrait_jfkThe 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 35th U.S. President, is November 22, 1963.  To commemorate this anniversary, I’d like to highlight some important government documents and research resources related to President Kennedy.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (one of 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration) is located in Boston, Massachusetts and its website can be found at http://www.jfklibrary.org/.  The museum is open to the public for tours and, according to the website, “Students and scholars can also arrange to conduct research using our collection of historical materials chronicling mid-20th century politics and the life and administration of John F. Kennedy.”  The website features the following information and resources: biographical information on John F. and Jacqueline B. Kennedy and the Kennedy family; Historic speeches; Historical context; Media Gallery; Interactive Exhibits; Information on research collections and holdings, finding aids and research guides; and Educational Resources for Teachers and Students.

The Government Printing Office (GPO) recently published the official, digital version of the Warren Commission Report on the agency’s Federal Digital System (FDsys).  “The commission was created by President Lyndon Johnson and chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate President Kennedy’s assassination. The 900-page report is available on FDsys . . . and contains numerous photos, maps and diagrams from the scene in Dallas, TX.”

GPO has also published on FDsys the post President Kennedy assassination audio tape recordings of conversations between various individuals in Washington, DC and Air Force One pilots and officials on board during the flight from Dallas to Andrews Air Force Base.

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President Kennedy’s Executive Orders and Proclamations are published in the Federal Register and in Title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations (available in print at the Law Library and online at HeinOnline).  Finding tools include Disposition Tables and the Codification of Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders.

The Public Papers of The Presidents of the United States, compiled and published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, is the official series in which Presidential writings, addresses, and remarks of a public nature are made available.  President Kennedy’s volumes are available in print at the Law Library and are available online in HeinOnline’s U.S. Presidential Library.

HeinOnline’s U.S. Presidential Library also has the following Kennedy-related materials:

  • Hearings before the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (26 v. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964)
  • Memorial Addresses in the Congress of the United States and Tributes in Eulogy of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Late a President of the United States (1 v. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1964)
  • New Frontiers of the Kennedy Administration: The Texts of the Task Force Reports Prepared for the President (1v. Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1961)
  • Report of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1 v. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964)

The American Presidency Project, is a freely-available online resource that has consolidated, coded, and organized into a single searchable database many presidential documents, papers, and materials, including the Public Papers of the President, inaugural addresses, speeches, remarks, and “thousands of other documents such as party platforms, candidates’ remarks, Statements of Administration Policy, documents released by the Office of the Press Secretary, and election debates.”  The site is currently featuring “The Legacy of JFK on the 50th Anniversary of His Assassination,” which includes Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, transcripts of his remarks made on November 22, 1963, and other speeches and remarks made during his time in office.

AR8255-KForeign Relations of the United States is the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions that have been declassified and edited for publication.  FRUS began with the Lincoln administration (1861) and includes primary source materials such as memos, letters, reports dealing with foreign policy, and transcriptions from Oval Office audiotapes.  The series is produced by the State Department’s Office of the Historian and printed volumes are available in the Law Library.  FRUS has been digitized by the U.S. Department of State (1945-1980), HeinOnline (1861-1980), and the University of Wisconsin (1864-1960).  Subjects covered by the Kennedy documents in FRUS (1961-1963) include Vietnam, the Soviet Union, Kennedy-Khrushchev Exchanges, Arms Control and Disarmament, National Security Policy, Foreign Economic Policy, Cuba and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Crisis, the Near East, South Asia, Africa, Laos, etc.

If you need help locating the print or online resources described above please contact a reference librarian.


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