Caroline Kennedy has launched the digitalized JFK archives, “Access to a Legacy”, a key part of 50th anniversary celebrations honoring President Kennedy’s Inauguration.
“President Kennedy inspired a generation and that is why 50 years later, his legacy still resonates,” his daughter told a packed press conference at the National Archives on January 13, 2011. She is president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
Here’s a small sampling, with links, to the “Access to a Legacy” archives — more than 200,000 pages; 1,000 official recordings of telephone conversations, speeches and meetings; 1,500 photos; and so much more:
John F. Kennedy’s swearing-in and inaugural address, with the famed words, “Ask not what your country can do for you…” January 20, 1961
Every draft of the speech, from his handwritten first draft, to the final draft where he wrote in two words, “at home”, referring to civil rights.
Cuban Missile Crisis
His recorded phone conversation with his predecessor, President Eisenhower, about whether the Soviets would start nuclear war if the US invades Cuba.
The map of Cuba JFK used and annotated at the time of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis — which came perilously close to igniting nuclear war.
Visit to Berlin, including his speech at the Berlin Wall June 26, 1963 at the height of the Cold War. President Kennedy thought that the Soviets would invade West Berlin, and start World War Three.
His handwritten note cards for his speech show the phonetic spelling of “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”). Some said his pronunciation meant “I am a jelly doughnut”, but experts have said that he pronounced it correctly.
Audio of JFK congratulating astronaut John Glenn on becoming the first American to orbit the earth, February 20, 1962.
Information for JFK’s White House meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr. just after Dr. King delivered his “I have a dream” speech at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963.
Film showing highlights of the last two days of President Kennedy’s life, including some radio narration of the assassination on November 22, 1963.
John F. Kennedy was the youngest man elected President, at age 43, and he was the youngest to die, at age 46, after only one thousand days in office.
As Caroline Kennedy said so eloquently at the press conference, “All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, they decided to give back to their community or serve our country because for the first time, someone asked them to. President Kennedy inspired a generation and that is why 50 years later, his legacy still resonates.”
The legacy of our 35th President, one of the 20th century’s most important, influential, and inspiring figures, is now only a click away.