Served: January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
Born: May 29, 1917
Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts
Died: November 22, 1963
Political Party: Democratic
Spouse: Jacqueline Bouvier
A Presidential Assassination Rocks the Nation
John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. He served one incomplete term in office, which ended on the day of his assassination in 1963. Kennedy, who was often referred to as JFK, became a symbol of a more innocent era when he was killed, even though his presidency was fraught with tensions.
Kennedy is known for being the youngest president ever elected, although Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest president in office. He was also the only president to win a Pulitzer Prize and to have a Catholic background.
A Playboy President Grows Up in Luxury
Kennedy came from a rather wealthy background, and as a young child he often had health problems.
He enrolled briefly at Princeton University and then at Harvard College, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1940. From there, he enrolled in classes at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Kennedy joined the Navy after his studies, where he received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal after a Japanese destroyer hit the submarine he was in. He helped the men on his ship get to safety, even carrying another wounded man, although his back had been injured in the crash too. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1945.
Kennedy also worked briefly as a special correspondent for Hearst Newspapers.
In 1953, he married Jacqueline Bouvier. Throughout his presidency, the Kennedys were portrayed glamorously in the media. However, as a family they experienced a number of tragedies, including miscarriages, the death of a child, and a stillbirth. Additionally, Kennedy had a number of affairs, including his most notorious, an alleged affair with actress Marilyn Monroe.
- Charlie, Welsh terrier
- Gaullie, French poodle
- Pushinka, mutt that was a gift from Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev
- Shannon, Irish cocker spaniel
- Wolf, Irish wolfhound
- Clipper, German shepherd
- Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie, Streaker — Pushinka and Charlie’s puppies
- Tom Kitten, cat
- Robin, canary
- Bluebell and Marybelle, parakeets
- Macaroni, Caroline Kennedy’s pony
- Tex and Leprechaun, ponies
- Debbie and Billie, hamsters
- Zsa Zsa, rabbit
- Sardar, Jacqueline Kennedy’s horse
MORE PETS! Check out our photo gallery of selected White House pets
A Young Charismatic President Murdered
After his time in the Navy, Kennedy began his political career and served in the House of Representative and the Senate as a Democrat. In 1960, he was elected as U.S. president. Various large-scale events happened during his presidency, including the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the civil rights movement, and the space race.
The beginnings of the Vietnam War started rumbling under Kennedy’s administration as well, although the heart of that war was undertaken during his successor’s presidency.
In 1963, Kennedy was assassinated, allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was himself killed by Jack Ruby before a trial and only two days after Kennedy’s assassination. Check out this video of the events:
Did You Know…?
- Upon his graduation from The Choate School in Connecticut, where he spent his ninth through 12th grade years, Kennedy was voted “most likely to succeed” in his school’s yearbook.
- During its investigation into Kennedy’s murder, the House Select Committee on Assassinations reported that initial findings of a lone killer were flawed and that Kennedy’s assassination was the direct result of a conspiracy.
- Kennedy had a great number of illnesses and pains, and he was seen by as many as three doctors at a time during his presidency. However, details of his health were not released to the public until the 1990s.