John Fitzgerald Kennedy

(1917–1963)

John F. Kennedy

Anecdote 1...

In 1962, when Kennedy was President, he arranged a White House dinner for a group of intellectuals, most of them Nobel Prize winners in their respective fields. He welcomed them with a short speech, during which he said, “There has never been such a collection of talent and intellect gathered in this room since Thomas Jefferson dined here alone.”

Anecdote 2...

During World War II Kennedy held a commission in the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific. In August 1943 in Blackett Strait in the Solomon Islands, a Japanese destroyer rammed his ship. Kennedy, with some others, reached a nearby island but found it was held by the Japanese. He and another officer then swam to another island, where they persuaded the inhabitants to send a message to other U.S. forces, who rescued them. Kennedy’s comment on his reputation as a hero: “It was involuntary. They sank my boat.”

Anecdote 3...

Kennedy enjoyed telling this story against himself. He said that during an election campaign his father sent him the following telegram: “Don’t buy a single vote more than necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.”

Kennedy Family Album

Biographical Note: 

John F. Kennedy (JFK) was the 35th president of the United States (1961-63). The first Roman Catholic to become president, Kennedy made a great impact on the nation before he was assassinated in 1963.