An Insight into J. F. Kennedy, on Camera

The 29th May 2017 will mark 100 years since the birth of one of the most popular US presidents in history. John Fitzgerald ‘Jack’ Kennedy, also known as JFK, captured the hearts of the public during his time as America’s 35th president, up until his untimely death via assassination in 1963.

The Bridgeman Footage archive is home to candid clips of JFK with his wife and family, at home and on vacation, giving a unique insight into their personal lives and treasured memories. There are also clips of pivotal moments in his political career, such as the Cuban Crisis and his campaign against Nixon. Watch Kennedy in action alongside some facts about him that you may not have known before…

 

John F. Kennedy greeting supporters and speaking publicly, on the day of his assassination / Bridgeman Footage
John F. Kennedy greeting supporters and speaking publicly, on the day of his assassination / Bridgeman Footage

 

1. JFK’s application to Harvard University was just 5 lines long

He accepted an offer and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in international affairs. Before that he had attended Princeton University but was forced to leave after only two months due to a gastrointestinal illness.

 

2. It has been estimated that JFK had an IQ of around 158

He was therefore one of the most intelligent U.S. presidents of all time.

 

John and Jackie Kennedy on board their yacht with friends, 1963. / Bridgeman Footage
John and Jackie Kennedy on board their yacht with friends, 1963. / Bridgeman Footage

 

3. Kennedy was the richest man to ever take the oath of office

Had he lived, he would have inherited an estimated $1 billion dollars from his father, who was involved heavily with Wall Street. As he had so much money, he decided to donate all of his legislative salary to various charities.

 

4. Although John and Jackie are known for having two children, Jackie gave birth to four

There was a stillborn girl in 1956 and the president’s last child, Patrick, died only 2 days after being born and just 3 months before JFK himself died.

 

Kennedy children with pet pony and dog, playing, with John and Jackie Kennedy. / Bridgeman Footage
Kennedy children with pet pony and dog, playing, with John and Jackie Kennedy / Bridgeman Footage

 

5. JFK won a Pulitzer Prize in 1957

He won the prestigious prize after he published a book named Profiles in Courage, about U.S. Senators who risked their lives for their personal beliefs. However, a lot of the book was actually ghost-written by his aide, Theodore Sorensen.

 

6. Kennedy almost lost to Nixon

JFK defeated Nixon in the 1960 election when votes were counted in the Electoral College, by a margin of 303 to 219. However, his win was pretty narrow because if Nixon had won Illinois and Texas (two states where the vote-counting was under question), he would have defeated Kennedy by two votes in the Electoral College.

 

Part one, 2nd presidential campaign debate Kennedy - Nixon, 1960 / Bridgeman Footage
Part one, 2nd presidential campaign debate Kennedy – Nixon, 1960 / Bridgeman Footage

 

7. JFK asked Congress to create the Peace Corps as one of his first presidential acts

Through this program, Americans volunteer to help underdeveloped nations in areas such as education, farming, health care, and construction. Since 1961, over 200,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 139 countries.

 

8. Kennedy loved his Cuban cigars…

He bought 1,200 Cuban cigars just a few hours before signing the embargo against Cuba.

 

Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro, Kennedy and Khrushchev / Buff Film & Video Library / Bridgeman Footage
Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro, Kennedy and Khrushchev / Buff Film & Video Library / Bridgeman Footage

 

9. JFK wanted to collaborate with the Soviet Union for the space program

Kennedy was very concerned about the high costs of the space program and proposed that America join forces with the Soviet Union, asking ‘why should man’s first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition?’. Despite his worries, NASA and the nation successfully achieved the historic challenge he had set in 1961: to put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth before the end of the 1960s.

10. Kennedy stood up to the White House

The White House’s Correspondent’s dinner used to be male-only until 1962, when JFK refused to attend unless women were also there. He secretly installed a taping system in the White House in the same year, most likely to aid him in writing his future memoir.

 

Kennedy family paddle and barbeque in the White House garden. / Bridgeman Footage
Kennedy family paddle and barbeque in the White House garden. / Bridgeman Footage

 

11. JFK is the only Roman Catholic U.S. president in history

Due to his frequent ill health, he received last rites three times before his presidency.

 

12. JFK died younger than any other U.S. president to date

His was the fourth presidential assassination in a nation that was less than 200 years old. His killer, 24-year old Lee Harvey Oswald, had bought the rifle for $19.95. Oswald died two days later at the same hospital as Kennedy, after being shot on live TV by a nightclub operator.

 

After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; public and press reaction with news commentary / Bridgeman Footage
After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; public and press reaction with news commentary / Bridgeman Footage

 

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  1. Pingback: American Presidency: Who's Got Your Vote? - bridgeman blog

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