John F. Kennedy in the Collections

In 1960, Kennedy, then a senator from Massachusetts, defeated opponent Richard Nixon to become the 35th and youngest elected president. The country was entranced by his charisma, his stylish wife, Jackie and their two small children—the first young family to live in the White House since Theodore Roosevelt 60 years before. Kennedy’s agenda promised new opportunities in an age of accelerating challenges. Yet his initiatives and reforms for containing the Cold War, increasing civil rights, and exploring space never came to fruition during his presidency, which was curtailed by an assassin’s bullet. Still, his legacy lives on in such programs as the Peace Corps and space exploration when, in 1969, Americans walked on the moon.