AP: Caroline Kennedy unveiled the nation’s first online presidential archive Thursday, a $10 million project to digitize the most important papers, photographs and recordings of President John F. Kennedy’s days in office.
Users can sort through the drafts of Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you,” speech and see how he tinkered with the words of that most famous line from his inauguration. Or they can listen to his personal phone calls and read his letters.
….After four years of work, the Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston has made that a reality. Archivists digitized over 200,000 pages, 1,200 recordings and 300 museum artifacts, as well as reels of film and hundreds of photographs….
….For students across the country, the online archive will mean access to primary documents for school research. They could examine Kennedy’s correspondence with Martin Luther King Jr. from the time they first met to the time King was jailed in Birmingham, Ala.
Drafts of Kennedy’s speeches show how he was writing and editing along with speechwriter Theodore Sorensen, giving people a sense of the president’s power as a writer…
…January 20 is the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s inauguration….
John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museumhere
October 31: President Obama has issued a statement in honor of Ted Sorensen, the John F. Kennedy aide and speechwriter who died today at age 82:
I was so saddened to learn that Ted Sorensen passed away. I got to know Ted after he endorsed my campaign early on. He was just as I hoped he’d be — just as quick-witted, just as serious of purpose, just as determined to keep America true to our highest ideals.
From his early days desegregating a Nebraska pool to his central role electing and advising President Kennedy to his later years as an international lawyer and advocate, Ted lived an extraordinary life that made our country — and our world — more equal, more just, and more secure. Generations of Americans entered public service aspiring to follow in his footsteps.
Even as I mourn his loss, I know his legacy will live on in the words he wrote, the causes he advanced, and the hearts of anyone who is inspired by the promise of a new frontier. My heart goes out to his wife Gillian, his daughter Juliet, his sons, Eric, Stephen, and Philip, and the entire Sorensen family.
I was too young to remember John F. Kennedy’s presidency; I was born the year he took office. But I grew up hearing stories about him and his brothers from my mother and my grandparents — stories of hope, possibility and understanding.
I can still remember sitting on my grandfather’s shoulders in Hawaii, watching the Apollo astronauts return from a journey President Kennedy set in motion. Looking back, I think my own sense that America is a place of boundless possibility comes, in part, from moments like these; from the stories I heard about President Kennedy.
And I’m not alone. For millions of Americans and for millions of people around the world, John Kennedy’s life and presidency was a source of inspiration; calling us all to rise above whatever barriers of faith, race or station stand in our way; to live out our ideals and set no limits on our aspirations.
It’s a testament to President Kennedy that, although his presidency lasted only one thousand days, his legacy has endured, not only though his inspiring words, but through his inspiring life.
In a campaign where a vocal minority voiced its opposition to electing a Catholic president, he saw an America where people of all faiths could pursue their aspirations.
In an era when some critics doubted it could be done, he vowed to put a man on the moon — and to do it before the decade was out.
In the aftermath of the world’s first and only nuclear confrontation, at the height of the Cold War, he envisioned a world free from nuclear weapons — even when that seemed beyond our reach.
And at a time when Jim Crow divided this country, he knew that our nation would not be free until all its citizens were free — advancing a movement that would one day make it possible for me to occupy this office.
Together, these moments reflect JFK’s belief that there was no challenge that a determined America couldn’t meet; no frontier that the American people could not cross. It is a lesson that continues to inspire each of us to ask what we can do for our country, and one that will endure for generations to come.
November 8 will be the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s election