Today in 1917, John F. Kennedy — the 35th President of the United States, and the first to be born in the 20th century — was born in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Of Irish descent, President Kennedy was the youngest man to be elected President, and was also the youngest to die.
Graduating from Harvard in 1940, he entered the Navy. In 1943, when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries, led the survivors through perilous waters to safety.
Having returned from the war, he became a Democratic Congressman from the Boston area, advancing in 1953 to the Senate. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history. Read more about President Kennedy’s life and legacy here.
Aaron Shikler’s iconic 1971 portrait of President Kennedy in a contemplative pose hangs in the cross hall in the central corridor of the White House’s State Floor.
Watch White House Curator Bill Allman tell the story of that portrait, and how it came to be painted: