Secondary sources

Many questions about John F. Kennedy and related topics may be answered by consulting published sources: reference works, monographs, newspapers, journals, encyclopedias, and compilations of presidential speeches. These helpful resources may be available at your local public, college, or university library.

To assist you in your search for helpful secondary sources, the Kennedy Library has joined GoodReads, where you'll find many books on a range of topics related to John F. Kennedy and his career.

Kennedy Library website

The Library's website is also an excellent place to begin your research. We encourage you to explore the following online resources in preparation for your visit or long-distance research. (Please note that audiovisual researchers are required to schedule appointments prior to coming to the Library.) For more information please contact or 617.514.1629. Have a research question? Ask an Archivist.

JFKWHP-ST-54-49-61 (crop): Presidential Train Communications Car, March 1961

Digital Collections

Listing of archival collections (textual and audiovisual) that have been digitized in full or in part, with links to digitized content.

Camelot at Dawn (Book Cover)


Lists of contemporary and classic secondary sources, organized by topic, that address the life, career, and times of President John F. Kennedy. 

NARA Presidential Libraries Seal

Online Finding Aids

Finding aids – detailed guides – are the primary tools for searching the contents of archival collections. Here you may browse an alphabetical listing of over 450 archival collections, with links to their descriptions and finding aids. (Print finding aids are also available in the research rooms.)

United States Information Agency (USIA) Seal

Online Ready Reference

Answers to frequently asked questions, transcripts of selected speeches given by John F. Kennedy, legislation passed or proposed during his administration, and other helpful resources.

EH06891P: Ernest Hemingway Looking at a Map with a Soldier during World War II, c. 1944

Online Research Guides

Research guides created by Archives staff; the guides bring together a range of archival resources on given subjects and are an excellent place to begin a research project.