Secondary sources

Many questions about John F. Kennedy and related topics may be answered by consulting published sources: reference works, scholarly monographs, newspapers, journals, encyclopedias, biographies, 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 legacy.

Kennedy Library website

Our 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

We are in the process of digitizing many of our archival holdings, which include textual, audiovisual, and artifactual collections. Some collections are digitized in full, such as the President's Office Files and the John F. Kennedy Personal Papers. Other collections, including the White House Photographs and the Presidential Recordings (part of the President's Office Files), are digitized in part and continue to grow every day.

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 to collections – are the primary tools for locating archival materials available to you. Here you may browse the more than 400 finding aids and collection abstracts published on our website. (Print finding aids are also available in our Main Research Room.) You may also search our collections.

United States Information Agency (USIA) Seal

Online Ready Reference

Here you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions, transcripts of selected speeches given by John F. Kennedy, a summary of legislation passed or proposed during President Kennedy’s administration, and other helpful resources.

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

Online Research Guides

Library staff has developed a number of research guides on topics of interest to researchers. The guides, which bring together a range of archival materials on given subjects, are an excellent place to begin a research project.