Inside the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts ©Author Adventures

John F. Kennedy and Profiles in Courage

Former United States President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) authored the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles In Courage, recommended for grades 8 and up. Each chapter features the story of a distinct member of Congress and the courage applied to extreme situations, self-sacrificially and for the greater good of the nation. Kennedy remains the only president to win a Pulitzer Prize. (Visit our X-ultations page for information about the Pulitzer and other types of literary prizes.)

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, near the water’s edge of the large metropolis of Boston, is a stylish step back in time with its modern architecture and ocean view. Visitors can watch films about the US’s 35th president’s life and career, see family photos, and learn about important people in his administration. Read about the life of John F. Kennedy here:

This presidential library was built in 1979. According to its website, “Located on a ten-acre park, overlooking the sea that he loved and the city that launched him to greatness, the Library stands as a vibrant tribute to the life and times of John F. Kennedy.”

Read his first State of the Union Address before visiting for background on what was happening in the nation then. We found it at

Also read the poem Kennedy read at its opening here:

Mementos of his First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, are on display too. We enjoyed reading essays she wrote as a young girl, the opportunity to peek in her closet, view her famous hats and purse up close and admire her elegant taste.

Kennedy had an impressive career in the United States Navy prior to his presidency that is also chronicled at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum:

“Lt. Kennedy was able to tow Patrick McMahon ashore, a strap from McMahon’s life jacket clenched between his teeth. Six days later two native islanders found them and went for help, delivering a message Jack had carved into a piece of coconut shell. The next day, the PT-109 crew was rescued.”

Particular highlights of the museum include an exhibit of moon rocks thought to be billions of years old, due to Kennedy’s emphasis on space exploration. Additionally, a large wall-size Presidential Seal is ready for photo opportunities.

Writing Contest

After visiting this inspirational institution and reading Kennedy’s masterpiece, high school students may feel motivated to enter the annual Profiles in Courage essay contest, which offers prizes up to $10,000. Information is available here:

Inside the Kennedy Presidential Library © Author Adventures

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is the third stop of Massachusetts Author Adventures Trail Part 1.

Patricia Smart