The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

JFK’s Harvard application (with essay) and other school records

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The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy this Friday has prompted an avalanche of coverage about his life and death, including today’s visit to his graveside at Arlington Cemetery by President Obama and former President Bill Clinton. Here’s a look at something that hasn’t got much attention: his education.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has digitized a number of records relating to his educational experience, and here are some of those documents, including his Harvard University application — in his own handwriting — as well as his grades from The Choate School and a letter from his father, Joseph Kennedy, to the Harvard admissions dean explaining that JFK was “brilliant” but “careless” and “lacks ambition” for things that didn’t interest him.

JFK went to these schools: Through fourth grade, the Edward Devotion School, Noble and and Greenough Lower School and the Dexter School in Massachusetts; Riverdale Country Day School in New York from fifth through seventh grades;  the Canterbury School in Connecticut for eighth grade; The Choate School in Connecticut for high school. He attended Princeton University for no more than two months in 1935, and later enrolled and graduated from Harvard.

Take a look at his grades and his university application. You may be surprised.

Related:

PHOTOS:  JFK, the man behind Camelot – A selection of the best images from his life

JFK, the man behind Camelot

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epa03949112 (89/89) (FILE) A file picture shows John F. Kennedy aboard the PT-109 in the South Pacific, in 1943. 22 November 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy assassination on 22 November 1963 at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, USA. Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the shooting and was later killed himself on 24 November 1963 by a gunshot by Jack Ruby. EPA/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston/EPA)

JFK, the man behind Camelot

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epa03949112 (89/89) (FILE) A file picture shows John F. Kennedy aboard the PT-109 in the South Pacific, in 1943. 22 November 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy assassination on 22 November 1963 at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, USA. Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the shooting and was later killed himself on 24 November 1963 by a gunshot by Jack Ruby. EPA/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston/EPA)
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