Exhibition reveals the Tiger inside John F. Kennedy

Memorabilia from John F. Kennedy’s brief stint as a Princeton student and items from his political career- including a 1935 Christmas card depicting Kennedy with his Princeton roommates dressed in top hats and suits in homage to Fred Astaire from the motion picture Top Hat (which opened earlier that year), and photographs and documents from the Warren Commission’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding Kennedy’s assassination- are part of a new exhibition in the Wiess Lounge at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Running through September 2, 2011, John F. Kennedy: From Old Nassau to the New Frontier commemorates the 50th anniversary of the election of our 35th President and his Princeton connections.

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This exhibition showcases the rarely-seen Princetonian side of Kennedy, who attended the University late in the fall semester of 1935 despite his father’s desire that he attend Harvard University. Unaware of his future in politics, Kennedy had declared his intended profession to be "banking" on his application and stated that the campus environment of Old Nassau was "second to none." Kennedy was admitted to the entering freshmen class in 1935 and shared a dormitory with his former Choate high school classmates Kirk LeMoyne Billings and Ralph Horton, Jr. in #9 Reunion Hall South. However, after a brief few weeks as a member of the Class of 1939 he left Princeton due to health reasons and later graduated from Harvard with the Class of 1940. The other presidents to have attended Princeton were James Madison and Woodrow Wilson.

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