The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation recently announced the launch of its online database of newly digitized records from the JFK Presidential Archives. These records have always been available in person at the library, but efforts to digitally preserve them and make them available to the general public on the Internet have now been realized through the Access to a Legacy program. Digitization of the entire collection remains underway, but the library's staff has completed collections that are considered to have the highest research significance. The following can now be accessed online:
- 200,000 pages from the President's Office Files, White House Central Chronological Files and JFK Personal Papers
- 1,245 recorded telephone calls, speeches and meetings from the White House Audio Collection
- 72 reels of film from the White House Film Collection
- 300 museum artifacts from a collection of State Gifts
- 1,500 photos from the White House Photograph Collection
Any one can search for records by keyword from the Digital Archives page of the library's web site. Faceted browsing of the search results allows users to narrow the search by source, object type, collection, subject, person, place, organization, contributor, or common search terms. Alternatively, use the advanced search feature to narrow keyword parameters and select a range of dates or an object type. If you want to browse everything in a particular area of interest, search from this list of subjects contained in the archival materials, which include major topics from JFK's presidency. Read here for more search tips.
Click on the image below to see what kind of information is kept with each record.
Archivists believe that the digitization of the JFK Library's records can serve as a model for other presidential libraries and archival institutions housing older records that were not "born online." Learn about the logistics of the digitization process here. For more information about presidential archives, read our previous entry.
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