Joseph Patrick Kennedy, circa 1914

Joseph P. Kennedy

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 6, 1888, Joseph Patrick Kennedy was the son of Mary Hickey and Patrick Joseph Kennedy, an important figure in the Irish community of Boston. Familiarly known as "P.J.", Patrick J. Kennedy had risen from common laborer to highly successful businessman, and was eventually instrumental in the organization of two different Boston financial institutions, the Columbia Trust Company and the Sumner Savings Bank. Early on, Patrick J. Kennedy had also entered politics, and Joseph, his first child, was born during "P.J."'s third term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Patrick J. Kennedy also served in the Massachusetts Senate, but his enduring political power was in the unofficial capacity of a "ward boss" who held sway in the East Boston Ward 2 for more than thirty years.

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Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, London, circa 1939.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald was born in Boston’s North End on July 22, 1890, the eldest child of John F. (“Honey Fitz”) and Mary Josephine Hannon Fitzgerald.

She was first introduced to politics as a child. When she was 5, her father was a congressman. By the time she turned 15, Honey Fitz was one of the most popular and colorful mayors Boston had ever known. He once took Rose and her sister Agnes to visit President William McKinley in the White House, and the president at one point said to Agnes, "You're the prettiest girl who has entered the house." Rose remarked later, "I knew right then that I would have to work hard to do something about myself." Her graduation from Dorchester High School in June 1906 was front-page news in the Boston newspapers as Mayor Fitzgerald proudly gave his daughter her diploma.

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Ensign Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., United States Navy, circa 1942.

Joseph P. Kennedy Jr

Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., the oldest child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, was born on July 25, 1915. He attended the Choate School in Connecticut and the London School of Economics prior to entering Harvard, from which he graduated cum laude in 1938. He went on to Harvard Law School but left before his final year to volunteer as a navy flier. Awarded his wings in May 1942, he flew Caribbean patrols and in September 1943 was sent to England with the first naval squadron to fly B-24's with the British Naval Command.

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Rosemary Kennedy, April 1940.

Rosemary Kennedy

Rosemary Kennedy, born Rose Marie Kennedy on September 13, 1918, was the third child and eldest daughter of Joseph and Rose Kennedy. She was slower to crawl, slower to walk and to speak than her brothers, and she experienced learning difficulties when she reached school age. Despite her apparent intellectual disabilities, Rosemary participated in most family activities. In the diary she kept as a teenager she described people she met, dances and concerts she attended, and a visit to the Roosevelt White House. When her father was appointed US Ambassador to Britain in 1938, Rosemary went to live in London and was presented at court along with her mother and sister Kathleen.

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Kathleen Kennedy in her American Red Cross uniform, London, circa 1943.

Kathleen Kennedy

Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy was born on February 20, 1920 in Brookline, Massachusetts, the second daughter and fourth child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy. She moved with her family to Bronxville, NY in 1927 and attended the private Riverdale Country School. After graduating from Riverdale, she went to the Noroton Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Connecticut and spent a year abroad studying at the Holy Child Convent in Neuilly, France.

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Eunice Kennedy, circa 1952

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Eunice Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on July 10, 1921, the fifth of Rose and Joseph Kennedy’s nine children and their third daughter. She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in Noroton, Connecticut, and Manhattanville College, and received a B.S. degree in sociology from Stanford University in 1943.

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R. Sargent Shriver, first Director of the Peace Corps, circa 1962.

R. Sargent Shriver

Robert Sargent Shriver was born on November 9, 1915 in Westminster, Maryland to Robert and Hilda Shriver. After graduating from the Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut, which he attended on a full scholarship, Shriver spent the summer in Germany as part of the Experiment in International Living, returning in the fall of 1934 to begin college at Yale University. By his sophomore year, despite financial difficulties, Shriver became the senior editor for the Yale Daily News. The following summer, Shriver was once again invited to participate in the Experiment for International Living, but this time as a leader of a small group of students. Shriver graduated from Yale in 1938 and, with the help of scholarships, family, and friends, enrolled in Yale Law School.

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Patricia Kennedy, circa 1948

Patricia Kennedy Lawford

Patricia Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 6, 1924, the sixth child and fourth daughter of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. Patricia attended the Roehampton Sacred Heart Convent School, a boarding school on the outskirts of London, while her father was Ambassador to Great Britain. She was a good student, especially in mathematics. In 1927, her family moved to Bronxville, New York, where she studied at the Maplehurst Sacred Heart Convent School. She then attended Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pennsylvania where she directed and acted in various plays and theatrical spectacles. She received a B.A. from Rosemont in 1945

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JFKWHP-AR7993-B (crop): Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights Leaders with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, 22 June 1963

Robert F. Kennedy

Robert Francis Kennedy was born on November 20, 1925, in Brookline, Massachusetts, the seventh child in the closely knit and competitive family of Rose and Joseph P. Kennedy. "I was the seventh of nine children," he later recalled, "and when you come from that far down you have to struggle to survive."

He attended Milton Academy and, after wartime service in the Navy, received his degree in government from Harvard University in 1948. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School three years later. Perhaps more important for his education was the Kennedy family dinner table, where his parents involved their children in discussions of history and current affairs. "I can hardly remember a mealtime," Robert Kennedy said, "when the conversation was not dominated by what Franklin D. Roosevelt was doing or what was happening in the world."

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Ethel Kennedy

Ethel Skakel Kennedy

Ethel Skakel Kennedy was born on April 11, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois to coal magnate George Skakel, a Protestant, and his devoutly Catholic wife, Ann Brannack Skakel.

Ethel’s father, George Sr., started work as an eight dollars a week railroad clerk. He, along with some co-workers, built a small coal and coke business into a diversified privately owned enterprise, the Great Lakes Coal & Coke Co., which eventually became Great Lakes Carbon Corporation. As a result, the Skakels became extremely wealthy.

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Jean Kennedy, circa 1953

Jean Kennedy Smith

Jean Ann Kennedy, the eighth child and youngest daughter of Rose and Joseph Kennedy, was born on February 20, 1928 in Boston, Massachusetts. She attended Sacred Heart schools in England and the United States, and graduated from Manhattanville College, where she majored in English. After her brother Joe was killed in 1944 in World War II, Jean was chosen in 1945 to christen the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., a newly commissioned Navy destroyer named for her brother.

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Stephen Smith with President Kennedy at the White House.

Stephen E. Smith

Stephen Edward Smith was born in Brooklyn on September 24, 1927, the youngest of five boys. He attended Polytechnic Prep, where he was an outstanding athlete. While studying history and social sciences at Georgetown University, he met his future wife of thirty-four years, Jean Kennedy. They married in 1956. Their children are Stephen, Jr., William, Amanda, and Kym.

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JFKCAMP1960-PH-021 (crop):  Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy with Two Men (during John F. Kennedy's Presidential Campaign), Weirton Steel Company, Weirton, West Virginia, 21 April 1960

Edward M. Kennedy

Edward M. Kennedy was the third longest-serving member of the United States Senate in American history. Voters of Massachusetts elected him to the Senate nine times—a record matched by only one other Senator. The scholar Thomas Mann said his time in the Senate was “an amazing and endurable presence. You want to go back to the 19th century to find parallels, but you won‘t find parallels.” President Obama has described his breathtaking span of accomplishment: “For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health, and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.”

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Victoria Reggie Kennedy

Victoria Reggie Kennedy

Victoria Reggie "Vicki" Kennedy, born February 26, 1954, is an American lawyer and the widow of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy. The second of six children, she was born Victoria Anne Reggie in Crowley, Louisiana to Louisiana judge and banker Edmund M. Reggie and Doris Ann (née Boustany), a Democratic national committeewoman. She is of Lebanese descent, as all her grandparents were Maronites from Lebanon, who immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Louisiana. Her grandparents became important players in the local Roman Catholic church, and later their children became involved in business and politics.

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