The Kennedy Legacy

Not just politics as usual

Family history

Around 1849   Patrick Kennedy and Thomas Fitzgerald emigrate from Ireland to the USA.

1888   Birth of Joseph Kennedy

1890   Birth of Rose Fitzgerald

1914   Joseph Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald marry

1915   Birth of Joseph ‘Joe’ Kennedy Jr. (July 25)

1917   John Fitzgerald (Jack) Kennedy is born in Brookline, Massachusetts (May 29)

1918 – 32   Birth of siblings Rosemary (1918), Kathleen (1920), Eunice (1921), Patricia (1924), Robert (Bobby) Francis (1925), Jean Ann (1928), Edward (Ted) Moore (1932)

1927   The family moves to New York
1929   Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (Jackie) is born in Southampton, New York (July 28)
1938   Joseph Kennedy becomes ambassador to Great Britain

1940   John F. Kennedy completes his studies in politics, history, and economics at Harvard with a thesis on the British politics of appeasement; the thesis is published as a book entitled Why England Slept

1941 Rosemary Kennedy (23) underwents a prefrontal lobotomy which leaves her permanently incapacitated. Till her death in 2005 she’s institutionalized in Wisconsin.

1943   John F. Kennedy’s patrol torpedo boat, PT-109, is rammed and sunk in the Pacific by a Japanese destroyer; Kennedy is decorated for his wartime service; because of increasingly severe back pains he leaves the military.

1944   Joe Kennedy, Jr. dies during a mission over the English Channel (August 12); the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation is founded in his memory two years later.

1946   John F. Kennedy wins the election in the 11th Congressional district of Massachusetts and becomes a Congressional Representative in Washington; he is re-elected in 1948 and 1950

1948   Kathleen Kennedy (Lady Hartington) dies in a plane crash (May 13)

1952   Kennedy defeats Henry Cabot Lodge to win a seat in the Senate; he is re-elected by a larger margin in 1958

1953   John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier marry in the stylish resort of Newport, Rhode Island (September 12)

1954   Patricia Kennedy marries the British actor Peter Lawford, who belongs to the so-called Rat Pack, along with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Sammy Davis, Jr. (April 23)

1955 A tragedy occurs when John and Jackie Kennedy’s daughter Arabella is stillborn

1956   John F. Kennedy narrowly misses winning the nomination of his party for the office of Vice President

1957   John F. Kennedy receives the Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles in Courage

1957   Eunice Kennedy Shriver takes over as chair of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, which is involved in research into intellectual disabilities and the improvement of the quality of life of those who have intellectual disabilities

1957   Caroline Kennedy is born (November 27)

1960 John F. Kennedy announces his candidacy for the office of President (January)

1960   Kennedy is nominated in Los Angeles as the Democratic Presidential candidate; he gives his “New Frontier” speech there (July); in November he narrowly wins the election against Republican Richard Nixon

1960   John F. Jr. (John-John) is born (November 25)

1961   John F. Kennedy is inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States; Lyndon B. Johnson becomes Vice President; Robert F. Kennedy becomes Attorney General (January 20)

1961   First live broadcast of a Presidential press conference (January 25)
1961   Establishment of the Peace Corps (March 1)

1961   Kennedy proposes the Alliance for Progress (March 13)

1961 The attempted invasion of the Bay of Pigs ends in a fiasco (April 17)

1961   Kennedy announces the goal to put a man on the moon in ten years (May 25)

1961   Summit meeting in Vienna with Khrushchev (June 3 – 4)

1961   Kennedy’s televised address on the Berlin crisis (July 25)

1961   Erection of the Berlin Wall (August 13)

1961   Joseph Kennedy suffers a stroke which causes severe paralysis (December 19)

1962   Jackie Kennedy presents the renovated White House to the television public (February 14)

1962   John and Robert Kennedy send federal marshals to help James Meredith register as the first African American student at the University of Mississippi (September 30-October 1)

1962   Photos from spy planes record the construction of Soviet nuclear missile installations in Cuba. During the “thirteen days” of the Cuban Missile Crisis the world stood at the brink of nuclear war (October 16–28)

1962   In a special election, Ted Kennedy is elected to the Massachusetts Senate seat previously held by his brother; since 1964 he has been re-elected every six years by a large margin.

1963   “Peace Speech” at American University in Washington (June 10)
1963   Televised speech on civil rights; Kennedy announces a civil rights act (June 11)

1963   Kennedy visits the Federal Republic of Germany (June 23-26); he gives his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech at the Schöneberg city hall in Berlin (June 26); he subsequently travels to Ireland.

1963   John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas (November 22); Lyndon Johnson is his successor

1963   Kennedy is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington (November 25)

1964   In September, Robert Kennedy resigns from the office of Attorney General and is elected as Senator from New York in November

1968   Robert Kennedy announces that he will seek the Democratic Presidential nomination (March 18)

1968   Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated (April 4)

1968   Robert Kennedy dies after being shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles during an election campaign event following his victory in the California Democratic primary (June 6)

1968   Thousands of Americans stand along the tracks and watch as the coffin with Robert Kennedy’s remains is transported by train from New York City to Washington D.C., where he is buried near his brother John at Arlington National Cemetery (June 8)

1968   Under the leadership of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation sponsors the first International Special Olympics summer games

1968   Jackie Kennedy marries the Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis

1969 (July) Chappaquiddick makes an end to Ted Kennedy’s presidential aspirations when he drives off a bridge and the woman besides him drowns.

1969   Joseph Kennedy dies at the age of 81 in Hyannis, Massachusetts (November 18)

1979   The John F. Kennedy Library in Boston is opened with great ceremony

1980   Ted Kennedy fails in his bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination

1981   Patricia Kennedy Lawford founds the National Committee for the Literary Arts for the promotion of literature

1984 David Kennedy dies of a drugs overdose

1986   Maria Shriver, daughter of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, marries the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Schwarzenegger is elected Governor of California in 2003

1987   Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, son of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, becomes a Congressional Representative from Massachusetts (until 1999); he becomes involved with the Citizens Energy Corporation, an energy venture that, among other things, provides the poor with affordable heating

1989   Anthony P. Shriver, son of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, founds Best Buddies, an international organization whose goal is the social integration of those with intellectual disabilities

1994   Jackie Kennedy dies in New York (May 19)

1995   Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy dies at the age of 104 (January 22)

1995   Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the eldest daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, becomes Lieutenant Governor of Maryland (until 2003); in 2002 she loses the election for Governor

1995   Patrick Joseph Kennedy, youngest son of Ted and Joan Kennedy, becomes a Congressional Representative from Rhode Island

1997   Timothy P. Shriver, son of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, becomes chair of the supervisory board of the Special Olympics

1997 (December) Michael Kennedy dies after ski accident in Aspen at the age of 39

1999   John F. Kennedy, Jr. dies along with his wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and his sister-in-law Lauren Bessette in a plane crash (July 16)

2001   President George W. Bush renames the headquarters of the Department of Justice the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building (November 20)

2002   Robert Sargent Shriver III, called Bobby, the eldest son of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, founds the organization Debt Aids Trade in Africa (DATA) along with Bono from the rock band U2; DATA promotes debt cancellation and the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa

2005   Rosemary Kennedy dies in a nursing home in Wisconsin (January 7).

2005   Best Buddies Germany is founded in Berlin

2006   Patricia Kennedy Lawford dies at age 82 (September 17)

2008 (February) Kennedy Family endorses Senator Barack Obama for President



2008 Edward Kennedy diagnosed with malignant brain tumor (May).

2008 Caroline Kennedy announces interest in vacant Senate seat of Hillary Clinton (December).



2009 Caroline withdraws from consideration for the seat

2009 Eunice Kennedy Shriver (88) suffers a stroke and dies in the hospital (August 11).

2009  - Ted Kennedy (77) dies of brain cancer (August 25).

2011 - Patrick Kennedy does not seek re-election for Congress. With his retirement in January he was the last remaining member of the Kennedy Family to serve in an elective office in Washington.

2011 50th anniversary of JFK presidency (January).

2011  51-year old Kara Kennedy, oldest daughter of Ted, dies of a heart attack at the gym, leaving her two teenage children behind. (September 15)

2012 Joseph P. Kennedy III announces his run for Congress in Massachusetts (January).



2012 Mary Richardson Kennedy, former wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr, hangs herself on the grounds of her home located in Bedford, Westchester County,New York (May 16).

2012 Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, involved in a hit-and-run crash, caused by an ambien (July 13).

2012 Joseph P. Kennedy III elected to United States Congress (November)