Monday, January 23, 2012

The JFK Birthplace, Brookline, Massachusetts

The JFK birthplace is a National Park Service museum at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts.  Since it is part of the National Park system, tours are completely free.  It is self guided with an audio device narrated by his mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.  The Kennedy House is a very modest house for today's standards, and is furnished closely to how it would appear in 1917 when the Kennedy family lived here, with many of the original furnishings and personal objects.

According to the narration by Rose, baby John was born in the bed closest to the window so the Doctor would have good light during the procedure.  He was born about 3 PM on 29 May 1917, as the second son.   The future president baptized in the little church down the street, St. Aidan's on 158 Pleasant Street (This building closed as a church in 1999, and is now mixed income housing).   He lived in Brookline for the first ten years of his life. 

This white bassinet held three senators and a president!  

When the family lived here in this house, little John and his older brother Joseph, Jr. would sit in the child's table set up by the window during meals.  One of the little silver cups is engraved with Joseph, Jr.'s monogram.  The table is set with the family's original china and silver, donated to the museum.

The John F. Kennedy Birthplace website is  The house is closed in the winter, and will reopen to the public for tours on May 20, 2012.  It is located only 13 miles from the John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester, Massachusetts  where you can learn about the rest of the president's life, and use the archives.

This is a great trip for genealogists!  The JFK library is located next to the Massachusetts State Archives in Dorchester, and is near the Vital Records.  It is also not far from other Boston repositories of information, such as NEHGS, the Massachusetts Historical Society, The Boston Public Library and the North Eastern Regional  NARA facility in Waltham, Massachusetts.

New England Historic Genealogical Society 

Massachusetts Historical Society 

The Boston Public Library

North Eastern Regional National Archives

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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