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President John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy American History The Kennedys Biographies Government Social Studies American Presidents

John F. Kennedy (JFK) was the 35th president of the United States. He served in that capacity from January 20, 1961 to November 22, 1963 (the day he was assassinated).

Never in good health throughout his life, young Jack contracted scarlet fever when he was three years old. Regarding his bout with that illness, the Kennedy Library's biography on the president notes this:

On February 20, 1920 when Jack was not yet three years old, he became sick with scarlet fever, a highly contagious and then potentially life-threatening disease. His father, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, was terrified that little Jack would die. Mr. Kennedy went to the hospital every day to be by his son’s side, and about a month later Jack took a turn for the better and recovered. But Jack was never very healthy, and because he was always suffering from one ailment or another his family used to joke about the great risk a mosquito took in biting him – with some of his blood the mosquito was almost sure to die!


Media Credits

U.S. National Archives, image 40-1860a.

 

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