9 Surprising Facts About President Kennedy

Posted Apr 19, by Greg Porter

John F. Kennedy donated his presidential salary to charity.

Kennedy’s salary was $100,000 with an additional $50,000 to be used for expenses. Kennedy refused to accept his salary, instead donating the full amount to charity. His actions reflected his desire to help the poor, a desire that is reflected in his policies as president. 

He did not make his donations publicly. Kennedy gave a speech to the University of Michigan in 1960. It would be the beginning of the Peace Corps, a furthering of his interests in the needs of people in the U.S. and those abroad. K

ennedy was the 35th president and Lyndon Johnson was his vice president. His nicknames were JFK and Jack. He was assassinated in 1963 in Texas after a little over one thousand days as president. The case over his assassination is highly controversial, especially regarding the existence of a second shooter who was never identified. Lee Harvey Oswald was convicted as the man whose shot killed Kennedy. 

There are weird similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

  • Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
  • Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860. John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
  • Both were shot in the back of the head in the presence of their wives.
  • Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.
  • Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
  • Lincoln\'s secretary was named Kennedy.
  • Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.
  • Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
  • Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theatre. Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln, made by Ford.
  • Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse. Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran And hid in a theater.
  • Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

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Kennedy means “Ugly Head”!


Kennedy is an Irish name and comes from the Celtic “O Cinneide” which meant ugly or misshapen head. Another spelling is Kennedi.

Here are some other names with funny meanings:

  • Cameron- means crooked nose 
  • Courtney- means short nose 
  • Brian- means maggot 
  • Brody- means ditch 

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President Kennedy was the fasted random speakers in the world!

John F Kennedy was the second youngest president, and is regarded a national hero. Like most other presidents, he attended Harvard University, but unlike most other presidents, he also had a Pultizer prize. 

Among those accomplishments however, he could also speak 350 words per minute; making him the fasted random word speaker in the world, even to this day. Kennedy seemed to be fond of a bunch of words that no one else could understand, in more ways than one; his favorite poem was Ulysses. 

His speed carried on to his reading; he could take in 1200 words per minute. A more meaningful record perhaps; Kennedy continues to rank highly in the public opinion ratings of US presidents.

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President John F. Kennedy was a huge fan of James Bond.

John Kennedy had a collection of Ian Fleming’s series of books about James Bond and, in an interview with Life Magazine, he listed From Russia, With Love as one of his favorite novels of all time. In 1961, He watched the first James Bond film, Dr. No, in a private screening. Due to Kennedy’s influence, the next movie was based on the president’s favorite Bond novel, From Russia, With Love. This was the last movie that the president ever saw, the day before making his fateful trip to Texas in 1963.

JFK had the opportunity to meet Ian Fleming in 1960. At Fleming was even included in conversations about how to defeat Fidel Castro in Cuba. This might explain why some of the plans (like exploding cigars and shellfish) sound like something out of a James Bond story. You can read our story about that here.

JFK's favorite books.

More miscellaneous JFK information.

More trivia about From Russia, With Love.

\"\" John F. Kennedy’s IQ was only 119.

So, how does he stack up against more recent presidents? That’s a tough question. Presidential IQ’s are usually estimated based on other test scores (e.g. SAT’s) because we don’t often have the official IQ scores for them. Even less reliable is when “experts” purport to have ascertained a president’s IQ based on his writing style, absent any test scores to rely on.

In fact, one popular list of presidential IQ’s that you’ve probably seen all over the Internet was actually a hoax. This list suggested that President George W. Bush had an IQ of 91, pretty remarkable considering the fact that he had a Bachelor’s from Yale, and an MBA from Harvard. John Kennedy was listed as having an IQ of 174, which would have made him a genius. Click here for more details on the hoax, to see if you\'ve been tricked by the same one.

However, Kennedy actually scored a 119 on the only IQ test that he is known to have taken. That’s still good, but it’s a far cry from 174. Richard Nixon fared better, scoring a 143 on his IQ test. Vice President Al Gore scored a 134. But what about George W. Bush? There’s no record of him having taken an IQ test, so we’ll never know.

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JFK’s assistant was in the car behind him filming everything when he was assassinated, but ran out of film just before the shooting!

David Powers was JFK’s personal assistant and close friend. He was a military veteran and oversaw the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum from 1964 until 1994 when he retired.

David was in the secret service vehicle directly behind the President’s limousine during the assassination. He was taking personal film footage of everything up until 12:17 p.m., right before they reached Dealey Plaza where the President was shot. He ran out of film just before the tragedy hit.

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JFK bought 1,200 Cuban cigars days before it became illegal!

Since 1962, there has been a commercial embargo between the US and Cuba. This makes it illegal to sell in the US anything made on the island. Perhaps the most famous product affected by this are Cuban Cigars. Cubans are famously good and considered to be superior over other cigars. 

A former aide to President Kennedy has said that the president ordered him to buy 1,000 cigars a few days before the embargo came into effect. He later returned with 1,201 Petit H. Upmann cigars, JFKs favorite brand.

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