Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kennedy and the Election of 1960

John F Kennedy in a suit with Eleanor Roosevelt, both smiling

Eleanor Roosevelt did not initially support John Kennedy's quest for the presidency. Kennedy's victory at the 1960 Democratic convention did little to change her mind. Yet the candidate knew that her support was a key to his victory. The documents contained in this mini-edition recount the wariness with which they regarded one another and the steps they took to overcome this suspicion as they combined forces in the campaign's final days. The documentation of their rapprochement will interest those studying American politics, the Cold War, McCarthyism, civil rights and the role of media in presidential elections.


  • Allida M. Black, Editor
  • John F. Sears and June Hopkins, Associate Editors
  • Christopher Alhambra, Electronic Text Editor
  • Michael W. Weeks and Mary Jo Binker, Assistant Editors
  • Christopher Brick, John S. Emrich,
  • Eugenia Gusev, Kristen E. Gwinn,
  • and Bryan D. Peery, Graduate Editorial Assistants


Note to Teachers

The staff of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers designed this project — Eleanor Roosevelt, JFK and the Election of 1960 — for teachers and students as well as scholars. The introductory essays, the biographies and the annotation are written for this wide-ranging audience and we encourage students and teachers to download the documents for use in their classrooms and discussion groups. In fact, we so hoped that teachers would organize a lesson plan around the issues discussed in this mini-edition that we designed a model for them which may be accessed by visiting our Teaching Eleanor Roosevelt resources and downloading the Eleanor Roosevelt and John Kennedy Lesson Plan.

We especially welcome comments from teachers as to how we can improve this site and what additional material they would like to see on it. We also encourage students to evaluate the site as well.


Sponsors and Supporters

Eleanor Roosevelt smiling with John F Kennedy at the White House
Eleanor Roosevelt with John F. Kennedy at the President's Commission on the Status of Women (Source: Wikimedia Commons)





The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers would like to thank the following colleagues who either helped locate obscure, seemingly lost material; reviewed annotation; or assisted in project design: Charlene Bickford and Helen Veit of the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress Project; Jim Cedrone, archivist, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library; David Chesnutt, director, Model Editions Partnership; Cynthia Harrison and Leo Ribuffo of The George Washington University Department of History; Robert Parks and Karen Anson, archivists, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum; and Donald Ritchie and Betty Koed, historians, the United States Senate.

The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, a chartered research center at The George Washington University, is funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Ruth McCormick Tankersley Memorial Trust, the Blum Kovler Foundation, the National Park Foundation, the New York Times Foundation, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and many individual donors.

We thank them for their assistance and continued support.