HomeNewsHistorian: Is David M Kennedy Related To JKF? Relationship And family

Historian: Is David M Kennedy Related To JKF? Relationship And family

Is David M Kennedy related to JKF? Get insights on his relationship details with JKF and their family details from this article. 

Renowned historian David M Kennedy, acclaimed for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945,” is not directly related to the iconic Kennedy family, which produced U.S. presidents JFK and RFK.

As the editor of the Oxford History of the United States series and co-author of the widely-used textbook “The American Pageant,” Kennedy has left an indelible mark on American historical scholarship.

His academic and professional journey intersects uniquely with the Kennedy legacy despite lacking familial ties.

Notably, Kennedy held a professorship at Oxford University, a position endowed by JFK’s sister. In “Freedom from Fear,” he meticulously explores JFK’s political trajectory.

Although no blood relation exists, Kennedy’s work creates a narrative tapestry that intertwines seamlessly with the broader Kennedy family narrative.

Historian: Is David M Kennedy Related To JKF? Relationship Details

The answer is no. David M Kennedy is not related to JFK or any other member of the Kennedy clan. In fact, he has a different middle name: Michael, not Matthew.

He was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1941 to parents who were not involved in politics or public service. His father was a lawyer, and his mother was a homemaker.

David M Kennedy’s interest in history was sparked by his father’s stories about his grandfather, who fought in the Civil War as a Union soldier.

Is David M Kennedy Related To JKF
David M Kennedy is not related to JFK by blood. (Image Source: ThoughtCo)

Kennedy’s father was born in 1896 and didn’t serve in either World War I or II.

He told his son that he was too young for the first war and too old for the second, but later admitted that the army had rejected him for medical reasons.

David M Kennedy attended Stanford University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 1963.

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He then went to Yale University, where he completed his master’s and doctoral degrees in American studies in 1968 and 1970, respectively.

His dissertation was on the birth control movement and its leader, Margaret Sanger, which became his first book and won him the Bancroft Prize in 1971.

David M Kennedy And JKF Family Details

Despite no familial ties to JFK, renowned historian David M Kennedy shares a unique connection with the Kennedy family through his academic and professional endeavors.

Having delved extensively into 20th-century American history, his work encompasses pivotal events involving JFK and his kin, spanning the Great Depression, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and World War II.

Notably, Kennedy held the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Professorship of American History at Oxford University from 1995 to 1996, an endowed position by JFK’s sister, Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish.

Is David M Kennedy Related To JKF
David M Kennedy weaves a distinctive bond with the Kennedy legacy through his scholarly and professional pursuits. (Image Source: WBUR)

In 1999, Kennedy clinched the Pulitzer Prize for History with “Freedom from Fear,” a comprehensive account of the years 1929 to 1945, spotlighting JFK’s ascent to political prominence.

The book also explores JFK’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis and his appointment of another David M Kennedy (no relation) to a significant role in a global satellite communications system.

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Further cementing his connection to JFK, in 2000, David M Kennedy edited a volume on JFK’s speeches and writings.

Currently holding the title of Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Emeritus at Stanford University, Kennedy is immersed in a new project for the Oxford History of the United States series, focusing on Abraham Lincoln and his enduring legacy.


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