NPR

On JFK's 50th Election Anniversary, Unpublished Campaign Photos

Exactly 50 years ago today, John F. Kennedy was elected president of the United States. At 43, the youngest person ever elected, JFK defeated Richard Nixon in one of the closest elections of the 20th century. But for about a year before election day, LIFE photographers shadowed the campaign trail, documenting rallies, small soapbox speeches and quieter family moments.

Historical photos show that Kennedy was zealous, handsome, young and charismatic; and his campaign was, similarly, engaging and dynamic — if not divisive. This collection of photos from LIFE has never been published before now, and paints a fuller picture of what that campaign trail was like for the underdog (LIFE endorsed Nixon during the campaign), who skirted in as the winner with a mere 113,000 votes.

See more on LIFE's site.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

On Nov. 8, 1960, 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon in one of the closest presi...

In late 1959, well before receiving the Democratic Party's nomination for president, Kennedy, the...

John F. Kennedy campaigning in Illinois in 1960. Kennedy had certain undeniable advantages: His a...

Legendarily stylish, Kennedy's wife Jacqueline was 12 years younger than her husband — and gave b...

In Sept. 1960, Kennedy accepted an invitation to speak before the Greater Houston Ministerial Ass...

Even when alone, campaigning candidates never enjoy true solitude. Here, surrounded by people, JF...

Most Popular