JFK's Father: Joseph Patrick Kennedy

Joe Kennedy, the only son of P.J. and Mary Augusta, was born in 1888. Determining that her son had a better chance at success as Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Mary broke with Irish tradition and did not give him P.J.'s popular Irish first name, which was bound to quickly identify his heritage.

Mary wanted her son to have more opportunities than a Catholic school could offer. In 1901, when he was thirteen years old, she removed him from the Catholic school Xaverian and sent him to Boston Latin. Academically Joe showed mediocre intelligence, but he excelled in sports. He earned the Mayor's Cup in baseball for having the highest batting average.

Mary hoped that unlike her husband, Joe would pursue a more reputable line of work than politics. She encouraged him to strive for more, urging him to focus on making money. When Joe was twelve years old, Mary sent him off to work. She secured a job for him at a high-end store where his work entailed delivering hats to wealthy Bostonian women. As he grew older, he worked selling candy at the harbor and sold papers at the ferry building.

Joe dabbled in a variety of moneymaking endeavors, including staging plays in the backyard and charging for admission. His greatest achievement came with the creation of a baseball team he named the Assumptions. He acted as coach, manager, and first baseman. He scheduled the games, rented a playing field, bought the uniforms, and collected money from onlookers.

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