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Choate Document May Shed Light on Origins of Famous JFK Line

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John F. Kennedy during a speech in New York City, April 29, 1961 (FILES/AFP/Getty Images)

John F. Kennedy during a speech in New York City, April 29, 1961 (FILES/AFP/Getty Images)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ An archivist at the Connecticut boarding school attended by John F. Kennedy says a document discovered there suggests he took inspiration from a former headmaster for one of his most famous lines.

Archivist Judy Donald at Choate Rosemary Hall says a journal in which the former headmaster kept fodder for sermons included a quote from a Harvard dean who wrote: “The youth who loves his Alma Mater will always ask, not `What can she do for me?’ but `What can I do for her?”

She says other alumni heard an echo of George St. John’s sermons in Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration speech. But she says there was not any evidence until she found the document three years ago.

The discovery was reported first in a new book by television host Chris Matthews.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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