Remembering Kennedy Fifty Years Later

Shapell Manuscript Foundation

Photo by Cecil Stoughton; Signed by LB Johnson

There are not that many photographs that millions of people recognize at a glance and can correctly name the time, place, and subjects of the shot. One such photo was taken on the fateful day of November 22, 1963, when former Vice President Lyndon Johnson took the Oath of Office of the Presidency of the United States while his wife Lady Bird, and the recent widow Jacqueline Kennedy somberly look on. Taken by eminent photographer Cecil Stoughton aboard Air Force One as it flew from Texas back to Washington, DC, this iconic photo is part of an exhibition commemorating 50 years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy taking place now at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, called “The Fading Light of Camelot.”

On display are many documents, photos and other memorabilia from the Shapell Manuscript Foundation celebrating the legacy of the 35th President of the United States. JFK’s story, told through his many letters, pictures and other documents will re-awaken in observers the excitement, magic and hope of that historic moment in American history.

One other example from the large collection which will be on display until January 2, 2014 is a note to the famed photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. Written soon after Kennedy took the Oath of Office in January 1961 in “Eisie’s” guest book, Kennedy mentioned his own hope and curiosity about the near future:

To Alfred Eisenstaedt –
Who has caught us all on the edge of the New Frontier – What will the passage of the next four years show in his revealing photo[s] –
Feb. 1961

How sad and ironic that in less than three years’ time Kennedy would be gone, and his dream of the New Frontier barely a distant memory.

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