tv American Artifacts John F. Kennedys Life in Photos CSPAN December 20, 2017 7:09pm-7:47pm EST
american university's professor james thurber and the brookings institution molly reynolds on the political significance of the 115th congress so far. also, heritage foundation michael sergeant looks at u.s. infra structure policy and spending following this week's amtrak derailment in washington state. c-span wash journal beginning life thursday morning. join the discussion. e thursday . join the discussion. ve thursday. join the discussion. former john fitzgerald kennedy was born on may, 1917. they collected dozens of images that chronicled the life of the 35th president. >> my name is larry schiller and
the smithsonian american art museum allowed me to be i guess what you would call a guest curator of this exhibit on jfk. see i was a photographer myself starting in the '50s and i photographed a lot of politicians. i started with richard nixon. governor brown in california. and then of course john f. kennedy. many of the events he was present at and tragically i was in dallas when he was assassinated. why this ex-here in the american art museum at this time? well, it's centennial of his birth. 100 years ago, on may 29th, he was born. how do you put an exhibit like this together? where do you start? well, first you start with a few researchers. and we collected, actually, 34,000 photographs of jfk and his family. it took about six months. and it became the basis of a
very important book that we published with harper collins. and from those 34,000 pictures and the 400 some odd pictures in the book, we were able to select 77 photographs that we felt told the story of jfk and his life and times. jfk was a modern president. john f. kennedy was one that saw america's place in the world. he was a man who understood history. he had served in world war ii. he understood the issues of civil rights. he understood many of the conflicts that were starting around the world. so he was a man with a vision. and this exhibit addresses this for him. this is more than john f.
kennedy, it's a story of his life and his times. pictures from the family's scrapbook here are very interesting. because, you know, here's just a kid with his father in the background out in high andness on the beach, just like any other kid romming around, little did we know he might be the president of the united states. this was their father there. that's what the cars looked like in those days with the kids on the running board. but as jfk, you know, got out in the world himself l very few people know he loved dogs. and when he went off to college, he had a couple. he got in trouble once or twice because dogs weren't allowed in the dorms. but the family traveled a lot. and kennedy got a lot of experience. here they were in the vatican. they were a catholic family. but this is a family portrait. very, very interesting. his father was ambassador to
great britain. and his mother really kept everybody in tow. jfk when he went away to college to harvard, graduation picture there, and out of one of the dances, served in the armed forces, and of course a lot of us know that he was very much involved in saving lives. he was part of a crew on pt 109. that vehicle capsized in the war and he hurt his back a little bit which plagued him for years and years. but he was considered by many to be one of the many, many war heros who served in the armed forces. but out of this armed forces, when his father was ambassador to great britain, he was looking around for a job. and his father wrote a letter to william randolph hearst and said
my son knows a lot about history, maybe you can find him a job what we call today as a cub reporter. so he went off to san francisco and reported on the formation of the united nations. he wrote a column every couple days, a serviceman's view of the world, i think was one of the titles. and that started to show not only his writing ability, but his understanding of where america was and what vision for this country should be. it wasn't long before in the early '50s that he met this young lady, jaclyn. this is one of those photo booth shots. it's blown up. but it was very, very small. used to pay, what, two contents in those days or a nickel. and that's one of the early portraits of them. and of course jack and jackie kind of strolling down the street with ethel kennedy in
washington d.c. ethel was married to his brother robert kennedy who i photographed quite a bit. i did a lot of campaign photography with him. but, you know, there are these iconic images that we will remember that will take us through history. here jfk in '53 is getting married to jackie. this picture is from the getty images collection. and here's one of the most famous life magazine pictures. when caroline was born, in 1958, this was taken by a fine, fine photographer, by the name of ed clark. and it's one of those iconic images. you know, life magazine and many of the publications covered the kennedy's quite a bit. over here in this area, we can see in the early years the photographs from the golden age of photo journalism, that was
before television really became the communicator of the world. these are the magazines that were published then. these are actual copies of the magazines. and newspapers. "the new york times" "the springfield republican" and books jfk wrote himself and the famous book "profiles and courage" so not only seeing the history of jfk but seeing how his image was communicated to the world at large. and the photographs here on the wall in this exhibit are printed the same way. we used the same technology as the '60s. so when you see this exhibit you are seeing the photographs as you would have if you had lived in the '60s and picked up a
magazine, it would have been just like you would see here at the american art museum. see, all these magazines and newspapers you are seeing, you probably are saying to yourself, who collected these? how did they keep them 50 or 60 years? well, believe it or not, they were all obtained just on ebay. ebay is probably the biggest archive in the world. and we built an entire archive of jfk as he was seen around the world just by spending about a week on ebay all over the world, purchasing these historic works. they will are not expensive. 2.95. $3.10. of course you have to pay a little postage. on this wall over here l you see this young man starting to run for congress. had you know, just kind of sitting there with the poster for those days.
and portrait of his mother and father taken in 1946 when he gets elected for congress. the family had some money, a little bit more than just some. and his father, not only hired probably ts best photographers in the world to photograph jfk and robert kennedy and his older brother, but also they hired advertising agencies to properly promote the image of the kennedy family and jfk as he started to run for political office. you know, the composition of this picture is not only the product of yale joel, the photographer, but also the product of a good smart advertising guy. because that poster is part of the mad man era, you know, as we were to later say jfk was ts first president in the gray flannel suit. but a natural public speaker he
was. and this photograph by yael joel of life magazine tells what the technology of the day was. not these fine cameras that give you such clarity. here we are sitting in natural light, virtually. but here jfk is under the spotlight. his father once said to him, you know, you appeal to women, you'll get yourself elected. and there is a joke about this picture. because you see about 200 women lined up to meet jfk in massachusetts. and there is a joke about that picture. you know, did somebody say you better be on crutches, you'll get a little more sympathy? but yet he would go out in the field for the first year of campaigning, and being a congressman, he went into his district, he went to the docs
here and being shown around. and jfk and kennedy are here together working side by side. they had a special bond. bobbi at times was his campaign manager and adviser. and of course there was a lot of controversy when jfk becomes president because he appoints his brother as attorney general with not a lot of experience. but bobby stood up to the task. and in '59 he starts to really understand the weight of the issues around the world. jfk knew he was going to run for president in '60, hoped to get the nomination from the democratic party, and he traveled widely in the united states. and this picture by jacque low, a photographer who photographed him for a number of years, is very, very interesting. because you see jfk at a moment in which he has to make some strong decisions.
over on this wall here is one of the many, many pictures that wound up being on the cover of "life" magazine. this was taken by ty pick sen. a very famous sports photographer. no one could figure out we he got this assign. . but this is one of the pictures that showed up on "life "magazine taken in 1953. great picture and shows the spirit of jfk. of course in '57 just prior to him running for president, the great photographer fill ep halls man who had more "life" magazine covers than any other photographer during "life" magazines during leading publication of the world, and a beautiful portrait. but this is in essence the early years of jfk. and in a moment we'll get into
the tougher years where will he becomes really a politician, a world leader, and somebody who sets the stage and sets the foundation for american foreign policy in a modern america. in 1960, when jfk decided he was going to run for president of the united states, his father gave him an airplane and they called tt caroline, which was the name of his daughter. and here jacque low makes this picture of jfk leaving on his first campaign trip around the united states. he hit almost every single state. and here was this young member of congress. catholic. going out there, out every where, with his wife, and family. of course, jackie kennedy was one of the greatest assets any politician could have. not only was she, you know, really lovable and huggable, but
she related to people in a very, very human way. i mean, you know, eventually when jfk goes to france, he cracks this remark, if i may paraphrase, i'm just the guy going along with jackie. she's really the star. but he went out on the campaign trail seeking the nomination of the democratic party. and, you know, he went everywhere. and there was nothing holier than though about his campaigning. he would go out into the appalachian mountains. he would stand on trucks. wave from cars. here in massachusetts, in july of 1960, he is campaigning. and, you know, the eventual campaign led in july to the democratic national convention, which took place in los angeles, california. ralph crane was a "life "photographer there and i was also working for life tag seema
but they assigned me to who they thought would be the winner, so i was assigned to photograph richard nixon. and made this wonderful photograph. and the strategy of getting that nomination was no easy task. made this iconic image of robert and jfk in a hotel room, kind of deciding who would be, or who they would offer the vice president to t and of course lyndon johnson eventually becomes the running mate to jfk, a surprise to a lot of people. you know, i've seen this picture published in parts of the world where it says they are discussing the cuban missile crisis, which we'll get into, or discussing armament. this is a hotel room in vienna where they are meeting with politicians. but in fact it's 1960 at the
democratic national convention it wasn't long before he secured that nomination, and then really had to go out on the road to prove himself. of course, in california he's up there with governor pat brown. and here he's preparing some notes for a democratic rally. and of course, you know, the wonderful thing about the kennedy's is they never pushed photographers or writers away. they didn't care how they were photographed. they didn't care whether the tie was fixed, whether the coat was on, this or that. they knew if they made themselves accessible to the media, they would be published. and of course it was aground swell. there is no question about it, that the media coverage of jfk was just the first time we had ever seen anything like it. here at an airport campaigning
in texas, there is a plane that's rearing the engine, so jfk gets upset that lyndon johnson is hollering turn the engine off. so he carried around the book "profiles encourage" and used to throw out copies. they sold a lot of that version. but it wasn't long until he had to come head to head with richard nixon who republicans nominated. and of course everyone thought richard nixon would win the election. but what turned the tide in a unique way was first televised debates between the candidates. america had never seen anything like that before. and the first debate here in october, jackie, who is very, very nervous, and she's off by
the corner kind of looking out, trying to figure out to make sure that her husband was going to do the right thing. it was a very interesting october when these debates started. if you would have listened to the debates on the radio, nixon was the clear winner. his voice was convincing. he spoke very, very well. but if you watched it on television, as tens of millions of americans did, you saw a very nervous richard nixon. you saw a man sweating, twitching, but yet you saw president john f. kennedy, poised, relaxed, articulate, and of course many writers, including the great writer norman mailer who wrote this incredible peesz forest kwier squad super man comes to the super mark, says that the television debates really placed jfk on the road to victory. the election was, as you know,
november 8th. and this is bobby and ethel casting their vote. and of course i was in los angeles at the ambassador hotel with nixon. so this is a picture that i made of the election votes coming in state by state. and you see in the old days it was done by chalk. it wasn't electronic, as we have today on television. so, you know, five minutes later, boom, erase it, and put another one. and the kennedy family that night was in high andist port, and they will were very, very nervous. and here's jfk with his brother, you know, bobby behind and ethel. and here's this interesting picture that we saw before, right up on the wall taken by hank walker. and election night, you know, it went -- the electoral vote was very, very close, and nobody knew. at 3:00 in the morning jfk
needed 11 more electoral votes and a lot of people didn't think he would get it. and over here here's where the media was, and all of a sudden at 3:00 in the morning richard nixon decides to go on television, even though he had not lost the election yet. and this is the media watching it. and of course i who was assigned to photograph nixon was with him, you know, 3:00 in the morning on november 9th, as he went to the podium at the ambassador hotel and conceded the election to jfk before he had actually won it. and that was an extraordinarily move on nixon's part. but four hours later the boston globe announces his presidency. and this is a wonderful picture taken by henry due mon, who is
very fine photographer. as the early morning newspapers arrived at election campaign headquarters in high andist. well, by midday the election had been decided. and jfk became the first catholic president of the united states. he rallied his entire family here in high andist for this group picture. his brother-in-law, peter law ford who was an entertainer and actor. teddy youngest brother. john kennedy. one of his sisters. mother and father, ethel, and june kennedy husband over there, smith. really, this is kind of an interesting little moment. and of course here is jackie looking up at her husband. wonderful, wonderful picture, taken by paul shuts ser at life
magazine. well, in january of course there is the inauguration l it was an interesting snowy day. and jfk and the family decided to walk from lt white house to the inauguration. and paul shoot ser of life made that picture. of course rather than showing you a picture of jfk making his speech, this is a very unique view to show what the crowd was like. and of course that was the great moment where jfk said, you know, for me to paraphrase, you know, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. and it was an incredible call for action worldwide. of course, that night the festivities continued and here we are one evening the many balls, jfk and his wife jackie. it was really an occasion to be
remembered. he was young, handsome, he understood the responsibilities, burr little did he know about the first tough 100 days he would have in american politics. now we are going to come into the presidential years. these are the years from 1961 through the tragic day in dallas, texas. you know, jfk was really a family man. and here in october of '63, just before his tragic death, he's walking john-john, and yet over here he's dressed with jackie. you know, they brought culture into the white house. she was a person who understood the arts, understood the role that it played in american culture. and when they went to france on a diplomatic trip, jackie
convinced the french government to allow the mona lisa to come to the united states, and it was extraordinarily, it was one of the art exchanges of the sooent. and in january of '63 made this fine picture. we are here at the smithsonian american art museum. and here jackie views the plans for the redevelopment. laugh vie et square part of the museum. she helped raise funds and went out and supported all the way back from 1958 this museum and all the other cultural locations in washington. tragically this is a very unique and rarely seen photograph. what's different about it? well, she's wearing the same suit that she was wearing the
day that her husband lost his life in dallas. but any time the kids had nothing to do they were in the white house. and they had the full run of the place. here they come in unannounced in jfk office, oval office, in 1962. john-john is playing around on the carpet. and above is it a picture taken in high andness, also in '62. and this is teddy's kids and robert kennedy's kids and jfk's kids. and this is a golf cart that they had. so they would run around the compound and have a lot of fun. one of these pictures wound up being on the cover of "look "magazine. of course, here's a very famous picture taken in july of 1963. this is a young 16-year-old kid by the name of bill clinton.
little did he know where he would wind up. but here he is meeting the president of the united states in the rose garden. he was there with the american legion boys nation forum. and he had this opportunity. of course, that becomes a very, very famous photograph that clinton uses when he himself runs not only for governor of arkansas, but also for president of the united states. above it is a picture taken in 1962 by a friend of mine bill bebe. he was a photographer at that time working for the los angeles times. and kennedy would spend a lot of time with his brother-in-law and his sister in malibu, california. just outside of l.a. and every once in a while unannounced jfk would run out into the surf to get a little bit of that warm california water. and little by little, the public would realize the president is
out there. and bill bebe rushed around and weighed in a suit and tie, kicked off his shoes, and went in the surf and made this memorable picture in 1962 with president surrounded by people on malibu beach. it was nominated by pulitzer prize. and of course gerald ford would do the same thing, he loved going swimming. there are several photographs made this picture of jfk leaning over his reading desk which was behind his regular desk. a lot of people feel he was reading newspapers. but as some of you know he had back problems and wore a back brace. and this posture position of his
was very helpful in straightening out his back. and at the same time reading the newspaper. you know, before jfk, probably the most be loved president the united states had was franklin el moroe roosevelt who was alwas in a wheelchair. and he never wanted to be photographed in a wheelchair. where jfk who had back problems didn't mind being photographed, no matter whether he was able to rundown the street or couldn't move. like this picture here of him being hoisted into the airplane because he can't climb steps very well. even though he could walk down them. so jfk was never afraid of being photographed. he wanted to be known as being human. that he was no different than anybody else. and that was something quite extraordinary about the kennedy's. so now we are getting into really jfk's 100 days and his
political years. one of the things that came about was the bay of pigs, which was the invasion of cuba, which was supported by the united states and the cia, which led to what we would call the cuba missile crisis in which castro allowed missiles that could hit almost any target in the united states, nuclear missiles to be housed and made operational in cuba. and of course this is a picture of castro and kuz tish. i never met castro but i did met cast trif. so here is castro visiting moscow just prior in '61 to the cuba missile crisis. and when america discovered that russia had placed inter continental missiles on cuba, he went before the united nations
in september of '61 and said we had to meet the challenges of our age and put into effect policies that dealt with berlin, the wall, berlin, germany, laos, suit vietnam and so forth. but america was introduced to the atomic bomb because missiles so close to the u.s. this was a picture in los angeles of school kids being taught about the febts of teffe bomb and how they had to run into the hauls and protect themselves. and to me it kind of shows you this duck and recovery situation that we were all being educated to the effect of nuclear weapons, not in japan or in some other place in the world, but right here at home. in '62, kennedy made this speech concerning the soffit missiles
in cuba to the nation. this is a picture taken by ralph crane of "life" magazine. and it wasn't long after that, six months later, that kennedy and the world is faced with the effects of the berlin wall. kennedy went to germany, and of course in june of 1963 made his very, very famous speech there, that he supported germany, he supported unified germany. and that america was not going to stand around and allow this to happen. you know, he did start to negotiate an armament pact with the soviet union. he met with crush tive, i believe, in veienna, and this picture was taken at the summit just the evening before. and it's a humorous.
but it shows how jackie truly an ambassador to the world. early in '61 when president kennedy gave his speech about we are going to have to beat the russians and put the first man on the moon, this is a photograph by bob ga mel of jfk touring and being educated to the different types of missiles that would carry man into space. but by 1963, jfk had to kind of start to prepare for a re-election campaign in '64. and the south and texas was becoming an area even though lyndon johnson was his vice president, that politicians felt he had to renew his support. so a trip was planned to fort worth and dallas. and this picture of jackie and jfk arriving in dallas on november 22nd by arthritic shows
the warm reception they received. and as they rode through this motorcade in dallas and entered an area that we call daily plaza, three shots range out, and before we knew it the president had slung forward in the limousine and rushed the car to the hospital. this picture taken by an unknown photographer transmitted by i think associated press gives you the feeling of the urgency of the moment. it wasn't long before walter cronkite, probably the best known newscaster worldwide had to announce not only to america, but to the world at large, that jfk had not only been shot, but his life had been lost, and he had succumbed to the bull et tht had entered his head in park man
hospital. memorials sprung up here in new york city, a photograph of jfk placed in a store window is really a reminder that you couldn't move without seeing some memory of jfk. and of course a few days later, there was this incredible funeral procession on washington d.c. on november 25th after jfk's body was brought back to washington. jackie kennedy had shaped the funeral arrangements, very much patterned after abraham lincoln burial, and with a black veil and her two children by her side, walked to arlington national cemetery where he was buried and eternal flame was lit
over the place where he was buried. you know, a lot of people know i was in dallas, also, when jfk was killed. but i didn't put any of my own photographs here in the exhibition. but you know here's a picture i made of lee harvey oswald that tragic day. very famous iconic image of mine of the gun that oswald used to shoot jfk. so as a working journalist i was at a lot of these events, but i felt this exhibit would show better work of my colleagues rather than lesser pictures i had made. so as i look around the walls here and remember the four months that went into putting this exhibit together, all these photographs by photographsers that i knew and traveled with and had breakfast or dinner with, it was quite an experience, you know, looking
back at history and remembering those moments. some of them hard struggles to get a picture that looks like very easy to take. crowds of photographers, but yet finding that you were a fly on the wall in many instances, liken ricky said looking for the preci preci precise moment. these are leading photographers of the golden age of photo journalism. i'm proud they allowed me to dip into their archives and find the imitation that tell the story of john f. kennedy and his vision for america. >> you can watch this and other
american artifacts programs any time by visiting our website c-span.org history. this week on c-span 3 saturday 8:00 p.m. eastern lectures on history, american professor aaron bell talks about civil rights leaders. >> here is the head of the operations william sullivan shortly after march on washington and martin luther king i have a dream speech. we have marking as the dangerous the negro and national security. >> sunday at 4:30 p.m. reflect on lessons learned and ignored during the war. >> we learned the limits of military power during the vietnam war. we learned that as a socty