tv American Artifacts John F. Kennedys Life in Photos CSPAN October 11, 2020 3:20pm-4:01pm EDT
programs on the history of communities across the country at c-span.org cities tour. this is american history tv, only on c-span-3. you're watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span-3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span/history. >> each week american artifacts takes viewers into archives, museums and historic sites around the country. former president john fitzgerald kennedy was born on may 29, 1917. to mark the centennial of the -- of his birth the smithsonian , american art museum collected dozens of images that chronicle the life of the 35th president. >> my name is larry shiller, the smithsonian american art museum allows me to the guest curator of this exhibit on jfk.
i photographed a lot of politicians. i started with richard nixon, governor brown in california and john f. kennedy and many of the events he was present at. tragically, i was in dallas when he was assassinated. why this exhibit here in the american art museum at this time? well, it's the centennial of his birth. in hundred years ago on may 29 he was born. how do you put an exhibit like this together? where do you start? first you start with a few researchers. we collected 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. from those 34,000 pictures in
the 400 and 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 resident. john f. kennedy was a president who saw america's place in the world. he was a man who understood history, who served in world war ii. he understood the issues of civil rights. he understood many of the conflicts around the world. he was a man with a vision and this exhibit kind of addresses the issue of jfk's vision for america. this exhibit is a little bit more than just john f. kennedy the president. it's the story of the life and his times. pictures from the family scrap book are very interesting.
here is just a kid with his father in the background out in hyannis on the beach, just like any other kid, romping around. little did we know he might be the president of the united states. that's what the cars look like in those days, with the kids on the running board. as jfk got out in the world himself, very few people knew he loved dog spirit when he went off to college, he got in trouble once or twice, because dogs weren't allowed in the dormitories. the family traveled a lot and kennedy got a lot of experience. here they are in the vatican. they were a catholic family. this is a family portrait. very, very interesting. his father was ambassador to great britain. his mother kept everybody in tow.
when jfk went away to college , to harvard, with a graduation picture there, he served in the armed forces. a lot of us know that he was very much involved in saving lives. he was part of the crew of the vehicle that capsized in the war. he hurt his back a little bit. it plagued him for years and years, but he was considered by many to be one of the many war heroes who served in the armed forces. out of the armed forces, when his father was ambassador to great britain, he was looking around for a job in his father williamletter to willi said my sonrst, he
, knows a lot about history. maybe you can find a job for him ,or what he would call today reporter. he went off to san francisco and reported on the formation of the united nations. he wrote a column every couple of days. a service man's view was one of the titles. that started the show not only his writing ability but his understanding of where america was. and what his vision for the country should be. it wasn't long before in the early 1950's that he met this young lady, jacqueline. this was a photo booth shot. it is blown up, it was very small. used to pay two cents in those days or a nickel, and that is where the early portraits of them. 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. there are these iconic images that will take us through history. here jfk in 1953 getting married. this picture is from the images collection. here is one of the most famous life magazine pictures, when caroline was born in 1958, this is taken by a fine photographer. it's one of those iconic images. life magazine and many of the publications covered the kennedys quite a bit. over here, we can see in the early years the photographs from the golden age of journalism. -- of photojournalism. that was before television 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 that jfk wrote himself, the most famous book that won the pulitzer prize they'r."es in courage you are not only seeing the history of jfk but how his image was communicated to the world at large. and the photographs in this exhibit are printed the exact same way they would have been printed in the 1960's, 11 by 14 in size. we use the same technology of the 1960's. so when you see this exhibit, you are seeing the photographs as you would have had you lived in the 1960's and had picked up a magazine. it would have been just like you are going to see here at the american art museum. all these magazines and
newspapers you are seeing, you are probably saying to yourself -- who collected these? how did they keep than 50 or 60 years? well believe it or not they were , all obtained on ebay. ebay is probably the biggest archive in the world. we built an entire archive of jfk as he was seen around the world, just by spending about a week on ebay purchasing these historic works. they are not expensive. $2.95, $3.10. of course you have to pay the postage. on this well over here, you see this young man starting to run for congress, kind of sitting there with the poster for those days. a 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. his father not only hired the worldhotographers in the 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. the composition of this picture is not only the product of the photographer but product of a -- photographer, but also the product of a good smart advertising guy. that poster is part of the madman ara. as we were to later say, jfk was the first president in the great -- in the gray flannel suit. a natural public speaker he was. in this photograph shows what the technology of the day was,
not these fine video cameras that give you such clarity. here we are shooting in natural light. here jfk is under the spotlight. him, your once said to appealed swimming you will get , yourself elected. there is joke about this picture. you see about 200 women lined up to meet jfk in massachusetts. and there is a joke about that picture. did someone say you better be on crutches? you would get a little more sympathy. 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 docks here. he is being shown around. of course, here jfk and bobby kennedy are together working side by side. they had a very special bond. bobby at times was his campaign
manager and advisor. 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. 1959, he starts to really understand the weight of the issues around the world. jfk knew he was going to run for president in 1960 and hoped to get the nomination from the democratic party. he traveled widely in the united states and this sure by a photographer who photographed years is number of very interesting. you see jfk at a moment in which he has to make some strong decisions. over on this while here is one of the many pictures that wound up being on the cover of life
magazine. this was taken actually by a sports photographer, a famous boxing photographer. none of us could figure out why he got this assignment. but this one up on the cover of life magazine and was taken in 1953. it is a really beautiful picture and shows the spirit of jfk. of course in 1957, prior to him running for president, the great photographer, who had more life magazine covers than any other photographer during life magazine's many years as a leading publication of the world and a beautiful portrait. this is in essence the early years of jfk and in a moment we will get into the tougher years where he becomes a politician, a world leader and somebody who
sets the stage and the foundation for america for foreign policy and a modern america. in 1960 when jfk decided he was going to run for president, his father gave him an airplane and they called it the caroline which was the name of his , daughter. this picture of jfk leaving on his first campaign in the united -- campaign trip around the united states. he would hit almost every single state. here was this young member of congress, a catholic, going out there, out everywhere with his wife and family. jackie kennedy was one of the greatest assets any politician could have. not only was she lovable and huggable, but she related to people in a very human way. eventually when jfk goes to
france, he cracked this remark and i'm paraphrasing, i'm just a 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. he went everywhere and there was nothing holier than thou about his campaign. he would go out to the appalachian mountains. he would stand on trucks, wave from cars. --'re in massachusetts and massachusetts in july he is campaigning, and the eventual campaign led to the democratic national convention, which took place in los angeles, california. i was working for life magazine but they assigned me to who they , thought would be the winner. i was assigned to photograph richard nixon.
of course the strategy of , getting that nomination was no easy task. hank walker, one of the life here, made this iconic image of robert and jfk in a hotel room, kind of deciding who they would offer the vice presidency to. lyndon johnson eventually becomes the running mate to jfk. a surprise to a lot of people. i have seen this picture published in parts of the world where they are discussing the cuban missile crisis. or they are discussing armament. this is a hotel in vienna where they are meeting with khrushchev. in fact it is july 13, 1960 at the democratic national convention. it wasn't long before he secured that nomination and really had
to go out on the road to prove himself. in california, he is up there with governor pat brown. here he is preparing some notes for a democratic rally. the wonderful thing about the kennedys is they never pushed photographers or writers away. they didn't care how they were photographed. they didn't care whether the tile was fixed or the coat was on, this or that. they knew that if they made themselves accessible to the media, they would be published. and, of course it was a , groundswell. there is no question about it that the media coverage of jfk was the first time we had ever seen anything like it. here at an airport, campaigning in real, texas, there is a plain rearing the engine. jfk gets upset that lyndon
johnson is hollering turn the engine off, but he carried around a lot of the copies of this book called profiles in courage. he is to autograph them and throw them out to the audience. the publisher sold a lot of copies of that version. it wasn't long until he came head-to-head with richard nixon. -- nixon, who the republicans had nominated. everyone thought richard nixon would win the election. what really turned the tide in a very, very unique way was the first televised debates between the candidates. americans had never seen anything like that before. the first debate here in october , jackie is very nervous and she is off by the corner, kind of looking out, trying to figure out and make sure that her husband is going to do the right
thing. interestingy, very when these debates started. octoberif you would have listened to the debate on radio nixon was the clear winner. ,his voice was convincing. he spoke very well. but if you watched it as tens of millions of americans did on tv, you saw a very nervous richard nixon. you saw a man sweating, yet you saw president john f. kennedy poised, relaxed, articulate, and many writers, including norman mailer, who wrote this incredible piece. he said that the television debates placed jfk on the road to victory. the election was on november 8. ethel castingand
their vote and i was in los angeles at the ambassador hotel with nixon. this is a picture i made of the election votes coming in state-by-state. in the old days, it was done by chalk. it wasn't electronic as we have today on television. five minutes later, erase it and put another one. the kennedy family that night was in hyannis port. they were very, very nervous. bobby hyndeith his and ethel. here is this interesting picture -- bobby, and ethel. here is this interesting picture we saw before write up on the wall by hank walker. election night, the electoral vote was very close and nobody knew. at 3:00 in the morning, jfk needed 11 more electoral votes and a lot of people felt he wasn't going to get it.
or in hyannis port was where the media was. all of the sudden at 3:00 in the morning, richard nixon decides to go on television, even though he had not lost the election yet. this is the media watching it. of course, i, who was assigned to photograph nixon, was with him at 3:00 in the morning. on november 9,ng as he went to the podium at the ambassador hotel and conceded the election to jfk before he had actually won it. that was an extraordinary move. but in hyannis, four hours later, the boston globe announces his presidency and this is a wonderful picture taken by a very fine photographer. as the early morning newspapers arrived at election campaign quarters in hyannis.
by mid-day the election had been decided. john f. kennedy became the first catholic president of the united states. he rallied his entire family here. -- here in hyannis for this group picture. his brother-in-law, peter lawford, who is an entertainer actor, teddy, his youngest brother, robert kennedy, smith, one of his sisters, his brother and father and at the end kennedy's husband over there. this is an interesting little moment. here is jackie looking up at her husband. a wonderful picture. in january, there is the inauguration. it was an interesting, snowy
day. jfk and the family cited to walk from the white house to the inauguration. rather than just showing a picture of jfk making his speech, this is a very unique view to show what the crowd was like. that was the great moment where paraphrase,r me to as not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. it was an incredible call for action, worldwide. of course, that night festivities continued. here we are that evening at one of the many, many balls with jfk and his tuxedo with jackie. it was a brilliant occasion to be remembered. he was young, handsome, he understood the responsibilities. but little did he know about the
first tough hundred 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. jfk was really a family man. here in october of 1963, just before his tragic death, he is walking john john and yet over here he is dressed with jackie. they brought culture into the white house. she was a person who understood the arts and understood the role that is played in american culture. 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. it was extraordinary.
it was one of the art exchanges of the century. jackie kennedy, with the photographer made this fine picture. we're here at the smithsonian american art museum. here jackie views the plans for the redevelopment of the lafayette 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, very rarely seen photograph. what is different about it? she is wearing the same suit she -- same suit that she was wearing the day that her husband lost his life in dallas. any time the kids had nothing to
do, they were in the white house. they had the full run of the place. here they show up again unannounced in jfk's oval office in 1962. john john is playing around on the carpet. above is a picture taken in hyannis, also in 1962. teddy's kids and robert kennedy's kids and jfk's kids. 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. here is a very, 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. there he is meeting the
president of the united states in the rose garden. he was there with the american legion voice nation forum. he had this opportunity. that becomes a 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. he was a photographer at that time working for the los angeles times. kennedy would spend a lot of time with his brother-in-law and his sister in malibu, california just outside of l.a. every once in a while, unannounced, jfk would were not into the surf to get a bit of that warm california water. little by little, the public would realize the president is out there. bill rushed around and waited with his suit and tie and kicked
off his shoes and went out in the surf and made this memorable picture in august of 1962 of the president surrounded by a crowd of supporters out there on malibu beach. the picture was nominated for a pulitzer prize. it ran front-page in every publication in the world. of course, gerald ford years exploit the same thing that he liked goat swimming with the photographers. there are several photographers who have made this picture of him leaning over his reading desk behind his regular desk. a lot of people feel like he was leaning over to read the newspapers. but as some of you know, he had back problems and wore a back brace quite a bit. this posture position of his was very helpful in straightening out his back and at the same time reading the newspaper. before jfk probably the most
beloved president the united states had was franklin delano roosevelt, who was always in a wheelchair. he never wanted to be photographs in a wheelchair. problems, who had back didn't mind being photographed, , no matter whether he was able to run down the street or couldn't even 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. jfk was never afraid to be photographed. he wanted to be known as being human. that he was no different than anyone else, and that was something quite extraordinary about the kennedys. now we are getting into jfk's 100 days in 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. it led to the cuban missile crisis, in which castro allowed missiles that could almost hit any target in the united states , nuclear missiles, to be housed and made operational in cuba. of course, this is a picture of castro and khrushchev. i never went -- i never met castro but i did the khrushchev. this is him visiting moscow. this was just prior to the cuban missile cries cries. -- crisis. when america discovers russia placed continental missiles on the island of cuba, jfk went in front of the united nations in september of 1961 and said we had to meet the challenges of our age and put into effect
policies that dealt with berlin, the wall in berlin, germany, laos, south vietnam and so forth. america was introduced for the first time very seriously to the atomic bomb era. -- bound, because there were missiles so close to the u.s.. this is a picture i made in los angeles of school kids being taught about the effect of the bomb and how they had to run into the halls and protect themselves. to me, it shows this duck and recovery situation that we are all being educated to the effect of nuclear weapons, not in japan or some other place in the world, but right here at home. in 1962, kennedy made this speech concerning the soviet missiles and cuba to the nation. this is a picture taken
for life magazine. it wasn't long after that, about later, that kennedy and the world is faced with the effects of the berlin wall. kennedy went to germany in june of 1963 and made his very famous speech there that he supported germany and supported a unified germany and that america was not going to stand around and allow this to happen. he did start to negotiate with pact withmament the soviet union. he met with khrushchev in vienna. this picture of khrushchev and jackie was taken prior to the summit, i think the evening before. it also shows how jackie, the great asset to jfk, was truly an ambassador to the world. early in 1961 when president
kennedy gave his speech that we are going to have to beat the russians and put the first man on the moon, this is a photograph of jfk touring and being educated about the different types of missiles that would carry a man into space. but by 1963, jfk had to start to prepare for a reelection campaign in 1964. and the south and texas was becoming an area, even though lyndon johnson was his vice president, that people felt he -- that politicians felt he had to renew his support. a trip was planned to fort worth and dallas. this picture of jackie arriving -- jackie and jfk arriving in dallas on november 22 shows the warm reception. as they rode through this motorcade in dallas and entered
plaza, which we call -- three shots rang out. before we knew it, the president had slumped forward and the secret service had ordered the car to be rushed to the hospital. this picture taken by an unknown photographer, transmitted by the associated press gives you the , feeling of the urgency and the moment. it wasn't long before walter cronkite, probably the best-known newscaster on television worldwide, had to announce not only to america but the world at large that jfk had not only been shot, but his life had been lost and he had succumbed to the bullets that had entered his head. eight memorial 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. a few days later, there was this incredible funeral procession in washington, d.c. on november 25, after jfk's body was brought back to washington. jackie kennedy herself had shaped the funeral arrangements very much patterned after , abraham lincoln's burial and black veil and her two children by her side walked to arlington national cemetery where jfk was buried and an eternal flame was lit over the place where he was buried. a lot of people know i was in dallas when jfk was killed. i didn't put any of my own
photographs here in the exhibition. here's a picture i made of lee harvey oswald that tragic day, a famous, iconic image of mine of the gun oswald used to shoot it -- used tissue jfk. as a working journalist i was at a lot of these events. i felt this exhibit would serve a better purpose showing the work of my colleagues rather than some lesser pictures i had made. as i look around the walls here and remember the months that went into putting this exhibit together, all of these photographs by photographers i knew that i traveled with, had breakfast or dinner with, it was quite an experience, looking back on history and remembering those moments. some of them hard struggles to
get a picture that looks like it's very easy to take. crowds of photographers finding that you were a fly on the wall , looking fornces the decisive moment. these are pictures of the leading photographers of the golden age of photojournalism. i'm very proud that they all allowed me to kind of dip into their archives and find the images that tell a story of john -- tell the story of john f. kennedy and his vision for america. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs anytime by visiting our website c-span.org/history.
>> sunday on american artifacts, we visit arlington national cemetery to see objects in a memorabilia box laid in a cemetery cornerstone 1915, 105 years later in april of this year, the box was carefully removed and opened to discover what was inside. here is a preview. have to say, throughout the process of caitlin opening the box, i thought my chest was going to explode because i didn't know what the contents would be and what they would look like. we knew what was in there, but all sorts of things could have gone wrong with water damage. at one point someone said, is that water at the bottom of the box and i just about fell over. when caitlin finished cutting the lid of the inside box and she peeled back the lid, the
first thing that struck me was just how amazing the condition in the care that they took to put these items in in 1915. just about everything was wrapped in tissue paper or wax paper. the flag was rolled up and wrapped and tied it carefully. everything looked like it went in yesterday. so that was really what struck me and i just couldn't wait to get in and unwrap each item. a historian, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. the 1915n see more of memorabilia box at arlington national cemetery sunday on american artifacts at six clock p.m. and 10:00 p.m. eastern time . 8:00 p.m.aturday at eastern on american history tv and c-span-3, go inside a different college classroom and hear about topics from the american revolution, civil
rights, the u.s. president, and 9/11. most college campuses closed due to the impact of the coronavirus, watching teachers transfer to a virtual setting. >> gorbachev did most of the work to change the soviet union, but reagan made him -- met him halfway and encouraged him and supported him. madisonom of the press, called it freedom of the use of the press and it is indeed freedom to print inks and publishing. it is now freedom to what we are free institutionally as the press. >> lectures and history on american history tv on c-span-3 come every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. it is also available as a podcast. find it where use into podcasts. 3, 1969, richard nixon delivered what is now known as his silent majority
speech, arguing that anti-vietnam war protesters and that the counterculture was a minority and he asked the majority for their support. next on "reel america," two films about the vietnam war. first, "eight flags for 99 cents" explores the thoughts and opinions of working-class residents of a chicago neighborhood. following that, "vietnam! vietnam!" an hour long u.s. information film from 1971 directed by hollywood legend john ford. the film examines the people and culture of south vietnam and documents u.s. debate over the war with a critical eye on protesters and demonstrators.