Oct 05 at 12:00 PM - Sale 2647 -

Sale 2647 - Lot 157

Estimate: $ 18,000 - $ 22,000
Suite of 12 hand-made albums with more than 340 wirephoto images depicting the assassination of the 35th president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, on November 22, 1963. Each album was crafted on a theme, and include the motorcade and JFK's funeral, Lee Harvey Oswald's capture and murder, and associated historical events. 4tos, wrappers with stenciled lettering and handwritten notations, 9 with a postage stamp-size presidential seal cellotaped at top, many of the covers discolored; stapled. 1963-64

Provenance: Robert A. Cumins Archive

A one-of-a-kind visual and historical artifact that speaks to the power of pictures to shape both a national and personal identity. The brief, halcyon period associated with the presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1960-1963) is widely remembered to this day as a time of unparalleled hope and optimism in U.S. history. After his assassination, former first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1929–1994) coined the term "an American Camelot" to invoke these remarkable years.

Robert A. Cumins, who is now a prominent photojournalist, collected and compiled the albums as a 14 year-old boy. They are organized individually and titled by timeline:
1. "The Final Days of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 5/29/1917-11/22/1963." With 47 pictures
2. "The Final Days of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 5/29/1917-11/22/1963." With 54 pictures
3. "A New President Takes Over, Lyndon Baines Johnson." With 51of 52 pictures
4. "A New President Takes Over, 12/10/63 - 12/12/63." With 13 pictures
5. "The Funeral of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 11/25/63." With 39 pictures
6. "J.F.K., L.B.J." With 7 pictures
7. "The Law and Lee H. Oswald." With 31 pictures
8. "Jack Ruby." With 10 pictures
9. "Two Grieved Families, The Conaly's [sic] and the Tippet's [sic]." With 10 pictures
10. "A World Mourns a President." With 63 pictures
11. "We Move On." With 13 pictures
12. "Rob't. Kennedy on Tour." With 8 pictures

Like many young people of the time, Cumins was fascinated with JFK's administration. At the age of fourteen, he interviewed JFK's press secretary, Pierre Salinger, for his school newspaper. During his twenties he became a photojournalist, later specializing in coverage of the Middle East peace accords. His chilling photograph of the World Trade Center under attack attests to his quick visual instincts and stunning imagery. Cumins's love of JFK and the imagery associated with his presidency was recognized by a newspaperman in his community, who passed along scores of the original wirephotos, most complete with captions, that were transmitted on thin paper through the Unifax machine during the four days between the assassination and funeral. Subsequently, the publisher provided Cumins with additional prints chronicling the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, the early days of Johnson's administration, and the political careers of Robert and Ted Kennedy.