A large collection of John F. Kennedy’s memorabilia, including rare photos, letters, gifts and other unique items, have been discovered hidden away at the home of one of the president’s most trusted advisors. Belonging to David Powers, JFK's White House special assistant, the items were found by chance as Powers' family prepared to sell their home in Massachusetts. The collection, which comprises about 2,000 objects and involves nearly every member of the Camelot clan, will be auctioned off on Presidents Day weekend by Amesbury, Mass.-based John McInnis Auctioneers. The items can be viewed and purchased online.
Showing Ethel Kennedy, the president's sister in law, Jackie Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, this picture is one of the rare photos on sale. It was shot in 1954 by Jackie as the three posed in the mirror.
"The collection crystallizes historic moments in the most personal way," the auctioneers said.
"President Kennedy was the greatest man I ever met, and the best friend I ever had," Powers wrote.
Powers was with Kennedy from 1946 to 1963, following him in on every campaign and trip, from the House to the Senate and the presidency. He became special assistant to the president and stayed on into the Johnson administration until 1965, when he retired.
At that time, Robert F. Kennedy asked Powers to begin forming the collection for the JFK Presidential Library and Museum that later opened in Boston.
He retired as a curator in 1994 and died four years later at 85.
In these 1955 images, Powers is relaxing with J.F.K. (picture taken by Jackie) and with Jackie (photo taken by J.F.K.)
Powers' collection spans the entire life of Kennedy, and includes many candid photographs of the president with his family.
This lot shows a picture of J.F.K. at 6 months, an image of Rose with J.F.K., Kick and Joe, Jr., and a Dec. 11, 1939 photo of Joe, Sr. with three sons. Photographs of the entire family add to the lot.
The picture on the left shows John F. Kennedy in his naval uniform during World War II. The rare image on the right, dating 1946, shows J.F.K. at the start of his political career. He is captured making "a very good point." The image was enlarged to be used at J.F.K.'s campaign headquarters.
Taken on March 1, 1955 by Powers, this picture shows Kennedy and wife Jacqueline, relaxed and smiling. They were enjoying a vacation in Palm Beach after J.F.K.'s spinal surgery in February.
John F Kennedy was the last president to wear the traditional stovepipe hat to his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961. On that day, a snowstorm snarled Washington, and the inaugural parade was almost cancelled. In these photos taken by the Associated Press, the president is shown with his wife walking outside the White House, just as the parade began.
The picture shows John F. Kennedy watching the America's Cup race on Sept. 22, 1962. He is wearing the leather jacket pictured on the right.
Manufactured by Ralph Edwards sportswear, Kennedy's Air Force One leather bomber jacket, size 44, is one of the most coveted items. It is expected to fetch between $20,000 and $40,000.
J.F.K. gave the jacket to Dave Powers in 1962 or 1963.
Joe Kennedy, Sr. sent his son John on his last birthday a "lease" to the White House and a note.
"As a tenant of the White House, you’ve been just fine, not to mention Jackie, John and Caroline. So to show my esteem and appreciation, I’ve extended your lease. For a four year duration," the note read.
According to the auctioneers, the gift shows, through humor, that the father was still calling the shots in spite of his son's position as president.
On his last birthday, J.F.K received another gift – a poignant card from his 2 1/2-year-old son "John John."
Signed "John xxooxxo," this is the only birthday card that John, Jr. gave to his father which was written in his own hand.
This is Dave Powers' original schedule for the fateful Texas trip on Nov. 21-22, 1963. Titled "President Kennedy's Final Hours," the document includes a handwritten, minute-by-minute account of the events leading to, during and after the president's assassination.
Powers' seemingly clinical annotations turn emotional as he writes on multiple occasions: "My President is dead." The image on the right shows J.F.K.'s casket at the White House.
Nov. 24, 1963: Wearing a black veil, and waiting to join the president's funeral procession, Jacqueline Kennedy is shown at the White House entrance with her children Caroline and John Jr., who celebrated his third birthday on the day of his father's funeral. Behind Jacqueline Kennedy, are J.F.K.'s brother and sister, Robert and Patricia. It was the first time that a first lady walked in her husband's funeral procession.
A few weeks later, in December, Jackie gave Powers a book called "Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States from George Washington 1789 to John F. Kennedy 1961."
It was the gift J.F.K. had planned to give Powers for Christmas in 1963.
"Please accept it now from me," Jackie wrote in a dedicatory note.
Thanking Powers for the "many happy hours" he spent with her husband, Jackie concluded: "You and I will miss him most."