University Archives

Lot 139

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JFK, Jacqueline Kennedy Archive of 64 Fabulous Photos ,Queen Elizabeth II Dedicates British Land to Create the John F. Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede

Extensive Album of 56 vintage 8" x 10" black & white and 8 color photos. Circa 1965, depicting the Kennedy's, Jackie, Robert, Edward, John-John, Caroline; in addition to Queen Elizabeth, and numerous pictures of Chester Victor Clifton, a Major General in the United States Army and an aide to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. From the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist.

Following the assassination of the former President in 1963, the British government decided to commemorate his life with a monument. The sculpture itself is understated—a series of granite steps lead to a slab with an inscription—but more interesting than the physical monument is the land it is built upon. The acre was gifted to the United States federal government so that the memorial would stand on American soil. This album is a lovely archive of photos depicting this event.

Designed and carved by Alan Collins, the JFK memorial was dedicated in a special ceremony on May 14, 1965, and the Kennedy's traveled from the US to attend. As they stood before the memorial for the first time, JFK Jr, then 4, held hands with his mother and Prince Philip. In Queen Elizabeth’s speech, she noted the symbolism of the memorial’s location - Runnymede, which sits on the banks of the River Thames in Surrey, about 20 miles west of Central London. It is where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. She bequeathed the land below the memorial to the American people and communicated her own people’s admiration for JFK and grief over his death.

The Queen's dedication speech is shown in part below:

“Here at Runnymede, 750 years ago, the Magna Carta was signed. Among our earliest statutes, it has rightly been regarded as the cornerstone of those liberties which later became enshrined in our democratic government under the rule of law. This is a part of the heritage which the people of the United States share with us.”

“Therefore, it is altogether fitting that this should be the site of Britain’s memorial to the late President John F. Kennedy. This acre of English soil is now bequeathed in perpetuity to the American people in memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who in death my people still mourn, and whom in life they loved and admired.”

At a later point, Queen Elizabeth also said “The unprecedented intensity of that wave of grief, mixed with something akin to despair, which swept over our people at the news of President Kennedy’s assassination, was a measure of the extent to which we recognized what he had already accomplished, and of the high hopes that rode with him in a future that was not to be.”

President Kennedy had visited England twice - once in June 1963 to meet with Prime Minister Macmillan, and once in June 1961, to meet with Queen Elizabeth. There are, famously, many rumors about the dinner JFK and Jackie attended at Buckingham Palace, but there was no trace of tension between the royals and the Kennedys on this solemn occasion.

This album of photos perhaps may represent one of the last happy occasions for the remaining Kennedy clan, Jacqueline and JFK's children. A wonderful piece of history for a collector of Kennedy memorabilia.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Westport, CT, US

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