Camelot

John F. Kennedy’s Personal Photographer Looks Back on the Kennedy Years

America was enthralled by the 35th president, his glamorous wife, and cute kids. In a new book, Kennedy’s personal photographer releases never-before-seen photos of the first family.

Estate of Jacques Lowe,Krause, Johansen

Estate of Jacques Lowe

Fifty years after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, his legacy still enthralls the nation. With The Kennedy Years, a posthumous memoir from Kennedy’s personal photographer, Jacques Lowe, readers get an inside look into how America’s Camelot was born. The book's never-before-seen images show the beloved former president in his most public and private moments—on the campaign trail, working at the White House, and with Jackie and his children.

 

John and Jacqueline Kennedy were virtually unknown in much of the U.S. in the late fall of 1959, when he began to search for support. Here, they are having breakfast with Steve Smith, John’s brother-in-law, in a small town in Oregon. They had spent the night before at the Let ‘Er Buck Motel.

Estate of Jacques Lowe

Kennedy plays with his daughter, Caroline, whom he called “Buttons.” The oldest child of John and Jackie, Caroline moved into the White House when she was just 3 years old. The first daughter was known to walk her father to the Oval Office every morning and ride her pony, Macaroni, on the front lawn. 

Estate of Jacques Lowe

Jackie and 2-year-old Caroline sit at their home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, in August 1960. The Cape Cod compound served as both a political base for Kennedy’s campaign and an idyllic backdrop for summer family vacations throughout JFK’s presidency.

Estate of Jacques Lowe

Kennedy campaigned during the presidential primaries in West Virginia, considered a battleground state in the 1960 election. The Kennedy clan—supporters, friends, and family—descended on the overwhelmingly protestant state, visiting almost every county, to prove that the country was ready for a Catholic candidate. In a landslide, Kennedy defeated Sen. Hubert Humphrey by more than 20 points in the state, a win the future president credited with securing his party’s nomination.

Estate of Jacques Lowe

Then-Senator Kennedy with Jackie and infant Caroline, at the Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, family home.

Estate of Jacques Lowe

Newly elected John F. Kennedy and soon-to-be first lady Jackie, in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, 1960. The election was so close—Kennedy defeated Nixon by just 0.1 percent of the popular vote—that the president-elect’s victory speech at the Hyannis Armory came a day after the vote.  

Estate of Jacques Lowe

Senator Kennedy says goodbye to Jackie and one-year-old Caroline as he leaves for his office in Georgetown, 1959.