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On November 22, 1963, the 35th President of the United States wrote his name across the front page of that day's edition of the Dallas Morning News for a hotel chambermaid seeking an autograph. Beneath a headline declaring "Storm of Political Controversy Swirls Around Kennedy on Visit", Kennedy scribbled, "To Jan White, John Kennedy."
Those five words were, in all likelihood, the last Kennedy would ever write; this famous headline of the next day's edition of the Dallas Morning News explained why.
Newspaper, being the front page of the November 23, 1963 (morning) edition of the Dallas Morning News bearing the headline "Kennedy Slain on Dallas Street." Elephant folio [app. 14.5 x 22.5 inches].
all pages and transcript
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS, TEXAS, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1963 -- 50 PAGES IN 4 SECTIONS **** PRICE 5 CENTS
ON DALLAS STREET
JOHNSON BECOMES PRESIDENT
By ROBERT E. BASKIN
Washington Bureau of The News
In a solemn and sorrowful hour, with a nation mourning its dead President, Lyndon B. Johnson Friday took the oath of office as the 36th chief executive of the United States.
Following custom, the oath-taking took place quickly -- only an hour and a half after the assassination of President Kennedy.
Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes of Dallas administrated the oath in a hurriedly arranged ceremony at 2:39 p.m. aboard Air Force 1, the presidential plane that brought Kennedy on his ill-fated Texas trip and on which his body was taken back to Washington.
Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Kennedy, her stocking still flecked with blood from the assassination, flanked the vice-president as he raised his right hand in the forward compartment of the presidential jetliner at Love Field. About 23 White House staff members and friends were present as Johnson intoned the familiar oath:
"I do solemnly swear that I will perform the duties of President of the United States to the best of my ability, and defend, protect and preserve the Constitution of the United States."
The 55-year-old Johnson, the first Texan ever to become President, turned and kissed his wife on the cheek, giving her shoulders a squeeze. Then he put his arm around Mrs. Kennedy, kissing her gently on her right cheek.
Mrs. Kennedy, in tears, was wearing the same bright pink suit she wore on the fatal ride, a ride in which she has been wildly acclaimed by friendly, cheering crowds in Dallas before rifle shots rang out and the President collapsed in the seat of the car beside her.
Johnson had deliberately delayed the ceremony to give Kennedy's widow time to compose herself for one of the gruelling aspects of her husband's assassination.
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Charged With Act
A sniper shot and killed President John F. Kennedy on the streets of Dallas Friday. A 24-year-old pro-Communist who once tried to defect to Russia was charged with the murder shortly before midnight.
Kennedy was shot about 12:20 p.m. Friday at the foot of Elm Street as the Presidential car entered the approach to the Triple Underpass. The President died in a sixth-floor surgery room at Parkland Hospital about 1 p.m., though doctors said there was no chance for him to live when he reached the hospital.
Within two hours,Vice-President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as the nation's 36th President inside the presidential plane before departing for Washington.
The gunman also seriously wounded Texas Gov. John Connally, who was riding with the President.
Four Hours in Surgery
Connally spent four hours on an operating table, but his condition was reported as "quite satisfactory" at midnight.
The assassin, firing from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building near the Triple Underpass sent a Mauser 6.5 rifle bullet smashing into the President's head.
An hour after the President died, police hauled the 24-year-old suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald, out of an Oak Cliff movie house.
He had worked for a short time at the depository, and police had encountered him while searching the building shortly after the assassination. They turned him loose when he was identified as an employe [sic] but put out a pickup order on him when he failed to report for a work roll call.
He also was accused of killing a Dallas policeman, J. D. Tippit, whose body was found during the vast manhunt for the President's assassin.
Oswald, who has an extensive pro-Communist background, four years ago renounced his American citizenship in Russia and tried to become a Russian citizen. Later, he returned to this country.
Friendly Crowd Cheered Kennedy
Shockingly, the President was shot after driving the length of Main Street, through a crowd termed the largest and friendliest of his 2-day Texas visit. It was a good-natured crowd that surged out from the curbs almost against the swiftly moving presidential car. The protective bubble had been removed from the official convertible.
Mrs. Connally, who occupied one of the two jump seats in the car, turned to the President a few moments before and remarked, "You can't say Dallas wasn't friendly to you."
At Fort Worth, Kennedy had just delivered one of the most well-received speeches of his ca-
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