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This catalogue exhibits highlights from the John F. Kennedy manuscripts of the Shapell Manuscript Collection. A significant portion of these manuscripts were on display at two separate exhibitions at the Oregon Historical Society:
The Fading Light of Camelot (November 2013 – February 2014), in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
High Hopes: The Journey of John F. Kennedy (March – November 2017), commemorating the centennial of John F. Kennedy’s birth.
Complementing these materials are additional John F. Kennedy manuscripts from the Collection that have never before been on exhibit. In addition, a selection of manuscripts relating to Robert F. Kennedy is included, marking the 50th anniversary of his 1968 assassination. A full appendix of the materials can be found at the back of the catalogue.
John F. Kennedy powered into the White House on the energy of a country seeking change. Stuck in a recession and dismayed by perceived political stagnation, voters embraced the vibrancy and wit of Kennedy and his young family, emboldening the president to edge toward a new frontier, both on the homefront and internationally – and even to outer space. The fervent hope that Kennedy brought to the White House and to the United States was quickly confronted by broad geopolitical threats, as well as by personal challenges.
But John F. Kennedy was up to the task: his early life, education, heroism in the Navy, the loss of his brother in the Second World War, and his grasp and perspective of needed government reform had prepared him to lead the country through existential threats and toward a progressive future. The arc of John F. Kennedy’s life has become American
legend, from the challenges and remarkable feats, all the way up to the potential that was relinquished in his abrupt, tragic end. This collection of manuscripts looks deeper into Kennedy’s story, through the words and images of John F. Kennedy himself.