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President-elect and Mrs. Kennedy arrive at the Inaugural Gala, January 19, 1961

President-elect and Mrs. Kennedy arrive at the Inaugural Gala, January 19, 1961

Held on the eve of President Kennedy’s inauguration at the National Guard Armory in Washington, DC, the Inaugural Gala showcased the talents of the nation’s brightest stars in the performing arts: Harry Belafonte, Milton Berle, Nat King Cole, Tony Curtis, Bette Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Kelly, Mahalia Jackson, Janet Leigh, Frederic March, Ethel Merman, Sidney Poitier, Anthony Quinn, and others. Produced by Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford, the gala raised more than $1 million for the Democratic National Committee. Frank Sinatra served as Master of Ceremonies.

Photograph by Jacques Lowe
© Estate of Jacques Lowe

© Estate of Jacques Lowe