In the 1960 campaign, John F. Kennedy pledged "to get this country moving again," and offered voters a new generation of leadership. He challenged his fellow citizens to join him in the struggle for freedom in the perilous years of the Cold War. On Inauguration Day, January 20, 1961, nearly one million people in the nation's capitol braved the subfreezing temperatures to catch a glimpse of the new President they had elected. A snowstorm had left the city glittering in the winter's light. The hard issues of the day---the Communist threat, a nuclear arms race, racial unrest, and economic distress---awaited the President and the nation. But January 20th would be a day of celebration---all sunshine and possibility---when a bold, young leader took to the world stage and stood poised at the edge of a promise.
This exhibit includes the top hat and gloves the President-elect wore during that cold January day, the evening gown Jacqueline Kennedy wore to the gala, and a series of photographs -- never before seen or published -- showing the people who braved the subfreezing temperatures of January 20, 1961, to catch a glimpse of the new President and First Lady.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA.
President-Elect and Mrs. Kennedy leave their Georgetown home on Inauguration morning, January 20, 1961. Photograph by Jacques Lowe.
This top hat was worn by President Kennedy to his inaugural ceremonies in Washington D.C. on January 20, 1961.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA. Accession number MO 2009.3.177
The Holy Bible with Old Testament first published at Douay 1609, and the New Testament first published at Rheims 1582, with notes by the late Reverend George Leo Haydock, and revision by the Very Rev. F. C. Husenbeth, D. D. Vicar General in the Eastern District of England. The bible is leather bound with a gold leaf cross on the cover. It contains 5 handwritten pages of the Fitzgerald family record, starting with Thomas A. Fitzgerald in 1857. There are notes for the engagement of Rose E. Fitzgerald and Joseph P. Kennedy, their marriage in October 1914, and a list of births for their nine children.
This Bible was used during the swearing in ceremony of President John F. Kennedy.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA, Gift of Thomas A. Fitzgerald Jr. Accession number MO 78.224
This coat was worn as part of an ensemble by Jacqueline Kennedy during John F. Kennedy's Inaugural ceremonies in Washington, DC on January 20, 1961.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Accession number MO 63.1295
This dress was worn as part of an ensemble by Jacqueline Kennedy to President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural ceremonies in Washington, DC on January 20, 1961.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA. Accession number MO 63.1290
Pillbox hat worn by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to the Inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C., January 20, 1961.
With his fall-winter 1959 collection Givenchy had shown distinctively domed pillbox hats, in various incarnations, a millinery staple since the 1930s-and it was a variant on this seamless, molded shape, reinterpreted by Halston (then Bergdorf's custom hat designer) that Jacqueline Kennedy chose to complete her inauguration day outfit. In their recent collections Givenchy, Saint Laurent at Dior, and Balenciaga had shown similar hats worn straight and high on the head. Jacqueline Kennedy, however, was inspired to tip-tilt her hats to the back of her head. Ironically, this attempt to downplay the hat's scale and significance made an instant fashion history and created an iconic element of style.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA. Accession number MO 63.2263
Sable muff designed by Oleg Cassini, carried by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy during the Inaugural ceremonies of President Kennedy on January 20, 1961.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA. Accession number MO 63.1253
This brooch was a gift from the President-elect to Jacqueline Kennedy to celebrate the birth of their son, John F. Kennedy Jr. The pin was purchased by John F. Kennedy in a private showroom of Tiffany's New York offices on January 11, 1961.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wore the pin on Inauguration day and on several other occasions while first lady, including June 2, 1961 during her state visit to Paris while touring with Andre Malraux, in Vienna that same year, and during the presentation of the Egyptian statue at the National Gallery of Art on November 3, 1961.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA. Accession number MO 2009.3.87
Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States. Washington, D.C. January 20, 1961.
Created by the US Army Signal Corps, Accession Number PX65-108-CC18209
This majestic dress was a masterstroke of image making that established Jacqueline Kennedy in the national consciousness as a woman of commanding personal style who had an unerring sense of history and of her place in it. The cockade at the waist pointed to Jacqueline Kennedy's pride in her French Bouvier ancestry and her profound love of history. The cockade had its roots on the field of battle. During the American Revolution, Washington's soldiers wore black cockades. When Lafayette joined them, he adopted a black-and-white cockade to indicate his loyalties to both America and Louis XVI as a gesture of respect to Lafayette, the Continental army followed suit. This dress was worn by Jacqueline Kennedy to the Inaugural Gala, National Guard Armory, Washington, D.C., January 19, 1961 the evening before President Kennedy's inauguration.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA. Accession number MO 63.1539