Handmade John F. Kennedy Albums

Suite of 12 handmade albums with more than 340 wirephoto images depicting the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 1963-1964. Estimate: $25,000 to $35,000.
As a boy, Robert A. Cumins, now a prominent photojournalist, was fascinated with President John F. Kennedy's administration. A local newspaperman who knew of Cumins's interest in JFK passed along original wirephotos—most complete with captions—transmitted to the paper during the days following the President's assassination. Subsequently, the publisher provided Cumins with additional prints chronicling the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the early days of Lyndon Johnson's administration, and the political careers of Robert and Ted Kennedy. Cumins compiled these press photos in 12 hand-made albums, with his own handwritten notations, which appear in a portion of Swann's October 19th Fine Photographs & Select Photobooks auction devoted to photojournalism. 


Today's New York Observer details Cumins's visit to Washington and meeting with Kennedy's press secretary, Pierre Salinger, whom the 14-year-old interviewed for his school newspaper. He now reflects, "I thought if I can't get to the president, I'll get to the one guy who was closet to him in the journalistic world." 


Daile Kaplan, Director of Photographs at Swann, describes the importance of the collection—and photojournalism as a whole, "These images become the center of personal and collective memory....This is how we take in history."

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