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Public showing reveals JFK assassination documents

Loyola press release - November 18, 2013

Marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy this month, the University Honors Program will present a special display of historic documents, newspapers and letters relating to that tragic day, Nov. 22, 1963. The display is free and open to the public.

“JFK: A Wounded Nation” will open with a free reception Thursday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Old U.S. Mint – Louisiana State Museum, third floor. The reception will feature student docents from the University Honors Program who will discuss the items on display. Loyola students and recent alumni will also perform jazz standards from the 1960s by Antonio Carlos Jobim, best-known for the classic “Girl from Ipanema.” The exhibit will run from Nov. 21 to 24.

Curated by students in the University Honors Program under the supervision of director Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D., the display includes, among other items, original newspapers from Dallas, New York and Washington, D.C., providing coverage of the assassination and funeral; a copy of the Warren Commission Report signed by then-Congressman Gerald R. Ford; and an original letter signed by J. Edgar Hoover thanking the FBI agent who provided the exhibit images for the commission’s report and granting him a raise.

Also on display are items from the personal papers of Mary Edith Wilroy, manager of the Blair House (the President’s guest house), from January 1961 until July 1975. The hand-typed documents detail the protocol for JFK’s funeral, including the members and order of the funeral procession, as well as the arrival times of numerous dignitaries. There’s also an autographed photo of President Harry S. Truman signed on the day of Kennedy’s funeral and a signed letter from Jacqueline Kennedy to Wilroy, thanking her for her kindnesses.

“The honors students have worked hard to contextualize the events of November 1963 by providing information on contemporary issues such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights Movement and Kennedy's role as the first Catholic president,” Yavneh Klos said.

To preview some of the documents, visit the exhibit’s website.