A Thousand Days of JFK

It’s a busy season for Kennedy nostalgia, what with the 50th anniversary of his inauguration, the debut of the JFK Library’s digital archive, and the scrapping of an ill-conceived biopic. Of course some people were looking forward to the flick in the hopes of some stylish scenes, historical accuracy be damned. Amid all the hoopla however it’s been overlooked that a bona fide JFK film just came out – albeit tucked in the back of a book. We’re talking about Portrait of Camelot: A Thousand Days in the Kennedy White House by Richard Reeves with photos by Cecil W. Stoughton, which comes complete with a DVD of never-before-seen film footage.

It’s great stuff (though sans dialogue), focusing on personal rather than presidential occasions, including several scenes from Hyannis Port – and in particular Jack playing golf there in bright yellow go-to-hell pants; the America’s Cup in 1962 (more on that later); Kennedy family Palm Beach holidays; horsing around in Middleburg, Virginia; and jaunts aboard JFK’s yacht the Honey Fitz. Of course the 500 photos in the book are equally appealing, a few classics and several lesser-known snaps, with plenty of sartorial details to focus on (see below). The publisher, Abrams, kindly allowed us to share these images with you, but it’s no substitute for acquiring the actual book – and DVD – for your style library.

Jared Paul Stern writes the Classicist column for Luxist

Comments on “A Thousand Days of JFK

    Larry on February 24, 2011 6:07 PM:

    Jackie O My, she is gorgeous!

    bethany on February 24, 2011 6:44 PM:

    a dirtbag who was all talk and no action (except with the ladies) and a golddigger who cried and then found daddy warbucks

    JFPisa on February 24, 2011 7:28 PM:

    Hit the nail on the head Bethany.

    Kennedy is overrated, kind of like the current White House…

    james on February 24, 2011 7:51 PM:

    Love the pictures I guess the best way to put it “all style… no substance”.

    jbjones on February 24, 2011 8:17 PM:

    poseurs. phonies. a legacy based on schlock.

    David on February 24, 2011 8:51 PM:

    Politics aside, these are fantastic photos!

    Gentleman's Gazette on February 24, 2011 9:33 PM:

    Thanks for mentioning this book, it definitely has to find its way to my bookshelf.

    kewaywi on February 25, 2011 12:09 AM:

    Dirtbag? As opposed to Nixon? I think both parties have them. Leave your tea partying to the wingnut sites.

    Grant on February 25, 2011 12:13 AM:

    A true war hero and great president.

    Jon on February 25, 2011 12:59 AM:

    …and the last great presidential patron of the arts, for those of you counting at home.

    Brian Miller on February 25, 2011 2:18 AM:

    Good Lord. Can’t escape the online hate, even here.

    PR on February 25, 2011 6:55 AM:

    agree with brian miller. ridiculous.

    HB on February 25, 2011 10:50 AM:

    How many Presidents enlisted AND CHOSE a combat theatre instead of a desk job or deferment? Anyone? Enjoy the book for what it is.

    Jat on February 25, 2011 11:46 AM:

    I’m jealous of his lifestyle…cept for that bit at the end where he got shot.

    David on February 25, 2011 12:37 PM:

    I gave this to my M.I.L. for Christmas and I’ve been looking forward to borrowing it. I wonder why he sometimes does the bottom button on the suit.

    ATTW on February 25, 2011 12:46 PM:

    Totally agree with Brian Miller. First president ever brings style into the white house. Maybe some people would argue about Teddy.

    JPS on February 25, 2011 1:15 PM:

    FDR had style – that cigarette holder clamped in the jaw just so. Hard to match JFK’s preppy panache, though. Tortoiseshell Ray-Bans, do we think? I believe that’s a PT boat tie clasp.

    jamen on February 25, 2011 1:39 PM:

    Dear early commenters and haters: This awesome blog is about style, and the substance. I can totally love the ramblin’ big-belt-buckle hollywood cowboy style of President Reagan, and do, while also sincerely believing that he destroyed much that I love about our country, much that was put into place by Kennedy and Johnson.
    It’s easy to call any politician a dirtbag: saints don’t rise to the top of democracies.
    What’s inspiring about Kennedy as a template for good living by ACL readers is that the style–the lightness, the confidence, the blend of historical and modern–was consistent with the best ethical and philosophical intentions of that particular man, JFK, and his administration.

    A reminder that all these things that help us be ourselves–watches and shoes and french cuffs and the occasional big toy–are not the opposite of being a responsible human being and evolved man, but can sometimes help with becoming your best self…

    ThatGuy on February 25, 2011 2:13 PM:

    Beautiful pictures of beautiful Americans.

    Ray Hull on February 25, 2011 3:12 PM:

    Booze drove ’em up and ran ’em down.

    Tom Hemphill on February 25, 2011 3:57 PM:

    Thank you. A time remembered in my head and heart.

    will279 on February 25, 2011 4:00 PM:

    My guess is that most of the commentators here weren’t alive when JFK took office and can’t imagine what the country was like then. America was prosperous, powerful, and optimistic, and the Kennedys personified all of that newly-recognized spirit, especially coming after the drab Eisenhower 50’s. In the fall of my freshman year at college the Cuban missile crisis prompted my dormmates to talk enthusiastically about enlisting. Enlisting! Thanksgiving in Manhattan was the most magical time I can remember. Record stores were blaring Vaughn Meader’s satirical album about the Kennedys and everyone was just so damn happy. But I digress….

    unclelooney on February 25, 2011 4:09 PM:

    Ah! The New Frontier! When parents could smoke while holding their kids.
    There’s John John! My Mother and Grandmother always tried to dress me like him. A boy named Sue toddlerhood.

    Ye Ole General on February 25, 2011 5:33 PM:

    Great post;Ill get the book. There is a very fine story, on the inauguration, in the February Vanity Fair.

    Hiram Morales on February 25, 2011 5:44 PM:

    Jimmy Carter was a real patron of the arts. He even had Charles Mingus at the White House. JFK wouldn’t know culture if it shot him in the face. Marilyn Monroe was the only pop culture he was interested in, and other sluts of that level. Also, check Jimmy Carter’s work for Habitat for Humanity, and his other humanitarian work.

    Also, I think that JFK was a dirtbag too. As for Nixon, isn’t that pretty obvious? You want style- Reagan’s got it 100 percent. You want style but absolutely no substance? Check the commander in chief now. And this is not about Tea Party or any such bullcrap, either. Don’t try and make it faux political.

    Elias J on February 25, 2011 7:13 PM:


    You put out a question about Presidents who served in Combat, the answer is much higher than you thought or think (reading into the suggestive nature of your statement/question)


    In fact I think there are more President who saw combat than who didn’t.

    mrbutter on February 26, 2011 1:36 AM:

    I’d rather see a President with a sense of humor than one with a burr up his …. I dig the picture with the undone tie and the Navy goof to his side almost as much as Bush giving the Shocker with the troops in Iraq. Presidents are mere mortals, just like the rest of us.

    JPS on February 26, 2011 10:01 AM:

    The ‘Navy goof’ is JFK’s press secretary Pierre Salinger, clowning around aboard the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. while watching the America’s Cup off Newport in 1962.

    Knegg on February 26, 2011 10:16 AM:

    I think it’s John Kerry we see behind Salingers right shoulder.

    WTH on February 27, 2011 12:17 PM:

    People argue that both sides are responsible for the harsh political rhetoric but I often see neoconservatives rushing in with despicable aspersions and setting the tone even in this context.

    It’s mindless reasoning along the lines of they’re evil, we’re good. For example, pointing out St. Ronny’s true style. You might be aware of the incident when Reagan was running for governor and as he prepared for a photo shoot at his ranch, he put on the jodhpurs that he usually wore for riding. One of his advisers told him to change into jeans because voters wanted a cowboy. How is that for authentic style?

    Terrapin Stationers on February 27, 2011 2:31 PM:

    Ditto Jamen. Nice post MW

    Terrapin Stationers on February 27, 2011 2:33 PM:

    Nice to see everyone fired up though.

    pmg on February 28, 2011 4:47 PM:

    yikes everyone gets so testy about politics. i thought we were here to talk about his sunglasses.

    Jason on March 1, 2011 11:45 PM:

    Man Bono was looking old back then…that guy’s gotta be like 80 years old by now….wonder where Larry Mullens Jr. is? Although back then, Larry Mullens Sr. was the Drummer.

    ZOMG on March 9, 2011 7:14 PM:

    He did his bottom button on a suit? Hmm…

Comments are closed.