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Revisiting ‘Letters To Jackie’

Jackie Kennedy looks at photos showing her husband, John F. Kennedy, at the Democratic Convention. (AP/Bill Chaplis)

Jackie Kennedy looks at photos showing her husband, John F. Kennedy, at the Democratic Convention. (AP/Bill Chaplis)

It’s hard to over-state or quantify the impact of the death of John F. Kennedy. But here’s one way — the more than one-and-a-half million letters of condolence that ordinary Americans sent to First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, right after her husband’s death.

Fifteen thousand of them are preserved in the Kennedy Library in Boston. In 2010, historian Ellen Fitzpatrick winnowed the collection down to about 200 and published them in her book, Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation, which has now been adapted into a documentary film. Together, they provide a snap-shop of the searing impact of the Kennedy assassination on a nation.

There will be a screening of Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy on Monday, November 25th at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute

Guest

Ellen Fitzpatrick, professor of history at the University of New Hampshire, and author of Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation.

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