In the News: Nov. 22, 1963: The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK

As we remember this fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, library and archival collections are providing vivid time capsules of that tragic event — and new ways to present those artifacts.

The University of Virginia Library is “live-tweeting” (@UVaDigServ #JFK50) a transcript of the broadcast wire from a United Press International teletype machine in Jacksonville Florida chronicling the shooting and death of President John F. Kennedy, November 22, 1963.  Learn more about the recent donation of the teletype machine printout of wire reports received by UPI on Notes from Under Grounds: The Blog of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

And even though they don’t give quite enough credit to their archival sources, this Huffington Post story does a great job pulling together news footage, newspaper headlines, and wire posts that detail the frantic attempts to report the assassination.

The LBJ Library’s Nov. 22, 1963 Tragedy and Transition online exhibit features many digitized manuscripts and a/v recordings related to the event.  An a/v preservation colleague points out a particularly interesting recording:

Here is Lady Bird Johnson’s first diary recollection from November 22, 1963. She used her secretary’s son’s portable reel to reel and recorded over a music tape that was on the machine. Being a frugal person she used the batteries in the machine until they were dead. This caused the pitch of this recording to fluctuate over two octaves during each segment.

This segment was “re-pitched” over the past few years, sometimes syllable by syllable.



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