Jan. 20, 1961: Here is the story of President Kennedy’s inaugural as told through photos from The Times archives. Above, President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy shortly after the inauguration. Keep reading for more pictures and even a mystery photo!
Work is nearly finished on the presidential reviewing stand outside the White House.
On the flight from New York to Washington, Kennedy reviews his inauguration speech.
On the night before the inauguration, a heavy storm blankets Washington with 8 inches of snow.
Kennedy, meeting with former President Truman the night before the inauguration, is unconcerned about the bad weather, which some people feared would affect the inaugural.
President-elect Kennedy and President Eisenhower leave the White House en route to the Capitol for Kennedy’s inauguration.
Ike makes an aside to Kennedy as they leave the White House.
In one of the most memorable images from Kennedy’s inauguration, poet Robert Frost, 86, was unable to read a poem written for the occasion, “For John F. Kennedy, His Inauguration” because of glare. Instead, he recited “The Gift Outright” from memory.
And even here, we find a mystery! Vice President Lyndon Johnson is credited in news accounts with trying to shield Frost’s text with his hat. However, in this photo, Johnson is clearly visible to the right. And, in fact, video of the inauguration shows Johnson didn’t have a hat.
So who is the fellow to the left?
Here’s a better look at our mystery fellow with the bald head directly behind Kennedy, in a frame grab from YouTube. The fellow is unidentified in news accounts but in videos of the inauguration, he can be seen acting as a sort of usher, making sure people get to their seats.
Kennedy delivers his inaugural address. In the front row are, from left, Johnson, Richard Nixon, Sen. John Sparkman (D-Ala.) and Harry Truman.
Kennedy shakes hands with Nixon after delivering his speech.
Jacqueline Kennedy “had a chuck under the chin for her husband, President John F. Kennedy, moments after he took the oath of office.”
The presidential motorcade leaves the Capitol en route to the White House.
West Point cadets march past the presidential reviewing stand. The first lady left after an hour but Kennedy watched the entire 3 1/2-hour parade, The Times said.
President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy leave the White House for a tour of the inaugural balls, which were held at four hotels and a National Guard armory.