“It’s been rather chaotic,” Meader said. “We’ve had all the major morning talk shows, the “Today” show, “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” Fox, all wanting exclusives. It tells you the level of this stuff, and to have it in Amesbury locally, it’s really a special thing.”
People magazine also just put out a four-page story about the collection, and word of the auction has even spread overseas. Yesterday, a television crew from Russia came to Amesbury to interview McInnis and Meader about the auction.
“We’ve got a tiger by the tail here,” McInnis said. “We never realized that this would get this kind of attention.”
More than 2,000 photographs, documents, gifts and other items are divided into 723 lots up for bid, and each tells its own unique story about the life of the former president, from his early years in politics all the way to his death, and beyond.
“It goes from the pre-presidential years to the presidential years and after his death, all the way up into the Kennedy library years,” McInnis said. “The auction tells the whole story of his life.”
For instance, an early photo from 1938 shows Kennedy with the Harvard sailing team, while another from 1954 shows Ethel, Jackie and John Kennedy taking a picture of themselves in a mirror — perhaps the original “selfie.” There’s even one of John and Jackie riding on camels in Egypt with the Great Pyramids of Giza rising up in the background.
“Nobody has ever seen that photo before,” McInnis said.
Being elected president didn’t change the human side of Kennedy. A series of photos from 1962 show the president relaxing in a pool with singer Bing Crosby, and another taken on Halloween night in 1963 shows Kennedy sitting at his desk in the Oval Office with his two children on his lap, one dressed as a witch and the other as a skeleton.