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Exhibit to show Connally's clothing when JFK shot

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Exhibit to show Connally's clothing when JFK shot


Houston Chronicle

October 16, 2013

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Sarah Norris, conservator for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, points out a bullet hole in the blood-stained shirt worn by Texas Gov. John Connally on the day gunfire wounded him and killed President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963, at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. Texas state archivists are preparing the suit and shirt worn by Connally as the centerpiece for an exhibit to mark next month’s 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Your eyes instinctively seek the holes in the vintage 1960s black wool men's business suit. The white cotton dress shirt with now-faded blood stains more vividly illustrates the horror of a half century ago.

Emergency room staff at Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital removed the clothing from seriously wounded Texas Gov. John Connally, in the rush to save his life from the same burst of gunfire that also had left President John Kennedy mortally wounded.

Texas state archivists now have readied the suit and shirt worn by Connally that day as the centerpiece of an exhibit to mark next month's 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination.

It will be the first public display since 1964 for the clothing Connally wore Nov. 22, 1963, during Kennedy's visit. Connally and his wife gave the clothing to the state archives.

"It makes an impact, it's pretty dramatic and it kind of gives you pause," Sarah Norris, conservator at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library where the exhibit opens next week, said Tuesday. "It creates the sense of immediacy about what happened that day."

John Anderson, preservation officer at the archives, said the display tells an important aspect of a well-known story.

"For Texans, this is something that maybe gets forgotten by some of the rest of the world, that Gov. Connally was shot at the same time," he said, noting that Connally's chest wound could have been fatal.

"The first thing that jumps out at you is the damage," said Norris, who has been assembling the exhibit for several months. "The most dramatic is the shirt."

The white Arrow brand shirt, size 16 with a 35-inch sleeve, has faded over the years and the now-brown blood stains and spatters cover nearly all of it. There are bullet holes in the shirt's chest, back shoulder and right cuff. Three buttons are missing, presumably due to emergency medical responders ripping the garment away to reach Connelly's chest wound.

The damage to the three-button Oxford Clothes suit from John L. Ashe of Fort Worth is less pronounced.

Nellie Connally had it cleaned before it was presented to the state archives, Anderson said, so there's no evidence of blood. But the coat has bullet holes that match those on the shirt, plus a hole on the left leg just above and toward the inside of the knee.

The items will be displayed through Feb. 14 in the library lobby in a glass case that will allow visitors to see them from all sides

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  • 2 weeks later...

Robert L. White had a Museum exhibit in St. Petersburg, showcasing his life-long collection of Kennedy things. I met him when he gave a speech at the Hudson library in Florida. A certain friend of mine took me to the museum, but it was closed as it was a holiday. We went upstairs anyway. The Kennedy exhibit was taken down. The next day I heard that Robert L. White had died. He was in his early 50's. He didn't look like a sick man. It was sudden and was diagnosed a heart attack. I felt that was suspicious. My friend didn't think so. Here's an article from an auction house. Something is not right about his dying early.

ohn F. Kennedy: The Exhibition at Florida International Museum

It was his dream to eventually transform the Collection into a permanent exhibit within a museum, which focused not only on John F. Kennedy, but on one of the most tumultuous eras in American history. In 1999, Robert was able to realize this vision when his Collection became the cornerstone and focus of the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Robert L. White Collection was displayed there, with galleries traveling nationally and internationally, through 2003. While on display, Robert was able to share personally his knowledge and enthusiasm with the many thousands who visited. Robert and his Collection were afforded the deserved respect for his life-time of effort.

Two years ago, at age fifty-four, Robert White suddenly passed away. He is dearly missed by his family as well as his close personal friends and the thousands who had the opportunity to know Robert through his Collection. “This is my life’s work and I want to share that with the Nation,” Robert said in an interview. The White family have determined that it is appropriate to offer Robert’s personal Kennedy Collection to the public. These treasures have been showcased as the finest privately-owned Kennedy collection in the world. Through Robert White’s remarkable efforts and keen sense of history, many treasured artifacts will now be passed along to future generations while history is preserved.


Now that this auction has come to a conclusion, we have a very limited supply of these fully-illustrated, 320 page color catalogues still available for purchase. Click here to securely order your copy.

65 East

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