Top Finds: John F. Kennedy & Lyndon B. Johnson Signed Photographs


GUEST: I was the White House photographer
for John Kennedy. Started the job in inaugural day of 1961. APPRAISER: That’s incredible. GUEST: And, uh… stayed with him until Dallas.
I was in Dallas during the horrible assassination. I was in one of the cars in the motorcade
five cars back. Heard three very distinct reports, sounded like rifle shots. Didn’t
know where they came from. A few minutes later, I was on my way to the Air Force One. I had
seen vice president Johnson leaving the hospital and I asked where he was going and someone
said, “The president’s going to Washington.” So that meant that Kennedy had expired in
the hospital, where I was standing outside the operating room door there. And I said,
“So am I.” And I picked up my camera and went out to the plane. And when I got there, the
press secretary, acting press secretary, Malcolm Kilduff, said, “Thank God you’re here,
Cecil.” He said, “The president’s going to take his oath on the plane and you’re going
to have to service the wires with the photograph.” So I took the only photograph of the swearing-in
that you see. APPRAISER: Incredible. This is what was happening
here, the swearing-in, an image that we all know so well. It’s an icon of the 20th-century
imagery. GUEST: Most of the people in the picture are
all passed away now. APPRAISER: Yes. You were with the military. GUEST: Yes, I was a captain in the Army at
the time. I was acting as a government employee. APPRAISER: Okay, now, have you ever been acknowledged
for taking such a famous image? GUEST: Well, once in a while they use my name,
but for the most part, after the initial caption that I wrote myself in Dallas, I included
my name as the photographer– APPRAISER: Good for you. GUEST: –to make sure that… and the “New
York Times,” when they ran it the next day, used my name, so I was established legacy-wise
at that point. But from then on, it became a AP wire photo Or a UPI wire photo, and it
annoyed my family considerably that I wasn’t being given credit. APPRAISER: Acknowledged. GUEST: So you’re acknowledging me now. APPRAISER: Well, we’re very happy to. This
is an earlier photograph, and this photo’s inscribed to you on Christmas Day 1962. GUEST: The routine during Christmas was to
spend the week or ten days in Palm Beach. The president had a home down there, his father
did. And the press would go and it would be the winter White House in Palm Beach. And
so when I came back to my desk in the White House after having been down there for a week,
I found a Christmas-wrapped package, and Mrs. Kennedy had given me this photograph as a
Christmas present. And the president and she both signed it. APPRAISER: It’s incredible. It’s incredible. GUEST: You can read the inscription. APPRAISER: Yeah, it says, “For Cecil Stoughton–
who took this photograph. With appreciation and best wishes always, Jacqueline Kennedy.”
And then it’s signed “John Kennedy” below. GUEST: Right. APPRAISER: You know, with Kennedy’s signatures,
the thing that we’re always concerned about is whether he signed it or not. And in this
case, there’s no question. You’ve had a strong relationship with them in the years you worked
there. GUEST: I can’t see them passing it off to
a… APPRAISER: Not that one. Not that one. And
here, we should add also, of real significance is the fact that you are acknowledged by Lyndon
B. Johnson with his inscription to you. It says, “To Cecil Stoughton, with high regard
and appreciation. Lyndon B. Johnson.” Now, can you tell us about that? GUEST: On the 25th of November was the funeral
for the president. And three days after that was Thanksgiving. And, uh, our family, we
were all gathered together around the table getting ready to eat, and a waiter came up
to me and said, “You’ve got a phone call from the White House.” And I went to the phone,
and it was Jack Valenti saying, “He wants you in the office right now. He wants you
to take his picture.” So I gave up my Thanksgiving dinner and drove madly back to the White House
and made this photograph of Johnson sitting at his desk. In order to have some kind of
activity, I asked him if he would sign the pictures. So he’s signing this picture, and
that’s the picture that he’s signing. APPRAISER: So this picture is lying right
there. It’s difficult when we talk about value with such iconic images. I mean, these things
are now part of our vocabulary of imagery from the 20th century. GUEST: Right. APPRAISER: And also, these are unique. They’re
inscribed to you by the president, or president and first lady, so they are unique and obviously
irreplaceable. Bearing that in mind and your association as having been the photographer,
I would value, for insurance value, the photograph of LBJ taking the oath at $50,000. GUEST: That sounds great. APPRAISER: The Kennedy image, which also is
iconic, although less historically important– obviously what was happening with LBJ was
a historic moment– this is a much more relaxed moment of Kennedy and his family. GUEST: Right. APPRAISER: We would insure this one at $25,000. GUEST: Mm-hmm. APPRAISER: The photo of LBJ is really more
supporting of this image, so I wouldn’t really assign that any significant value. So together,
I would put the value at– for insurance– at $75,000. GUEST: Okay. APPRAISER: And you’ve got some incredible
things, and it’s an honor to meet you. These images I knew of my entire life, and I appreciate
your work and I’m glad you finally have some recognition. GUEST: Well, thank you very much.

37 Replies to “Top Finds: John F. Kennedy & Lyndon B. Johnson Signed Photographs

  1. Jackie Kennedy was still upstairs in the Whitehouse private quarters that day when LBJ was lording it in the oval office signing that photo of a tragedy. He should have been at his home with his family for thanksgiving instead of dragging that man away from his thanksgiving to photograph him in the oval office. He was nasty to the core.

  2. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a story by a man who should have been credited MUCH more for his photos than he was.

  3. Mind blown. He's got wonderful stories to tell. The gentleman should even now be appreciated and recognised for his work.

  4. I have dealt in rare historical autographs for over 30 years, and I am VERY suspicious of the Kennedy signature. It looks ar too neat and tidy to be a real Kennedy.
    Kennedy was notorious for having secretaries sign for him. I have actually seen a secretary sign for Kennedy on a letter to his Mother.

  5. I love hearing the stories behind these items. also i wonder if he still has the original films of the photos? that's probably worth a whole lot more i'd think.

  6. There have been suspisions and suggestions that LBJ was behind JFK's assasination , nothing has been proved past 55 years and I don't see that happening in my lifetime.I was a third grader then but as I grew up and became aware of history I was fascinated by the Kennedy legend or the so called " the kennedy curse" which is eqvivalent of my country Pakistan's BHUTTO legend or curse if you will . In both cases precious lives have been lost, families have had to endure great sorrow and assasins not yet 'found' . Politics is a dirty game indeed .

  7. They should make documentary of this Sir of his story at that time. Story that he could tell could be amazing.

  8. So sad to see Jacqueline in that picture after her husband was shot and there’s still blood on her jacket rest in peace

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