Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation
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“A terrific, original, and important work….Fitzpatrick provides a stunningly fresh look at the impact of JFK’s assassination on the American people.”
—Doris Kearns Goodwin
For Letters to Jackie, noted historian and News Hour with Jim Lehrer commentator Ellen Fitzpatrick combed through literally thousands of condolence messages sent by ordinary Americans to Jacqueline Kennedy following the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963. The first book ever to examine this extraordinary collection, Letters to Jackie presents 250 intimate, heartfelt, eye-opening responses to what was arguably the most devastating event in twentieth century America, providing a fascinating perspective on a singular time in the history of our nation.
that year. In my condolence letter, I attempted a play on words from Mr. Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.’” Mr. Grumblatt recalls writing an earlier letter to Senator John Kennedy during a 1960 campaign stop through Erie, Pennsylvania. On that occasion, he thanked the senator for visiting his town and giving him a campaign souvenir, which Doug continues to use today—a tie clasp in the shape of PT 109. Mr. Grumblatt is an engineer and lives in California. Gum, Perry C. Perry Gum
joy and peace.” Her husband, Elisha Scott Jr., was an African American attorney in Flint, Michigan, the son and brother of the attorneys in Topeka, Kansas, who played a major role in the Brown v. Board of Education landmark lawsuit. She was married twice, to Carl Ross and Elisha Scott Jr., by whom she had three children, Michael Ross, Tonya, and Elisha Roy Scott. She died on February 28, 1981, in Seattle at the age of fifty-eight. Seiler, Ira Ira Seiler was a second-year pediatric resident at
America and her place in history are yet to be finally judged. Requiem in aeternam, JOHN FITZGERAL[D] KENNEDY. God Bless America. It seems from here we need it. As ever with love, your son, Tom * * * WOODHAVEN, NEW YORK MR. & MRS. TEMPEST C. ZINN STEWARTSVILLE, NEW JERSEY Number one. Your husband helped the colored people for which I was glad and thankful for. _____________________________________________________ Your husband was a good man.
history. The daughter was truly a part of all of it. During your husbands administration we, now transferred from Pennsylvania to Florida, received a day by day account of the President’s activity. Even during the Cuban crisis, we in Florida, were, understandably worried. She staunchly insisted the Presidents way was right. In closing, this girl, through her study of Jack Kennedy, all through his career, became mature, alive, tremendously informed of her heritage. She gained courage to the
of their loss, their sense of connection to JFK, and their desire to console his widow, Americans also revealed much about how they perceived their own lives and the historical upheaval they had experienced. “I feel his loss just like a mother to her child,” wrote an eighty-six-year-old Ohioan. But there was also this, she added: the President had died for his country by “a most disgracefull hand.” Those who had endured violent and catastrophic losses saw their own tragedies revisited. One young