by Lindsay Closterman, former White House Photographs Metadata Cataloger
Presidential trips are meticulously planned affairs. They require extensive preparation, and for much of the 20th century, this work fell largely on the officers of the White House Army Signal Agency (later called the White House Communications Agency). Staff traveled in advance of the president to ensure that any communications equipment the commander-in-chief required during his trip would be in place. During the presidency of John F. Kennedy, one of the official White House photographers or a member of their staff would often travel with WHASA or WHCA officers to capture on film the valuable, on-the-ground work performed by communications staff. The photos taken during these advance trips offer not only a glimpse into the history of communications technology, but the city scenes, aerial landscape views, and images of people at work and leisure also provide a snapshot of the United States and the world in the early 1960s.
Browse more photos of WHASA/WHCA advance trips: