Setting the Stage: Communications Staff Prepare for Presidential Travel

 

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.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-95-63

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-95-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

 

JFKWHP-ST-120-47-61

JFKWHP-ST-120-47-61. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 14-16 May 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-282-68-61

JFKWHP-ST-282-68-61. Caracas, Venezuela, 15-18 December 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-207-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-207-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

 

JFKWHP-ST-282-84-61. Caracas, Venezuela, 15-18 December 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-282-84-61. Caracas, Venezuela, 15-18 December 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-247-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-247-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

 

JFKWHP-ST-137-8-61. Schwechat, Austria, 3 June 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-137-8-61. Schwechat, Austria, 3 June 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-137-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-137-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

 

JFKWHP-ST-285-5-61. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 15-18 December 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-285-5-61. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 15-18 December 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-208-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-208-63. San José, Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

 

JFKWHP-ST-268-27-62. New York City, 10-11 June 1962.

JFKWHP-ST-268-27-62. New York City, 10-11 June 1962.

 

JFKWHP-ST-282-62-61. Bogotá, Colombia, 15-18 December 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-282-62-61. Bogotá, Colombia, 15-18 December 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-282-2-61. South America, 15-18 December 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-282-2-61. South America, 15-18 December 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C94-12-61. Paris, France, 8 March 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-C94-12-61. Paris, France, 8 March 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-137-2-61. Vienna, Austria, 31 May-3 June 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-137-2-61. Vienna, Austria, 31 May-3 June 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-282-166-61. South America, 15-18 December 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-282-166-61. South America, 15-18 December 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-53-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-53-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

 

JFKWHP-ST-289-1-61. Bermuda, 21-22 December 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-289-1-61. Bermuda, 21-22 December 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C24-32-62. Johns Island, Johns Bay, Maine, 6 August 1962.

JFKWHP-ST-C24-32-62. Johns Island, Johns Bay, Maine, 6 August 1962.

 

JFKWHP-ST-120-63-61. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 14-16 May 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-120-63-61. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 14-16 May 1961.

 

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-123-63. Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

JFKWHP-ST-C54A-123-63. San José, Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963.

 

JFKWHP-ST-282-56-61. Bogotá, Colombia, 15-18 December 1961.

JFKWHP-ST-282-56-61. Bogotá, Colombia, 15-18 December 1961.

 

 

Browse more photos of WHASA/WHCA advance trips:

Glen Ora, Middleburg, Virginia, 2 March 1961

Paris, France, 8 March 1961

Presidential train communications car, 17-20 March 1961

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 14-16 May 1961

Commonwealth Armory, Boston, Massachusetts, 29 May 1961

Vienna, Austria, 3 June 1961

Cape Cod, Massachusetts, August of 1961

St. Louis, Missouri, 27 November 1961

San Juan, Puerto Rico, 15-18 December 1961

Caracas, Venezuela, 15-18 December 1961

Bogotá, Colombia, 15-18 December 1961

South America, 15-18 December 1961

Hamilton, Bermuda, 21-22 December 1961

India and Pakistan, 1962

New Orleans, Louisiana, 4 May 1962

New York City and New Haven, Connecticut, 10-11 June 1962

Johns Island, Johns Bay, Maine, 6 August 1962

Costa Rica, 15-20 March 1963

 

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