by Laura Kintz, Graduate Student Intern (UMass Boston)
We are pleased to announce that all White House Photographs from President John F. Kennedy’s trip to Italy in July of 1963 are now digitized in full. They are accessible online through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s digital archives.
The 92 photographs, covering July 1-2, 1963, document President Kennedy’s only official trip to Italy during his presidency, which came at the end of a 10-day trip to Europe that also included visits to Germany, Ireland, and England. During his time in Italy, the President visited various significant locations around Rome and Naples, delivering remarks, meeting with government and military officials, and greeting throngs of Italian well-wishers. During a time when Italy was experiencing political uncertainty, President Kennedy’s visit represented the United States’ commitment to maintaining a strong relationship with the country and its new president, Antonio Segni.
In addition to his state-related activities during the trip, President Kennedy, the United States’ first Catholic president, also had the opportunity to meet with the recently-elected Pope Paul VI. White House Photographs from the visit are limited to the President’s arrival at the Vatican (see below), but a motion picture documenting his trip to Europe from the White House Films collection includes footage of his audience with the Pope and is available for viewing through the digital archives.
One part of the trip that is especially well-documented is President Kennedy’s motorcade through Naples. Among those 34 photographs are many that illustrate the intensity and excitement of the crowds who gathered to see the President. Some candid shots of President Kennedy’s aides and members of his White House Secret Service detail capture the fun of traveling down a Naples highway in a convertible.
President Kennedy’s trip to Italy represents a significant diplomatic (and religious) venture of his presidency. Although the photographs from the trip were already available for viewing onsite at the Kennedy Library, now that they have been digitized and cataloged, they can be accessed by online users all over the world. Browsing terms, including some newly-created terms, have been associated with each photograph to aid in searching for specific people, places, and organizations. These images can now provide insight into President Kennedy’s travels, to a much wider audience.
Browse all photos from President Kennedy’s trip to Italy: