Digitization of Photographs from President John F. Kennedy’s Trip to Italy

(This post was published on our previous blog on 10/30/2015.)

By Laura Kintz, Archivist for Photographic and Textual Digitization and Former 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 digitized in full and accessible online through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s digital archives.

JFKWHP-KN-C29263. President John F. Kennedy’s Motorcade Through Rome, Italy.

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.

JFKWHP-KN-C29266. President John F. Kennedy Attends Wreath-laying Ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier in Rome, Italy.
JFKWHP-KN-C29250. President John F. Kennedy Speaks at City Hall in Rome, Italy.
JFKWHP-KN-C29276. President John F. Kennedy Arrives at NATO Headquarters in Naples, Italy.

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.

JFKWHP-KN-C29284. President John F. Kennedy Visits the Vatican for Meeting with Pope Paul VI.

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.

JFKWHP-ST-C230-46-63. President John F. Kennedy’s Motorcade Through Naples, Italy.
JFKWHP-ST-A7-4-63. Presidential Aides and White House Secret Service Agents in Naples, Italy.
JFKWHP-ST-C231-20-63. Spectators Watch President John F. Kennedy’s Motorcade Through Naples, Italy.

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:

Italy, Rome: Arrival at Fiumicino Airport, and presentation of gift by President Antonio Segni at Quirinale Palace

Italy, Rome: President Kennedy at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Italy, Rome: Motorcade

Italy, Rome: President Kennedy at the Campidoglio (City Hall)

Italy, Rome: President Kennedy at dinner at Quirinale Palace

Vatican City: President Kennedy at the Vatican

Italy, Rome: President Kennedy at the Pontifical North American College with Jean Kennedy Smith and Archbishop of Boston Richard Cardinal Cushing

Italy, Naples: President Kennedy arrives at NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Headquarters

Italy, Naples: President Kennedy gives address at NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Headquarters

Italy, Naples: Motorcade

Italy, Naples: President Kennedy’s departure

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