Peabody exhibits unseen photos of Kennedys in 1954

November 19, 1990|By Linell Smith | Linell Smith,Evening Sun Staff

AN EXHIBITION of photographs at the Peabody Institute reveals details of the early married life of John and Jacqueline Kennedy -- a poignant glimpse of good times for the 37-year-old senator and his 25-year-old wife.

It is the first time that these photographs, taken in May, 1954, by Mexican-American Orlando Suero, have been shown publicly. Most of them remain unpublished as well. They are part of the collection of Kennedy photographs which Max Lowenherz donated to the Institute in 1989.

At the time the photos were taken, Lowenherz owned Three Lions Picture Agency in New York. Suero, his staff photographer, persuaded him that a series of black and white photographs about the life of the young senator in Washington would serve as a very marketable photo essay. However, only a few newspapers ran any of the photographs. Ten photographs from the series were also used in "John Fitzgerald Kennedy . . . As We Knew Him," a book which is out of print.

When Lowenherz sold his agency in the 1970s, he retained the collection of photographs until he gave it to Peabody. Although he had no direct experience with the school, Lowenherz was a friend of the late Irving Lowens, former dean of the Peabody and music critic of the Washington Star.

The roughly 50 photographs in this exhibition were taken during 20 sessions over the period of a week. They show the Kennedys relaxing at their first home, a tiny rowhouse in Georgetown, entertaining, playing softball, answering correspondence together in John's office in the Senate and attending gala events.

The collection comprises several hundred negatives, proofs and prints. Peabody archivist Elizabeth Schaaf selected and mounted the show. Photographer Frank Armstrong made the prints.

The exhibition will run through Jan. 18 in the Galleria Piccola at the Peabody. Hours are Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 2, 9 and 16. Admission is free.

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