JFK memorabilia draws hundreds to Mass. town
This undated photo provided by John McInnis Auctioneers in Amesbury, Mass., shows late President John F. Kennedy, right, with his wife, Jacqueline, center, and sister-in-law Ethyl Kennedy, left. The photograph is among items to be auctioned Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. The family of David Powers, a former special assistant to President John F. Kennedy, is auctioning hundreds of photographs, documents, gifts and other memorabilia that once belonged to the late president. (AP Photo/John McInnis Auctioneers)
BOSTON (AP) — A preview of John F. Kennedy memorabilia including notes by his special assistant on the day the president was assassinated is drawing hundreds of people to the northern Massachusetts town of Amesbury.
David Powers, who died in 1998, was Kennedy's assistant and close personal friend of his and his wife, Jackie. Powers also was the first curator of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston until he retired in 1994.
Powers joined Kennedy for his first political campaign for Congress in 1946 and was with him when he was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. He collected keepsakes and documents spanning his years of friendship with the Kennedy family.
On Sunday, Powers' collection of about 2,000 photographs, documents, gifts and other JFK items will be auctioned in 723 lots at John McInnis Auctioneers in Amesbury.
The auction house says Powers' relatives found "an extraordinary collection" locked away last year as they prepared to sell the family home. Powers' family is keeping some memorabilia and may give other items to the Kennedy Library.
The collection has drawn hundreds from New York, New Jersey, New England and elsewhere to assess the items in the days leading up to the auction, said Dan Meader, an appraiser for the auction house.
The items include Powers' copy of the presidential itinerary on the day he was assassinated in Dallas. The documents contain handwritten details of Kennedy's final hours, including the time he was shot, how Powers helped carry him in a stretcher to the operating room, the time of death and the aftermath.
The collection also features a leather-bound book of presidential inaugural addresses containing a poignant message written by Mrs. Kennedy to Powers.
"For Dave Powers, The President was going to give you this for Christmas. Please accept it now from me. With my devotion always for all you did to give Jack so many happy hours. You and I will miss him the most, Jackie," the message, written weeks after Kennedy's assassination, reads.
This Dec. 2, 1959 photo provided by John McInnis Auctioneers in Amesbury, Mass., shows late Presidents John F. Kennedy, left, and Harry Truman. The photograph is among items to be auctioned Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. The family of David Powers, a former special assistant to President John F. Kennedy, is auctioning hundreds of photographs, documents, gifts and other memorabilia that once belonged to the late president. (AP Photo/John McInnis Auctioneers)
"It's really emotional," Meader said. "There are tears in people's eyes ... when they look at the schedule, when they look at notes from Jackie."
The collection also includes items illustrating light hearted moments of the Kennedy presidency. They include a President's Special Award that Kennedy offered to Powers during a surprise celebration he arranged at the White House to mark the aide's 50th birthday.