In November 1973, The New York Times Magazine marked the 10th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination with a piece about the men (yes, it was an all-male cohort) closest to the president. I was assigned to travel and photograph them all. Some of the names, even now, are more familiar than others: McNamara, Bundy, Salinger, etc. But certainly the most interesting to me was Dave Powers, who was thought by most to be JFK’s best friend.
Powers, who had met Kennedy during his first run for Congress in 1946, held the title of Special Assistant in the White House and was in the car behind the president in Dallas when JFK was killed. Powers became the museum curator of the John F. Kennedy Library, in Boston, a post he held from 1965 until 1994. He died in 1998, at age 85, and now a huge collection of memorabilia that belonged to the “First Friend” is going up for auction in Amesbury, Massachusetts on February 17th.
I first learned of the sale from a piece on NBC Nightly News late last month (embedded below), and then went to my archives to find the pictures I had made almost 40 years ago. The obituary published in The New York Times is a fascinating bit of political history all by itself.