November 18, 2013

Library exhibits recall Kennedy assassination

by Christi Mathis

A pair of current special exhibits and a reception later this week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library will commemorate President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

“Image and Memory:  Found Negatives from November 22-25, 1963,” is on display in the library rotunda through mid-December.  The exhibit features a variety of 35mm photographs taken by Robert Swenson shortly after the shooting and in the days following Kennedy’s assassination. Swenson, an architect and emeritus associate professor in the School of Architecture, was an undergraduate design student at SIU at the time of Kennedy’s death.

The shots include photos that Swenson took at the Carbondale railroad depot at 1 p.m. on Nov. 22, 1963 -- a short time after Kennedy was shot and before Swenson heard the news.  The exhibit includes photographs of television news broadcasts later that day, and also photos that Swenson took at Arlington National Ceremony on Nov. 25, 1963, the day the late president was buried there.

In addition, a rotunda exhibit that features a 20-page article about the Kennedy assassination originally published in Tail Spins magazine in fall 1998 is on display.  Carbondale native Brent Ritzel, who is a graduate assistant in political papers in the library’s Special Collections Research Center, is the author.

The public is welcome to attend the “Sharing of Memories” event at 12:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, the 50th anniversary of the date and time of Kennedy’s death.  The gathering will allow members of the public a chance to share their memories of Kennedy and view the exhibit. 

The library’s Special Collections Research Center is sponsoring the exhibits.  For more information, contact Beth Martell at 618/453-4097 or by email at or Swenson at