Thursday, November 6, 2008

Photog who took LBJ oath photo dead

The night before the election, the US version of Antiques Roadshow (on PBS) had a flashback special about Presidential memorabilia on the show over the last few years. One particularly interesting set of items was a set of three photographs taken by the Kennedy's Presidential photog, Cecil Stoughton -- and presented for appraisal by Mr. Stoughton himself. One photo was of a relaxed Kennedy family, the second was the now famous photo of LBJ taking the oath of office on Air Force One after Kennedy was shot (above), and the third was Johnson autographing the second just a few days after JFK's funeral, to give the provenance that it was the original.
Seems that while the NYT gave Stoughton credit for the photo (as the White House photographer) everyone else gave attribution to the AP or UPI news wires and so he never got the credit he deserved until he showed up at an AR session in Orlando. The set -- priceless in terms of their historical value -- was appraised at $75,000 for insurance purposes, with the Air Force One photo worth $50,000 alone.

We learned today that Stoughton died on Monday, the day of the clip show broadcast -- although the clip was first aired in the original episode's context in February. It's a shame Stoughton didn't get the credit he deserved until now. It's a sad piece of American and world history, but someone had to take it. Watching the show earlier this week, I couldn't help but cross my fingers -- for obvious reasons.

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