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A FINE PEDIGREE
Though John F. Kennedy's lifelong friend and former assistant Dave Powers died in 1998, it wasn't until last year that his children discovered his treasure trove of artifacts and photos featuring the President. "The collection was astounding," says John McInnis Auctioneers appraiser Dan Meader, who cataloged many rare images like this circa-1935 photo. "Boxes, file cabinets, drawers of stuff – they had no idea."
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A dapper JFK (right) poses in Palm Beach, Fla., with eldest brother Joe Jr., who was killed during World War II.
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This 1954 photo of Ethel Kennedy, Jackie and Jack posing in the mirror was found at the bottom of a metal box full of tickets and books. "People still connect to the Kennedys," says Jackie Style author Pamela Keogh. "It was a hopeful time."
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Presidential aide Powers poses with JFK in 1955 in Palm Beach and with John Jr. in 1970. "He would die on his sword for the Kennedys," says Laurence Leamer, author of The Kennedy Men. "He was there because of his loyalty." The note from Jackie thanks Powers for his friendship.
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The auction includes the pen JFK used to sign the Oct. 23, 1962, "Interdiction of the Delivery of Offensive Weapons to Cuba," which heightened the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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On the President's 46th birthday (May 29, 1963), he and Jackie opened up a gag gift of "certified genuine antique grass from the Old Rose Garden Lawn," a friendly jab at Jackie's extensive White House renovations.
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Caroline (left) and John Jr. (right) visited their dad in costume on Oct. 31, 1963. After his death three weeks later, Jackie invited Powers over for daily lunch at their Georgetown home. "He would talk to John about his father," says biographer Keogh, "and talk about the Irish heritage they shared."
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Powers took this photo of Jack and Jackie in the Dallas motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963. He was in the car directly behind the President's that day.
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These are Powers's annotated notes of the President's schedule for Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas. Afterward, Jackie's Secret Service agent Clint Hill recalls, "He helped lift the President out of the car and put him on a gurney." The loss of his friend, Hill says, left Powers "shattered."