On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was a Friday. The following Monday, 45,000 letters written by bereaved citizens were delivered to the White House. Within seven weeks of the President’s death, Jacqueline Kennedy had received over 800,000 condolence letters. In the two years following President Kennedy’s death, the volume of correspondence exceeded a million and half letters.
The letters, essentially untouched for 46 years, bring to life the hope, idealism, and sense of possibility JFK embodied to many Americans during his brief presidency, and how his death inspired a universal and profound sense of purpose and sadness, the feeling that their country had been changed forever.