After President John F. Kennedy's assassination, more than 1.5 million people picked up their pens to express their profound grief in letters to former first lady Jackie Kennedy. The condolence letters were an outlet for a deep, collective sadness best conveyed by a writer from Oklahoma City: "Mrs. Kennedy, I'm just an old 73-year-old man who lost his wife in 1963 and I can feel the sorrow you are going through. My wife died in my arms as your husband died in your arms and when I watched you on television as you walked behind that flag draped coffin, I cried my eyes out." Of the thousands of letters that remain in care of the National Archives, historian Ellen Fitzpatrick culled 250 for Letters to Jackie: Condolences From a Grieving Nation. Fitzpatrick deftly weaves in narrative history and photographs to give the reader context without diluting the emotional impact. Fitzpatrick will autograph and discuss the book 6:30 p.m. Thursday at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, 411 Elm St. Call 214-747-6660 or visit jfk.org.
Thu., March 11, 6:30 p.m., 2010