Dallas

Rare film, photos of JFK assassination donated to museum

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy cradles her husband, President John F. Kennedy, seconds after he was fatally shot. This frame grab image was made from a restored version of a film showing the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy cradles her husband, President John F. Kennedy, seconds after he was fatally shot. This frame grab image was made from a restored version of a film showing the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. AP

DALLAS The daughters of one of only four known home movie photographers to have captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 have donated his collection to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, the museum said Tuesday.

The Charles L. Bronson Collection includes 8mm color film of Dealey Plaza — including two seconds showing first lady Jackie Kennedy rising from her seat and moving toward the trunk of the presidential limousine during the assassination — as well as five still photos and documents related to the film and images.

Acquisition of the Bronson collection gives the Sixth Floor Museum the copyright to three of the four films that recorded the Kennedy assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Bronson’s provide the farthest perspective of the four, the museum said. By far the most famous is the Abraham Zapruder film.

“The Bronson Collection is of both historic significance as well as a subject of investigation and careful study by the assassination research community,” Nicola Longford, executive director of the museum, said in a news release. “Every photographic viewpoint, particularly Mr. Bronson’s unique perspective some distance away, adds to our overall understanding of those tragic moments in Dealey Plaza.”

Bronson, 45 at the time, was standing on a concrete platform at the southwest corner of Main and Houston streets when he took a series of photos and home movie sequences of the scene just before and during the assassination.

The home movie clips include a sequence showing an ambulance picking up an epileptic seizure victim in Dealey Plaza about six minutes before shots rang out, an event later seized upon by conspiracy theorists.

The museum notes that the Texas School Book Depository is visible in the background. Assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was perched in the sixth floor window of the depository when he fired the shots that killed JFK.

“Because there was a possibility of movement in this brief glimpse of the sixth floor window, this film was of particular interest to the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation and later film analyses,” Judy Ivey says in the news release.

The two seconds of assassination footage on Elm Street is relevant because it helps disprove “an ongoing theory suggesting that a Secret Service agent in the follow-up car accidentally fired the shot that killed President Kennedy,” Ivey says.

Bronson died in 1995 and his collection was previously on loan to the museum. The donation was made by his four daughters — Barbara Young, Joyce Hall, Alice Bronson and Charlette Laughlin.

“It is important to us that our father’s historic materials be preserved for the ages,” they said.

The film clips and photos were made available to media to publish from June 27 to July 4.

Tom Uhler: 817-390-7832, @tomuh

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