What Happened to Jackie Kennedy's Blood Strain Suit?

Many people lived during the time of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in November 1963. They witnessed history on their television sets. One item that also stood out was seeing First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, that full-day and well after the assassination wearing her pink suit and especially after the shooting of President Kennedy with blood on the suit.

You and others may wonder what became of the famous suit. President Kennedy had approved of this outfit for the trip to Dallas, Texas that day. A pink bouclé wool double-breasted suit is lined with navy blue and accented with six gold buttons and a ‘pillbox’ matching hat. It was made by the New York manufacturer Chez Ninon. She had worn the suit at other times before the Dallas trip.

Together they looked great in the 1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible traveling the downtown streets of Dallas on November 22nd. Jackie was seated right next to John Kennedy when he was shot, a witness to horror. She went to Parkland Memorial Hospital and then onto Air Force One for the trip back to Washington, DC. She was a witness to the swearing-in of Lyndon Johnson as the next President on the Air Force One plane. Jackie was asked if she wanted to change her clothing before the swearing-in. In her reply, she wanted them to see what they had done to her husband. Most of the bloodstains were on her skirt. However, she had washed the blood on her face before the swearing-in.

Later her suit was bagged up without being cleaned and eventually sent (along with her handbag) to the National Archives with a note from her mother which read simply “Jackie’s suit and bag – worn November 23, 1963”. It has been kept in an acid-free container in a windowless room at 65 degrees F. in the National Archives. Ever since that time period, the suit has never been cleaned and never on display. A provision goes with the suit – it is not to be displayed until the year 2103 – 140 years after the assassination. It is locked away until that date. Even then any Kennedy descendants can renegotiate what happens to the suit.

A great family historical item to add, where were your parents, grandparents, etc on November 22, 1963? Tell their story.

Photo: John and Jackie Kennedy in the car in Dallas moments e the shooting.

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