Guest authors Arielle Willett, Class of 2015, and Eleanor Nothelfer, Class of 1980.
Today, November 22 2013, marks 50 years since John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Fifty years ago today the world came together to mourn the sudden and tragic loss of the 35th president of the United States. It was a dark day in American history, and in the midst of preparations for the upcoming Le-Laf game, the campus was devastated by the news.
Lehigh’s Special Collections in Linderman Library holds many memories from that day. As she is paging through the Special Collections’ “Kennedy Memorabilia”, volunteer archivist Eleanor Nothelfer, Class of 1980, retired from Civil and Environmental Engineering Department after 42 years of service as the librarian in Fritz Engineering Library and recalls hearing the news: “I worked at the Allentown Public Library at the time, and I was in the back filing catalog cards, my supervisor came and said that it was just on the radio, and that President Kennedy had been shot and honestly, I don’t cry easily, but I just sobbed and sobbed, it was such a shock, so sudden. He and his wife and his children represented the US in such a glamorous and hopeful image it was just such a shock. We didn’t think about those things it those days. It just didn’t happen. That was the beginning of when public officials were subject to that kind of mayhem. You would never have expected it. It was the end of an age of innocence.”
Even 50 years later, the world still remembers John F. Kennedy and the legacy he left behind. They hold ceremonies and memorials; and on our own campus the flag is half staff as it was fifty years ago.
To learn more about the Kennedy Memorabilia and other rare and unique documents, please visit Special Collections.