Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

An Inherited Trunk Yields a Picture Book

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

An Inherited Trunk Yields a Picture Book

Article excerpt

When photojournalist Stanley Tretick died in 1999, he left his longtime friend Kitty Kelley a Marine Corps footlocker that, he'd told her earlier, contained nude pictures.

Instead, the trunk was a treasure trove of images, diaries, letters and memorabilia from the years that Tretick spent photographing the Kennedy family.

Kelley, a best-selling celebrity biographer whose subjects have included Oprah Winfrey, Nancy Reagan, the Bush family and Frank Sinatra, spent some time trying to decide what to do with the trunk's contents.

"I didn't just inherit a trunk," said Kelley from her home in Washington, D.C. "I inherited a whole archive, about 500,000 photographs, slides and negatives. My first reaction was to donate it, but I did a lot of research and I found that while it's very nice to donate, most of those donations end up in the basements of the Library of Congress or the archives. They're never really seen."

And Tretick's photographs, many of them unpublished, deserved to be seen, thought Kelley, who will be in Sarasota this week to speak at a fund-raising luncheon for the Women's Resource Center.

The resulting book, "Capturing Camelot: Stanley Tretick's Iconic Images of the Kennedys," has Kelley's name on the cover, and some text inside, but mostly it is Tretick's photographs of John F. Kennedy, his wife and children, and other members of the Kennedy family between 1960 and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in 1968.

Tretick was a photographer for the wire service United Press International when he went on the road with Kennedy during the 1960 campaign and became friends with the president-elect and his family, the only photographer to cover the Kennedy campaign from the beginning to his election.

"Most Americans got their impression of Kennedy from Stanley's pictures," said Kelley.

When Look magazine hired Tretick to cover the first family, the photographer made some of the most iconic images of the Kennedys, particularly of the president with his small children. …

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