scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Newfound images of JFK wedding up for auction

Photos provide new glimpses of Kennedy wedding

The auction house made the first-ever prints from the negatives, discovered in a darkroom, of the 1953 wedding. The photographs, some posed and some candid, were taken by a “back-up” freelance photographer.Arthur C. Borges/RR Auction

A Boston auction house is selling 13 negatives from the wedding of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy that were discovered in a photographer’s darkroom after his death, and have likely never been shown before.

“They’re magnificent, unpublished,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of RR Auction, which is selling the negatives in an auction that ends Oct. 15 . “He was a young senator, already a known figure, and his beautiful bride.”

The negatives are still in their original folder, labeled “Pres. Kennedy 1953.” Four show the newlyweds, two show the entire wedding party, and the rest show the cake, reception, and wedding attendees, according to the auction website. Some of the pictures capture candid moments in between posed shots, with the Kennedys talking or laughing or simply looking intently at something outside the frame.


Each negative is accompanied by a print — the first ever made from the negatives.

The negatives were discovered in the photographer’s darkroom after his death, and will be sold with prints.Arthur C. Borges/RR Auction

The pictures were taken by freelance photographer Arthur C. Borges of Fall River, who served as a “back-up” photographer for the Sept. 12, 1953 wedding in Newport, R.I. LIFE Magazine documented the wedding in its pages, and the negatives now on sale were likely outtakes that never made it to the family, Livingston said.

“He shot everything, but from the other side,” said Livingston.

Borges, a World War II Army veteran who worked at the Firestone Rubber Co. and did freelance work in his spare time, died in 1993, according to his obituary. Displayed on the auction website is his old business card, which promises “wedding candids” and shows his face obscured by an old-fashioned camera.

Four of the negatives show the newlyweds, two show the entire wedding party, and the rest show the cake, reception, and wedding attendees, according to the auction website. Arthur C. Borges/RR Auction

The auction began Sept. 26, and as of noon on Oct. 4, bidding for the set stood at $363. But Livingston said he expected the bidding to rise into the thousands of dollars. The auction house has sold many Kennedy artifacts, he said, including Jacqueline Kennedy’s shoes that went for as much as $35,000.


Last month, RR Auction sold a collection of letters John F. Kennedy sent to the family of a lost PT-109 crewmate for $200,000, and a collection of letters from Robert Kennedy for $31,250, according to the Associated Press.

RR Auction is also selling a 1963 holiday card that was signed by John and Jacqueline Kennedy just days before he was assassinated in Dallas.

“What we have is really rare, and kind of tragic,” said Livingston. “Right before Mrs. Kennedy and President Kennedy went to Dallas, they signed their Christmas cards, basically wishing people a happy new year in 1964. And, tragically, of course, we know he’s killed before the holiday. And so these were kind of left behind.”

Also for sale is a Kennedy presidential document from 1962 that appoints a black woman to the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity; a twice-signed 1952 JFK letter on an “appointment to the Coast Guard Academy; and a vintage Marilyn Monroe autograph with a personal inscription to a fan, according to a release from the auction house.

Evan Allen can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.