A View to a Kill: The Jack White Slide Collection Makes Its Case Through Visuals

As we approach the 50th commemoration of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we will be highlighting a number of JFK-related collections here on the Digital Collections blog. The William R. “Bob” Poage Legislative Library has become a hub for materials related to the assassination and its fallout, and we look forward to exposing those collections to a wider audience via the blog, our Facebook page and other promotional avenues. Read part one of the series here.

It would be easy to assume that an event as well-documented visually as the Kennedy assassination would be immune from multiple interpretations and ambiguities. But anyone who thinks that may change their mind after viewing the materials in the Jack White Slide Collection, part of the JFK-related collections held at the Poage Legislative Library. The result of decades of research by Jack White (1927-2012), the collection contains more than 2,200 slides and photos pertaining to the assassination, including many of Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Ad Man’s Quest

Jack White was a native Texan who made his mark in the advertising business, working at several large firms in Fort Worth and opening his own shop in the 1980s. A Navy veteran (1945-1946) and erstwhile journalist, White had a lifelong interest in art, photography and design. During an assignment to write a centennial history of Fort Worth National Bank, White became interested in acquiring historical photos and the preservation of artifacts. This pushed his interest in photography into overdrive and he applied this focus to his acquisition of materials related to the Kennedy assassination.

White’s pursuit of materials and information surrounding the Kennedy assassination led to his producing videos on the photographic studies he created of the event, as well as an opportunity to serve as a consultant on Oliver Stone’s film JFK. White also developed a slide lecture – the images from which are featured in this collection – which he presented to students and gatherings related to the assassination.

What the Cameras Saw (Allegedly)

The slides featured in this collection run the gamut from stills derived from the Zapruder film to blurry images taken on cameras seconds after the shots were fired in Dealey Plaza. Also included are personal photographs of Oswald and numerous other personages involved in the investigation, as well as people long thought part of the “conspiracy” around the assassination. The cast of characters shown in this collection read like a “who’s who” of assassination-related men: The Umbrella Man, The Old Tramp, The Cuban and Frenchy all make appearances here.