Auction Date:2013 Oct 24 @ 12:00 (UTC-5 : EST/CDT)
Location:60 School Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108, United States
Amazing collection of 12 color 35mm slides inside 2 x 2 mounts with typed notations, originally taken by Phillip Willis at Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, capturing the moments of Kennedy’s assassination. All 12 slides are identified with typed notations and accompanied by ten printed informational sheets giving brief descriptions of each image, each sheet signed in blue felt tip by Willis. These slides were reproduced in 1000 sets for resale purposes, and come sealed in cellophane. A selection of the slides include, with the slide’s notations listed first, followed by the description on the included sheets:
#4—”His last wave—First shot 3 seconds away.” “Now on Elm Street in front of the Texas School Book Depository, the Kennedys and the Connallys radiate happiness…this was the President’s last wave.”
#5—”Assassin’s 1st. Bullet strikes the President.” “According to eyewitnesses and verified by investigators, this slide was taken at the exact instant the first bullet struck the president from behind. Arrow points to president.”
#10—”Questioning of possible suspects.” “Possible suspects were questioned and released if found not involved, while others were taken to headquarters for further questioning, in the meantime, the biggest manhunt in Dallas history is under way.”
#12—”Fatal bullets fired from this window.” “From this window…the assassin fired the three shots which so suddenly ended the life and career of John F. Kennedy…and caused grief and mourning in all civilized nations.”
Standing near the curb at the corner of Houston and Elm Streets, World War II veteran and well-known Texas politician Phillip Willis took a series of color slides immediately before, during, and after the assassination. These twelve images served as ‘Willis Exhibit 1’ for the Warren Commission, before which he testified. The fifth image he took that day—showing the presidential limousine and its occupants, the United States Secret Service agents’ follow-up car and occupants, parade onlookers, and the grassy knoll visible in the background—was taken accidentally, when he was startled by the first of three gunshots he heard. This famous shot captured the image of the still-unidentified ‘black dog man’ on the grassy knoll, who many conspiracy theorists believe to be involved in the assassination. In his own testimony, however, Willis identified three shots from a high-powered rifle as coming from the Book Depository with certainty (combining his experience in World War II and his years as a deer hunter, he was confident in his assessment). An absolutely crucial piece of the investigation, these twelve slides captured the surroundings, crowds, and motorcade during the final moments of the president’s life.