Tag Archives: Teenie Harris

24 Hours with JFK and Teenie Harris


During his decades-long photographic career, Teenie Harris photographed President John F. Kennedy more than any other US president. Kennedy visited Western Pennsylvania several times during his presidential campaign, but during a 24-hour period on October 12 and 13, 1962, while campaigning for Democratic congressional and state candidates, Teenie Harris captured all of his speaking engagements in the area. Kennedy spoke on national issues still pertinent today, including jobs, healthcare, and education, as well as the discord between congressional Democrats and Republicans. All of his speeches in Western Pennsylvania during those two days expressed these same themes, but were delivered differently at each stop. They were also recorded on audio tape and are available today through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, John F. Kennedy exiting Air Force One at Pittsburgh airport for presidential campaign visit, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Friday, October 12, 1962
Afternoon: Kennedy flies to the Pittsburgh area after attending a Columbus Day parade in New York City. Harris waits in the crowd at the airport, possibly getting damp from a passing rain. He photographs the president disembarking Air Force One and greeting the crowd.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Police officers greeting John F. Kennedy at airport with Air Force One in background, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

4:00 p.m.: Harris captures the crowds gathered in Aliquippa, the site of Kennedy’s first speech of the trip.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Crowd on hillside and in street for President John F. Kennedy’s visit, with political signs for William Kovolenko for Legislative Representative and “Let’s Free the Toll Bridge,” Aliquippa, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

The newspapers report that the rain ended in time for the president’s speech. Harris is crowded by other press photographers and takes only one known picture, perhaps knowing he got a clear view at that moment. Hear Kennedy’s speech in Aliquippa or read the transcript.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, President Kennedy in Aliquippa: President Kennedy addressing crowd in Aliquippa with banner reading “Aliquippa Voters, I Need You”, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Late afternoon: The Pittsburgh Press prints the exact route that Kennedy’s motorcade would take to Pittsburgh so that the public could line the streets to watch. After arriving in Pittsburgh, Kennedy checks in to the Penn-Sheraton Hotel for a few hours before his next event.

9:00 p.m.: Kennedy speaks to a packed crowd at the Fitzgerald Field House on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, President Kennedy in Pittsburgh: President Kennedy addressing crowd in University of Pittsburgh field house with Kennedy portrait and banner for Dilworth for Governor in background, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Harris isn’t able to, or chooses not to, get close to the platform. He also experiences a little camera trouble or a darkroom accident, as several of the negatives have light leaks on the left margins. It is likely that he was quickly developing and printing the film later that night (or the early hours of the morning) in the basement darkroom of his house in Homewood. Hear Kennedy’s speech from University of Pittsburgh or read the transcript.

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See more Teenie Harris photos from the archive on our Collection page and on Getty Images.
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Saturday, October 13, 1962
10:30 a.m.:  The weather has cleared, and is described as “near perfect.” Kennedy’s first speech of the day was scheduled in McKeesport.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, President Kennedy in McKeesport: President John F. Kennedy under marquee addressing audience at outdoor field along Lysle Boulevard in McKeesport, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Harris moves about the crowd photographing from several angles, capturing the president framed by the dark shadow of the marquee and the massive crowd gathered in downtown McKeesport. Hear Kennedy’s speech in McKeesport or read the transcript.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, President Kennedy in McKeesport: John F. Kennedy speaking under awning outdoors to a large crowd, Hirshbergs, Peoples Union Bank, and Reubens in background, near intersection of Walnut Street and Lysle Boulevard, 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, President Kennedy in McKeesport: John F. Kennedy speaking under awning outdoors to a large crowd, Hirshbergs, Peoples Union Bank, and Reubens in background, near intersection of Walnut Street and Lysle Boulevard, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

11:40 a.m.: Running 10 minutes behind schedule, Kennedy makes his remarks in Monessen.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, President John F. Kennedy speaking from podium, with Senator Joseph S. Clark and Pennsylvania Governor David L. Lawrence seated behind him, Monessen, Pennsylvania, 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, President John F. Kennedy speaking from podium, with Senator Joseph S. Clark and Pennsylvania Governor David L. Lawrence seated behind him, Monessen, Pennsylvania, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Here Harris makes one of the most beautiful images of the president, as well as one among the most popular in his body of work. He seems to be standing on the speaker’s platform and perhaps leaning slightly against the railing on the right. No other photographers are jockeying for his spot. And the police officer on the roof in the distance becomes a foreshadowing element to many who view the image today.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, President Kennedy in Monessen: President John F. Kennedy speaking at a podium to a crowd with Rosenson's furniture store in background, 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, President Kennedy in Monessen: President John F. Kennedy speaking at a podium to a crowd with Rosenson’s furniture store in background, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Harris also captured the event from Kennedy’s point of viewa trademark of his photographic work with musicians and other celebrities on stage. Hear Kennedy’s speech in Monessen or read the transcript.

12:30 p.m.: Kennedy’s last stump speech took place in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he also had lunch.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, President Kennedy in Washington: President Kennedy addressing crowd from platform in front of large stone building with doric columns and sign saying "Welcome Mr. President," Washington, Pennsylvania, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, President Kennedy in Washington: President Kennedy addressing crowd from platform in front of large stone building with doric columns and sign saying “Welcome Mr. President,” Washington, Pennsylvania, October 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Harris again stayed back in the crowd, perhaps aware of the strength of the portrait he had taken less than an hour earlier. That negative was likely still undeveloped and secured in his coat pocket or the trunk of his car. Hear Kennedy’s speech in Washington, PA, or read the transcript.

3:00 p.m.: Kennedy returns to the Pittsburgh area to take a flight to his next event in Indianapolis, Indiana. Harris is likely in his darkroom. The next day, a US military surveillance aircraft took aerial photographs of Cuba, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Kerin Shellenbarger, Research Archivist, Teenie Harris Archive