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Dent Place

 

 

By Steve Brawley

Senator and Mrs. Kennedy's newlywed digs were a rented apartment at 3321 Dent Place NW in Washington, DC.

They only resided here for five months in 1953-54. When the gardener’s first invoice arrived, Jack refused to pay what he thought was an exorbitant sum. Jackie then took up taking care of the gardening. The little garden out back would also be a refuge for JFK, where he often spent time painting.

Jackie got into trouble by doing some redecorating of the place, even painting some furniture. Jackie took classes at Georgetown University while they lived here.

The book Camelot at Dawn is a collection of photographs of the young couple’s time in this Georgetown townhouse, nicknamed The Red House. The famous pictures of Jackie lighting candles for a dinner party were taken at Dent Place.

In May of 1954, Orlando Suero, a photographer with the Three Lions Picture Agency on his first major assignment, spent five days with the Kennedys. He enjoyed their full cooperation and the intimate access that would later, as Jacqueline became more anxious about her family's privacy, be denied to all but a few.

 

In more than twenty photo sessions, Suero documented a typical week in the young couple's life: Jack at his Senate office, catching up on work at home, and painting in the back garden; Jackie attending classes at Georgetown, gardening, and preparing for an evening of dinner and dancing; and the couple reading the morning papers around the breakfast table, looking through their wedding photos, hosting both casual and formal dinner parties, and tossing the football around with neighbors Bobby and Ethel Kennedy.

Suero'sphotographs capture the idyllic quality of the young couple's lives during their months in Georgetown. Not yet hounded by the media, John and Jacqueline in these images seem happier and more at ease than they would ever be again. Surprisingly, no magazine ever published Suero's complete photo essay.

McCall's ran a few of his photographs that fall, but most of them have not been seen until now. In 1989, Three Lions Picture Agency owner Max Lowenherz donated the photographs to the Johns Hopkins University's Peabody Institute. For Camelot at Dawn, the Peabody Institute's Anne Garside has selected nearly one hundred of the most evocative and affecting pictures Suero took during his week in Georgetown. This remarkable document of John and Jacqueline Kennedy's first year of marriage recalls the romance and the promise embodied by their life together in America's last age of innocence.

 

The Kennedy's would live in several houses in the Georgetown area during the early years of their marriage.

 

 

 

3321 Dent Place NW, Washington DC (Orlando Suero Photographs 1954)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steve Brawley (314) 740-0298