Images of John F. Kennedy's assassination and the events that followed have been seared into our collective memory: The convertible crossing in front of the grassy knoll, JFK Jr.'s funeral salute, Jackie's pillbox hat and pink suit, stained with her husband's blood.
While some historic artifacts from the event have been displayed in the years following President Kennedy's death, Jackie's iconic boucle ensemble with navy blue lapels still remains hidden from public eye, stored in a "custom made acid-free box" in the climate-controlled National Archives building in College Park, Maryland along with Oswald's rifle, bullets and bullet fragments from the shooting, the original windshield of the limousine, and more than five million pages of assassination-related records.
A "line for line" replica of Chanel (as
And after he was shot, she refused to take it off, not at the hospital and not on the flight back to Washington, even though it was caked with his blood.
"Let them see what they've done," she said, refusing any suggestion that she clean herself up.
But even in her
The suit, along with her accessories and stockings, was later sent to the National Archives with a handwritten note from Kennedy's mother that read simply, "Jackie's suit and bag — worn November 22, 1963."
And it's all been hidden away ever since. Steven Tilley, a senior archivist, told the Washington Post in 2011 that "It looks like it's brand new, except for the blood."
But don't expect it to come out of storage anytime soon.
While the items were sent to the National Archives, they technically belonged to Caroline Kennedy following her mother's death. In 2003, she signed a deed of gift, with the provision that the suit is preserved but not displayed publicly until at least 2103, so as not to "in any way to dishonor the memory of the late President or cause unnecessary grief or suffering to members of his family."
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the