Newly discovered photos of JFK in Barrington unveiled

Special to the Tribune

Joyce Taillon was looking through some old family photos last year when she came across a familiar face — but not one she expected to see in a box of decades-old snapshots.

"Lo and behold, I saw these little color photos. I said, 'That's John Kennedy! That's Barrington High School!'" Taillon recalled Wednesday.

The newly discovered images show then-Sen. Kennedy during a campaign swing through the Chicago suburbs — staunchly Republican territory at the time — in late October 1960. It was just a couple of weeks before he would squeak past then-Vice President Richard Nixon to win the presidency, helped in huge part by a big margin of victory in Cook County that gave Illinois to Kennedy.

The photos of Kennedy's visit to Barrington High School will be unveiled at the school Thursday, the day before the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. The viewing is open to the public from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the school at 616 W. Main Street in Barrington.

Taillon, a lifelong North Barrington resident, was 16 and a Barrington High junior at the time of Kennedy's visit. She believes that the set of small color photographs, featuring Kennedy and her then-13-year-old brother, Rusty Anderson, were taken by their mother. Four other larger, black-and-white photos she found--three taken at the high school and one of Kennedy giving a speech at what appears to be a Barrington business--are of unknown origin.

"When I saw the photos I wasn't surprised ... to see my brother out there dressed for the occasion," she said, referring to his white jacket and white and red campaign hat.

Her parents supported her little brother's passion for Democratic politics despite their own Republican leanings, even allowing him to campaign for Kennedy at the Barrington train station.

"Let's be honest, most of those commuters were probably Republicans," Taillon said with a laugh.

Taillon's brother died several years ago; she said he would have loved the attention given to the newly unearthed photos.

After consulting with family, Taillon decided the appropriate place for the photos to be seen was at Barrington High's Future Presidents exhibit, where they will be included alongside photos of Barack Obama's 2006 visit to the high school. The permanent exhibit, including the Obama images, will be unveiled later.

"The school district is thrilled," said Morgan Delack, Barrington District 220's media relations assistant. "It's a piece of history we have never seen before that suddenly fell in our laps."

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