These photos were taken by Jacques Lowe in October 1963, which appeared in Look magazine just four days before the Kennedy motorcade passed before the Texas School Book Depository Building in downtown Dallas.
In their grief, Americans wept afresh over these photos of a President and his son. In Omaha, Nebraska, where the Midwest Governors’ Conference was in stunned adjournment, Governor George Romney of Michigan stood transfixed, looking at the cover of JFK and his son. He was a father, and there was a mist of understanding in his eyes. He shook his head, and said: “Now, through this terrible thing, these pictures are historic.” It was an an “act of God” that they were taken, said Mrs. Kennedy, for they were not only a last closeup of the tender, prideful relation JFK had with his boy, but they almost didn’t happen at all. The idea was born eighteen months before—and came off only, in truth, because the pictures were “sneaked” with Presidential help while Mrs. Kennedy was off cruising in the Greek Islands.
In this set, to get John Jr. to stand still, if only for a few minutes, was a problem. The President solved it by sitting on a bench in the Rose Garden and urging his son to play his favorite game, “Secrets.” Then JFK turned John over his knee and gave him a mock paddling, followed by an affectionate paternal caress. JFK was so pleased with these photos he reportedly trotted them all over the White House, showing them off to anyone who would look at them.