Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 1963

Three distinctly different typographic book covers with just a solemn date for a title, fifty years ago—when we learned of President Kennedy's assassination. This black & white cover design above by Christopher Brand, hit all the right notes for the 2008 edition of Adam Braver's book, Nov 22, 1963 by Tin House Books. 
     In the second example, artist Ben Shahn (1898-1969) illustrated and hand-lettered Wendell Berry's poem, memorializing the assassination of John F. Kennedy in the book, November Twenty Six Nineteen Hundred Sixty Three, published in 1964. The poem originally appeared in The Nation magazine on that date, just four days after the President's death. Shahn's dramatic hand-lettered title carries the weight of this electrifying event, just by the very size of the text. The title was stamped in black on the white cloth cover and the book was then packaged in a black slip case.

Source of photo: Letterform Archive

Source of image: Aleph-Bet

Source of photos: Mary & Matt
Stephen King's 11/22/63 novel about a time traveler who attempts to prevent the assassination of Kennedy, was published in 2011. The cover design features the true historical newpaper headlines, while the back cover has a fictional account of an aborted assassination attempt. It lacks the drama of the others, but illustrates two sides of a coin. It's interesting to note, that Amazon now lists 3261 books which have been published about John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Source of photo: SashaRaskin  


  1. 50 years and I still remember the news vividly. Somewhere I have a Life magazine from the time. Nothing on the cover but a portrait of President Kennedy.

  2. I was sitting in 9th grade homeroom when we got the news. Hard to believe I was only one year older than my 14 year old grandson is now.

    1. My indelible memory as a ten year-old girl, is of being glued to the television news coverage in black and white. It was a somber time watching the endless motorcade and wondering how this family would survive.


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