Today I got a visit from Ray and Conni Lewis of Kanawha City. They brought in a box with yellowed newspapers of the past — tangible history of the day John F. Kennedy was shot.
The newspapers were the four editions of the Charleston Daily Mail from Nov. 22, 1963. As an afternoon newspaper at the time, the Daily Mail first printed a suburban edition that had no sign of a national tragedy — just a front page picture of some people protesting the president’s Texas visit. With each edition after that, the horrible story unfolded with greater detail and certainty.
Ray, then 16, was in chemistry class at Charleston Catholic. That’s where he first heard Kennedy had been shot.
“Within half an hour, we knew he was dead.”
Because his high school was downtown, Ray had immediate access to the newspaper bins that kept receiving updated edition after updated edition.
“I walked past the newspaper rack and there was one marked ‘Extra,'” he recalled. He put in a nickel and got a copy.
“Shortly after that, another one came out.”
By the end of the day, he had four editions of the paper, which he kept for 50 years.
Conni marveled at the newspaper staff’s ability to provide update after update.
“Think what it would have taken to put out 4 front pages with jumps.”