The Washington Post

Jacqueline Kennedy’s bloodstained pink suit, preserved at the National Archives

Former President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy arrive at Love Field prior to his assassination in Dallas,Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963. (Reuters)

On Dec. 6, 1963, two weeks after the assassination, Jacqueline Kennedy and her children moved out of the White House. Although still in mourning, she was careful about what needed to be preserved from Nov. 22.

Her bloodstained pink suit, which many thought was Chanel but came from Chez Ninon, was placed in a box that was marked “worn by Jackie 11-22-63.” It was not cleaned.

The suit was sent to the National Archives with instructions not to display it for 100 years.

In a statement released in October, the National Archives listed the items that are still stored in a “custom made acid-free box” at the National Archives in College Park. “Pink Chanel Suit — Jacket and Skirt; Blue Blouse; Pair of Stockings, wrapped in a white towel; Pair of Blue Shoes; Blue Purse; Portion of Cardboard Box in which materials were delivered to the National Archives; shows address to Mrs. John F. Kennedy, The White House; Stationery of Mrs. Hugh D. Auchincloss, 3044 O Street. N.W., Washington, D.C.” Handwritten note: “Jackie’s suit and bag — worn November 22nd 1963.” (Auchincloss was Mrs. Kennedy’s mother.)

A senior archivist, Steven Tilley, told The Post in 2011, “It looks like it’s brand new, except for the blood.”

The box, which did not include the pillbox hat Mrs. Kennedy wore that day, was sent to the National Archives more than 40 years ago, but the exact date of delivery is not known.

“The only clue as to the date of transfer is the fact that the address on the letterhead that accompanied the suit contains a single-digit postal code,” the Archives said. The Postal Service switched to five-digit Zip codes in 1963, but they were not widely used for several years.

The legal custody of deed, established July 29, 2003, and signed by the Kennedys’ daughter Caroline, requires the National Archives to preserve the items and prevent “the undignified or sensational use of the materials (such as public display) or any other use which would tend in any way to dishonor the memory of the late President or cause unnecessary grief or suffering to members of his family.”

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