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JFK's 1960 campaign: Never-before-seen pictures

Paul Schutzer/TIME & LIFE Pictures

John F. Kennedy campaigns in Illinois in 1960. The most recent issue of TIME has a big spread of pictures from LIFE.com, never before seen, marking the 50th anniversary of JFK's election to the presidency. The magazine's caption for this picture notes the sense of fun it conveys--and how, in hindsight, it evokes the tragedy of the motorcade in Dallas three years later.

Paul Schutzer/TIME & LIFE Pictures

LIFE.com: "John F. Kennedy on the campaign trail was a rock star in a suit and tie. Or was he a movie star who acted the same role over and over again? Whatever the metaphor, one thing's certain: He sent crowds, and especially women in crowds, into something close to a frenzy. In a decidedly superior tone, LIFE observed in its last issue before the November 8th election: "The blissful fog of feminine adoration surrounding Jack Kennedy -- the great phenomenon of the 1960 campaign -- grew even thicker in the last days of his tour." Above: A Paul Schutzer photo captures the feeling of revelry that erupted on JFK's campaign stops across the country."

LIFE.com's exclusive gallery of 33 never-before-seen pictures from JFK's campaign for the 1960 election is viewable here. The images were shot for LIFE Magazine, but haven't been published until now. The slideshow is a great addition to the visual history of an American president.

In the 1960 campaign edition of our online documentary "Turning Points," NBC's Tom Brokaw presents a wealth of historical film footage of the race.

On the TODAY show this morning, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, JFK's nephew, reacted to some of these pictures in an interview with Meredith Viera:

He ushered in so much promise and hope... It was a can-do attitude America had. The Peace Corps, the moon shot, the New Frontier. He gave a sense of hope and promise for America. And that's still available to America.

Watch the entire interview here:

The former congressman discusses his 16 years in public office, his family's legacy and his decision to devote his time to what he sees as the next scientific frontier — brain research. 

One more treat from the LIFE.com gallery:

Paul Schutzer/TIME & LIFE Pictures

LIFE.com: "On a drive through Illinois, Paul Schutzer turns his camera on his colleagues in the press. The assumption, today, that the media had one big collective crush on Kennedy -- above and beyond the understanding that articles and pictures of the Kennedys sold newspapers and magazines -- that assumption is at least somewhat belied by a remarkable insight in Norman Mailer's Esquire portrait: "Not terribly popular with the reporters (too much a contemporary, and yet too difficult to understand, he received nothing like the rounds of applause [at the convention] given to Eleanor Roosevelt, Stevenson, Humphrey, or even Johnson), he carried himself nonetheless with a cool grace which seemed indifferent to applause, his manner somehow similar to the poise of a fine boxer, quick with his hands, neat in his timing, and two feet away from his corner when the bell ended the round."