Presidents Day Our 35th President John F. Kennedy.

Today we mark the birthday of our first president, George Washington, which was actually February 22. The holiday, however, has become widely-known as Presidents’ Day to honor all who have held the office, and so is also an opportunity to remember our 35th president, John F. Kennedy.

In the 1960s, February 22 was a federal holiday, no matter what day of the week it fell (Lincoln’s February 12 birthday, incidentally, was never a federal holiday). On all three times it rolled around during his administration, President Kennedy found time to relax. In 1961, after a series of morning briefings at the White House, he played nine holes of golf in the afternoon, followed by a few more meetings and then dinner at a friend’s home. In 1963, he was at the Kennedy family compound in Palm Beach, Fla. He went to the beach in the morning and cruised on the yacht Honey Fitz in the afternoon.

On February 22, 1962, he was also in Palm Beach. He had flown down from Washington earlier in the day, accompanied by the family of astronaut John Glenn. They would all attend a medal ceremony in Glenn’s honor the next day at Cape Canaveral after becoming the first American to orbit the Earth on Feb. 20.

It was Kennedy’s first visit to the Cape, and he received a brief tour of launch facilities before pinning NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal on Glenn’s lapel. The president would come to the space center on two more occasions during his time in office. We cover all three visits with multi-page photo spreads in our new book, The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy, along with detailed captions providing the rich historical background for each image.   By John Bisney for Retrospaceimages Blog.  

This book is now available.  Follow the affiliate link below to view on Amazon. 


The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy




JFK Feb 22 President John F. Kennedy (at bottom of airplane stairs) and members of John Glenn’s family exit Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on February 22, 1962. Walking down the stairs behind Kennedy are Glenn’s wife, Annie; his daughter, Lyn; and his son David.



The Daily Mail UK reviews Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments.

“Out of this world: Rare and never before seen pictures provide a unique glance behind NASA’s groundbreaking 1969 moon landing”  Luke Kenton The Daily Mail .

We are pleased that our book is getting noticed in the UK.  Thank you to  The Daily Mail  for reviewing our book today.

“50 years ago this July, Neil Armstrong took ‘one giant leap for mankind’ as he became the first human to step foot on the moon’s surface – and now, never-before-seen pictures provide a unique glimpse behind the profound 1969 voyage. “

Follow the affiliate link below to view on Amazon.

Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments

Available on pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Hardcover released March 14th, 2019  The University of Florida Press



Picturing Apollo 11, Publisher’s Weekly 2019 Top Ten Release

“Picturing Apollo 11”, which has been named a 2019 Top Ten release by Publisher’s Weekly in Art, Architecture & Photography, has also just received a nice review.

Although it wont be shipped until March 15, its currently on sale for $29.30 (a 35% discount) from Amazon and Target.




Publisher’s Weekly

In a story told primarily through photos and captions, historian Pickering and journalist Bisney (coauthors of Moonshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo), chronicle 1969’s heady days of “moon fever.” Across 10 well-organized chapters, the selected images capture the country’s mounting excitement; the meticulous preparation of astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins; and finally the moon landing itself and the crew’s return to Earth. Subjects range from the magnificent—the Apollo 11 rocket at sunset or twilight on the launching pad—to the mundane—the astronauts signing rental car forms at a NASA base. Some of the most affecting images are simple portraits of Aldrin, Armstrong, and Collins, which amply capture their discipline and determination. In the introduction, Bisney notes that he and Pickering don’t claim to include any new material from space, as all “in-flight photography” has been publicly available since 1969; NASA buffs familiar with such images may find fresh interest in, for instance, those of the astronauts enduring a 21-day isolation period after their return and then being feted around the world. The reader is left with an ample sense of the astronauts’ fame and, thanks to Pickering and Bisney’s wise selections, of their lasting accomplishment. (Mar.)

Book Related Activity Picking Up

Book activity is beginning to pick up with “The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy” being released next month, and “Picturing Apollo 11” in March. I have been getting book signings lined up. Got a “thumbs up” from folks at National Air and Space Museum and Udvar-Hazy yesterday, just need to get dates coordinated. It was great being in D.C. a few years ago with our previous books. John Bisney and I were joined by our good friend Jacques Tiziou, whom we lost two years ago next month. We also had a surprise visit from Andy Chaikin and Paul Fjeld (at right in photo). Both new books are pre-selling really well on Amazon, and John and I are looking forward to getting out on the road with them.

Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments

The Space Aged-Presidency of John F. Kennedy










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The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy

“The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy” is an unprecedented photo history book that pulls together more than 520 images for the first time, many previously unpublished, to visually document JFK’s interactions with the American space program. The authors drew from NASA, the US Air Force, Los Alamos, White Sands, the Kennedy Library, and other sources to chronicle his space-related activities and travels from 1961-63. Project Mercury and X-15/X-20 fans will enjoy this book, but it also encompasses the new age of satellites, space probes, and nuclear missiles. Readers will go behind the scenes at the White House and on field trips to military and space facilities around the country as Kennedy explores his nation’s growing capabilities. Each photo is accompanied by a detailed caption providing historical depth. This short video will give you a taste of what’s inside.  Authors John Bisney and J.L. Pickering.



The book is available now for pre-order on Amazon with a release date of February 14.

The Space-Aged Presidency of John F. Kennedy


Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments


The University Press of Florida Spring & Summer catalog is now available. Good to see our book “Picturing Apollo 11” featured on the cover. The book will be released in March, but can be pre-ordered at Amazon.   Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments

We put together a video for our “Picturing Apollo 11” book which will be released on March 14th.  In the meantime please enjoy the video.

Video Picturing Apollo 11


The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy

I am pleased to share a promotional video for the book “The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy” by John Bisney and myself. The book can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Please click the link below to watch the promotional video.

The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy

Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments.


I am pleased to announce that my fourth book with coauthor John Bisney, “Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments, will be available on Amazon in March of 2019. Picturing Apollo 11

Picturing Apollo 11 is an unprecedented photographic history of the space mission that defined an era. Through a wealth of unpublicized and recently discovered images, this book presents new and rarely-seen views of the people, places, and events involved in the pioneering first moon landing of July 20, 1969.

No other book has showcased as many never-before-seen photos connected with Apollo 11, or as many photos covering the activities from months before to years after the mission. Starting with the extensive preparations, these photographs show astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin training for the flight, as well as the stages of the massive Saturn V rocket arriving at the Kennedy Space Center for assembly. They capture the media frenzy over the unfolding story and the “moon fever” that gripped the nation.

Also featured here are shots of incredible moments from the mission. In these images, spectators flock to Cape Canaveral to watch the mighty Saturn V launch in a cloud of fire and thunder. Armstrong and Aldrin step out of the lunar module Eagle onto the surface of the moon. The command module Columbiasplashes down in the Pacific Ocean, and the extraordinary voyage is celebrated around the world and in the following decades.

Most of the photographs were selected from NASA archives and the collection of J. L. Pickering, the world’s largest private collection of U.S. human space flight images. The accompanying text details the scenes, revealing the astonishing scale and scope of activities that went into planning and executing the first moon landing. This book commemorates the historic mission and evokes the electric atmosphere of the time.

The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy.

I am pleased to announce that my next book with coauthor John Bisney, The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy – A Rare Photographic History, will be published in March by the University of New Mexico Press. The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy

This unprecedented work captures the compelling story of President Kennedy’s role in advancing the US space program, set against the Cold War with the Soviet Union. It chronicles his activities in Washington and his travels throughout the country during 1961-1963, a pivotal three years for NASA. It also further unveils Kennedy’s ambivalence toward the Apollo program as the centerpiece of America’s space race against the Soviets.

Filled with many unpublished photos of the president at civilian and military space facilities, it showcases rare photographs with exhaustively-researched captions. We also include excerpts from Kennedy’s speeches, news conferences, and once-secret White House recordings to provide more context through Kennedy’s own words.

We are very grateful to Dr. Christopher C. Kraft for providing the foreword. John and I hope you will enjoy our latest space history photo book.

JFK BookJFK Book Back Page


Moonshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo


A Rare Photographic History


In this companion volume to their extraordinary book of rare photographs from the Mercury and Gemini missions, John Bisney and J. L. Pickering present the rest of the Golden Age of US manned space flight with a photographic history of Project Apollo.

Beginning in 1967, Moonshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo chronicles the program’s twelve missions and its two follow-ons, Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. The authors again draw from rarely seen NASA, industry, and news media images, taking readers to the Moon, on months-long odysseys above Earth, and finally on the first international manned space flight in 1975.
The book pairs many previously unpublished images from Pickering’s unmatched collection of Cold War-era space photographs with extended captions–identifying many NASA, military, and contract workers and participants for the first time–to provide comprehensive background information about the exciting climax and conclusion of the Space Race.
Follow this link to amazon for a copy of this book.