SHARE 1 COMMENTMORE

MIDDLEBURG, Va. (WUSA9) -- Only on 9 tonight, never before seen photographs of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her young family taken during their weekends in Virginia.

Photographer Howard Allen took the intimate candids in the early 1960s, and ended up documenting history.

"She once told me this was her favorite picture of the three of them together," said photographer Howard Allen. He is 93 years old now and a country gentleman with a sharp wit.

He earned the trust of the woman he still calls Jackie, the fashion icon the rest of the nation knew as America's First Lady.

" What I saw was a lady just like any other mothers around town. She didn't act like a celebrity, and she didn't have to put on any airs up here. She was just Jackie....Whereas in Washington, I guess she had to be somebody else. "

He met Jackie in 1961. Both of their children were members of Middleburg's Pony Club. As a parent, he had access to all the shows.

Despite being a professional photographer, Allen kept the First Family's intimate moments private.

"It didn't take her long to realize she could trust me not to sell the pictures. And then she could just relax and be another Pony Club mother."

All that time, he never sold a single photograph of the Kennedys.

"This is my daughter, Betsy, who is now the Mayor of Middleburg, and Jackie exchanging big smiles together."

He's kept these priceless, candid snapshots under wraps... until now.

"I figure after half a century it would be okay."

We accompanied Allen as he returned to Glen Ora, the Virginia estate the Kennedys rented from 1961 to 1963, the scene of so many of his photographs.

"They rode down past that fork and rode back, and as they came along, I just kept clicking pictures."

One day, after Jackie and John had gone into the house, a spunky Caroline asked to be put atop her mother's horse, Sardar, a gift from the governor of Pakistan .

"She wanted to show what a big girl she was. And there she is on Jackie's horse."

Allen also recalls the day Jackie introduced him to her husband, the President.

"He said, 'I've heard a lot about you from my wife. And I thought later, that night I thought, well gosh, I should have said, 'well that's a coincidence, I've heard right much about you too... But I didn't say it!"

He documented the Kennedys Sunday church outings-at the Middleburg Community Center, and later at a Catholic Church just outside of town.

The photograph, taken just weeks before President Kennedy's assassination. A death that hit home. "Cause here all of a sudden I had all these good things going on with the Kennedys, and ..Suddenly it was all over."

Through his grief, he taped the radio broadcasts discussing the nation's tragedy.

It wasn't until the 1980s that Jackie would return to Middleburg. An accomplished equestrian.

"That's the nice thing about digital photography now. You can see whether you got it or not right away, but in those days, you had to wait and hope!"

As exceptional as his professional career has been, so too is his personal life.

"We've been married 65 years," as he introduces his wife. She says, "He's just a wonderful person."

Nancy and Howard Allen have two daughters, four granddaughters and four great grandchildren. And now, a book about another local family that made an impact on Middleburg.

Howard Allen's book is out in October. Before publishing the Kennedy family photographs, he wrote to Caroline Kennedy to ask for her approval. Allen says she wished him well and said she looked forward to seeing snapshots of her childhood days in Middleburg.

The launch of the book will be at the National Sporting Library & Museum (in Middleburg) on October 13th from 4-6:30pm. The book is available on his website: www.howardallenphotos.com as well as many local bookstores in the area, including The Fun Shop.

SHARE 1 COMMENTMORE