JFK's 'Only' Diary Sold for $718,750 at Auction
A diary written in 1945 by John F. Kennedy during his brief stint as a journalist after World War II sold for $718,750 according to Boston-based RR Auction.
The diary was consigned by Deirdre Henderson, who began working for Senator Kennedy in 1959 as his research assistant in his run for the Presidency.
“It was my hope that through the auction catalog the diary would come to the attention of a wider audience and find a home worthy of its merit,” said Deirdre Henderson.
The diary is compromised of 61 loose-leaf pages, bound in a premium black leather cowhide binder. Twelve of the pages were handwritten by Kennedy and he typed forty-nine pages on his personal typewriter.
Within the detailed personal diary, a 28-year-old JFK reveals surprising views on liberalism versus conservatism and espouses his unedited beliefs regarding Roosevelt’s effect on capitalism; he witnesses and harshly critiques the formation of the United Nations; he muses on iconic leaders Chamberlain, Churchill, DeGaulle, FDR, and Eisenhower. Before the trip is over, young Jack experiences in real-time a desolated Berlin and along with Stalin, Truman, and Eisenhower, attends Potsdam, Germany’s summit.
This historic event included an unlikely gathering of a current president, Truman, and two future presidents, Ike and JFK. Potsdam was where Truman officially decided to drop the bomb on Japan and revealed the presence of the world-changing weapon to Stalin.
Throughout the diary, JFK chronicles his own chilling premonitions of power-hungry Russia and the conflict that would be synonymous with his presidency: the cold war.
By Summer’s end, Kennedy officially decided to run for congress, the first step on his sixteen-year journey to the White House. The final pages of this memoir record, in the future president’s own hand, his reservations on running, coupled with his renewed vigor to serve.
JFK’s assignment as an observer-reporter provided him the final push needed to embrace the next steps of his career and excel as a public servant.
“This exceptional diary sheds light on a side of John F. Kennedy seldom explored and confirms America’s enduring sense that he was one of the most qualified, intelligent, and insightful commanders-in-chief in American history,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.
“The sale far exceeded our expectations and helps to establish us as one of the preeminent auction houses for Kennedy documents,” added Livingston. “We are honored to have had the chance to bring this little-known diary to the attention of a world-wide audience.”
The winning bid came from Joseph Alsop, a Kennedy collector from Beverly Massachusetts.
The live auction took place at RR Auction’s Boston Gallery on April 26, 2017 at 1PM Eastern. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.