Auctions | May 12, 2017

Kennedy Artifacts and Photographs to be Auctioned Ahead of JFK's 100th Birthday 

3374120_2 copy.jpgBOSTON, MA - In commemoration of JFK’s 100th birthday on May 29, 2017, RR Auction has curated an once-in-a-lifetime assortment of Kennedy artifacts, signed material, and photographs to celebrate the life of America’s beloved 35th president.  The special online offering is scheduled to begin on May 11 and will conclude on May 18, 2017.

A highlight is a John F. Kennedy 1955 'Profiles in Courage' hand-annotated speech manuscript page. 

A page from a draft of a speech given by Senator John F. Kennedy before the Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Fraternity at the University Club in Boston.

The annotated typed manuscript page with corrections in Kennedy's hand, from a speech given on October 27, 1955; the quotes featured in this speech were later published on pages 9 and 10 of his 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Profiles in Courage. In part: "Still another pressure, and in a sense the most important one, is the desire to be reelected. This is not a wholly selfish motive—for those who go down to defeat in the hopeless defense of a single principle will not return to fight for that or any other principle in the future. A Senator must consider the effect of that defeat upon his party, his friends and supporters, and even his wife and children. Certainly in no other occupation is a man expected to sacrifice honor, prestige and his chosen career for the national good. And thus former Senator Ashurst of Arizona reportedly said to his colleague Mark Smith: 'Mark, the great trouble with you is that you refuse to be a demagogue. You will not submerge your principles in order to get yourself elected. You must learn that there are times when a man in public life is compelled to rise above his principles.' Finally, of course, is the pressure which embraces all other pressures—the pressure of a Senator's constituency, the interest groups, the organized letter-writers and, as you know, the newspapers. It is impossible to satisfy them all. Ex-Congressman McGroary of California wrote a constituent in 1934: 'One of the countless drawbacks of being in Congress is that I am compelled to receive impertinent letters from a jackass like you, in which you say I promised to have the Sierra Madre mountains reforested and I have been in Congress two months and haven't done it. Will you please take two running jumps and go to hell.' Few of us follow that urge—but the provocation is there, from unreasonable letters, impossible requests, hopelessly inconsistent demands and endlessly unsatisfied grievances."

Kennedy underlines several phrases in pencil and makes a few deletions, in addition to writing the politicians' names, "Ashurst" and "McGroary," in the left margin; the quotes from Ashurt and McGroary are what also appeared in Profiles in Courage.

Originally sold by Charles Hamilton in 1975. Accompanied by an early printing of Profiles in Courage, a photocopied typescript of Kennedy's final draft of this speech, and unsigned documents related to the German publication of the book.

“This speech was perhaps the first time that Kennedy revealed his thoughts on courage and politics, which would later be immortalized in Profiles in Courage,” said  Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

“Manuscripts related to the award-winning book are exceedingly scarce, and with numerous corrections made in Kennedy's hand this is a superb example.”

Another highlight is one-of-a-kind historically significant official US Senate personal identification card issued to John F. Kennedy.  

The ID Card features an image of the young senator, neatly signed in full in fountain pen, "John F. Kennedy." Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Kennedy's longtime secretary Evelyn Lincoln on US Senate memorandum letterhead, April 27, 1987, to noted JFK collector Robert L. White, in full: "This United States Senate I.D. card issued to the late John F. Kennedy, with signature and photo, which you now have in your possession, was carried by him in his wallet while he was a United States Senator." Also includes an original Senate seating diagram from Kennedy's first term, one page both sides, which depicts Kennedy's seat as number 93.

After serving three terms in the House of Representatives, Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1952. His term began on January 3, 1953, and he served as the junior senator from Massachusetts until December 22, 1960, just before entering the presidency.

“This personal ID card is an absolutely amazing relic from this important stage in his political life,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

Also featured is an incredible assortment of historic Kennedy photographs from The Ronnie Paloger Collection. The 100 lots of photographs depict a fascinating and crucial period in JFK’s life from 1946-1953, chronicling JFK’s first political congressional campaign of 1946, his run for U.S. senator in 1952, and his marriage to Jackie in 1953. LIFE magazine featured six of these photographs in a twelve-page ‘photo essay’ chapter in their ‘special edition’ commemorating JFK’s centennial birthday.

Additional items include:

?? Handwritten letter from Lt. Kennedy while on “PT Shakedown” duties in Miami, only months removed from his harrowing PT-109 rescue.

?? Jackie’s 1960 Maternity dress, worn two months away from delivering JFK, Jr., and her husband winning the presidency

?? Impressive Louis Lupa original pastel JFK portrait.

?? Kennedy’s Stately Pair of Eagle Bookends.

The John F. Kennedy Auction from RR Auction will begin on May 11 and conclude on May 18. More details can be found online at