JFK's 1945 Diary for Sale at Live Auction in Boston

Img2766 copy.jpgBOSTON, MA -  As we near the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth, Boston-based RR Auction is proud to announce the manuscript: Prelude to Leadership - JFK's Summer Diary of 1945 will be featured in an upcoming live auction on April 26, 2017. 

This 61-page diary, written as a Hearst newspaper war correspondent, captures a moment in time perhaps never before fully appreciated, and only now, 71 years later, officially being offered at auction.

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.

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.  She worked closely with him and his academic advisory group on position papers for his campaign, and the President-elect asked her to stay on during the transition period. Deirdre was on the White House staff before moving on to the State Department. 

“It was a privilege to work as research assistant to Senator John F. Kennedy in his run for the Presidency. He gave me his 1945 diary so I could better understand his views,” said Deirdre Henderson. 

He was not yet thirty, and—unbeknownst to himself and the world—the courageous PT-109 veteran was forging his path to greatness. Germany had just surrendered, and over a brief two months during the summer of 1945, he served as a witness to history, traveling World War II-torn Europe: England, Ireland, France, finally Germany. There, shoulder to shoulder with presidents, prime ministers, and generals, he experienced firsthand the end of WWII and the ominous creeping of the iron curtain.

In the wake of his elder brother’s valiant death soaring over the British Channel, the Harvard graduate left his twenty-something scholarly dreams behind, and picked up the mantle of his storied family dynasty.

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. Kennedy even visits the ravaged bunker where Hitler died and attests to a long-rumored conspiracy that the Fuhrer’s body was never found; lacking hindsight and knowledge of Nazi horrors now known, he ends the European portion of the diary with the startling assessment that Hitler possessed “the stuff that legends were made of.”

By Summer’s end, Jack 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 live auction will take place at RR Auction’s Boston Gallery on April 26, 2017 at 1PM Eastern. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.

Image: Courtesy of RR Auctions.

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