John F. Kennedy Original Historic Letters and Documents

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Topic

Human Aspect

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Manuscripts (28)

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President John F. Kennedy Says He’s Tempted to Write About Thomas Jefferson but His Current Job Takes Up All His Time

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 660

President Kennedy declines a publisher's offer to write a book about Thomas Jefferson, citing his time-consuming job as President of the United States.
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President Eisenhower Writes JFK a Chilly Letter After Losing the 1960 Election

Typed Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 703

Eisenhower coldly, yet cordially, confirms that his friend and Defense Liaison Officer, General Andrew Goodpaster, will be staying, as per Kennedy's request, with the President until February or March.
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Rare Ticket to

Ephemera

1 page

SMC 710

Ticket to the Democratic Party's welcome dinner in honor of President Kennedy; it was to be held in Austin in the evening of the day he was shot in Dallas.
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Notes Written by President John F. Kennedy Aboard Air Force One

Autograph Note

7 pages

SMC 711

These notes, written by President Kennedy aboard Air Force One illustrate how the most important world events, like our mundane tasks, often begin with the same shorthand scrawlings.
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John F. Kennedy's First Draft, Partially Handwritten, Letter of Condolence to Medgar Evers's Widow

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 712

John F. Kennedy writes a condolence letter to Medgar Evers's widow. Four hours before Evers was shot in front of his wife and children, Kennedy had given a televised speech calling for an end to racial discrimination.
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After His

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 715

President Kennedy thanks General Landon, the Commander in Chief of the United States Air Force in Europe for the "magnificent way" in which the General ensured that Kennedy's visit to Germany was a success.
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President John F. Kennedy on the Death of His Infant Son, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 716

President John F. Kennedy's infant son Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born prematurely and lived for 39 hours. Five days later, the president thanks his sister-in-law and husband for their support during this difficult time.
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President John F. Kennedy

Autograph Note Signed

1 page

SMC 901

John F. Kennedy signs a quote to the photographer, who had recently captured him "on the edge of the new frontier."
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The Beginning of the Peace Corps: President Kennedy Welcomes the First Volunteers

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1447

President John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps in 1961. This letter from him wishes the Peace Corps volunteer good luck on the upcoming entrance exams.
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John F. Kennedy's Famous

Typed Manuscript

20 pages

SMC 1449

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A Rare Original Watercolor by John F. Kennedy of the Kennedy Palm Beach Home in 1955

Signed Drawing

1 page

SMC 1452

Likely one of Kennedy's last watercolors, inscribed and gifted to Dot Tubridy, a close family friend of the Kennedys.
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President John F. Kennedy Recalls Happy Palm Beach Memories With an Old Irish Friend

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1740

President John F. Kennedy writes to eight-year-old Aine Tubridy to thank her for her picture of a painting he made of the Kennedy compound at Palm Beach, Florida.
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On His First Day in Office,

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 2051

Masking his true feelings about his predecessor, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, and twenty-eight years Eisenhower's junior, thanks him for a smooth transition of power.
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Rare, Seemingly Singular Evidence, That John F. Kennedy Knew How to Fly: His 1944 Flight Logbook

Signed Book

3 pages

SMC 2074

John F. Kennedy's flight logbook of 1944, in which he took ten solo lessons. No existent documentation exists to explain Kennedy's choice; an odd one, as just that year, he discouraged his brother Bobby from flying, and was growing increasingly anxious about the number of fatalities in his older brother Joe's aviation unit. Joe would be shot down later that year in a secret mission over France.
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A Last Thing Signed: John F. Kennedy Autographs a Dallas Newspaper on the Morning of His Murder There

Ephemera

1 page

SMC 2168

An edition of The Dallas Morning News signed by President John F. Kennedy on the morning of his assassination. Kennedy was shot at 12:30, making it very likely that this was the last thing he ever signed.
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John F. Kennedy Letter, Post-Dated November 26, 1963, Signed Before He Left for Dallas

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 2181

A letter from President Kennedy wishing Senator Dan Flood a happy birthday, dated November 26, 1963, four days after Kennedy was assassinated. Kennedy had signed the letter before leaving for Dallas.
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Ephemera

1 page

SMC 2356

Newspaper from the morning after Kennedy's Assassination. Kennedy had signed the same newspaper on the very day of his assassination.
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Young John F. Kennedy Condemns Harry Truman's Reversal to Support the Partition of Palestine

Autograph Manuscript

2 pages

SMC 149

At a dinner of Jewish veterans, John F. Kennedy, then a congressman from Massachusetts, condemns Harry Truman's withdrawal of support for the partition of Palestine as "one of the most unfortunate reversals in American policy. Kennedy also called for the US to lift the arms embargo in order to give Israel a chance to protect herself in the ensuing war.
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Sen. John F. Kennedy Declines McCarthyite Alvin Owsley's Invitation to Visit Texas; Invites Him to Lunch

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 340

Kennedy’s letter to Alvin Owsley, addressed to him in Dallas, is dated almost ten years to the day on which he would make his ill-fated trip to that city as president. In a sad twist, Kennedy concludes the letter with the hope that he will be able to see Owsley during "one of my visits to Texas on another occasion."
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President John F. Kennedy Plans a Pleasure Trip to His Ancestral Home, Ireland

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 341

Ahead of his trip to Ireland, President Kennedy reassures his close friend Dot Tubridy that she will be included in all presidential functions.
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President John F. Kennedy On His Historic Trip to Ireland:

Typed Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 342

John F. Kennedy writes to his close friend Dot Tubridy to tell her how much he enjoyed his trip to Ireland and seeing her.
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In 1942, Ensign J.F. Kennedy Requests Sea Duty on a PT Vessel:

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 343

This document sent John F. Kennedy to sea during World War II, where he would become a celebrated hero after his boat sunk, and he swam three miles to shore dragging a shipmate to safety with his lifejacket between his teeth.
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President Kennedy Sends General Maxwell Taylor to South Vietnam to Appraise the Situation

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 344

Under pressure to send US ground troops to Vietnam, President John F. Kennedy plays for time by sending General Maxwell Taylor to South Vietnam to appraise the situation. Kennedy reminds Taylor that the "initial responsibility for the effective maintenance of the independence of South Viet-Nam rests with the people and government of that country."
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JFK’s Handwritten Quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country”

Autograph Quotation Signed

1 page

SMC 442

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Life's Lessons: John F. Kennedy Advises a College Student What Classes to Take for a Life in Politics

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 522

John F. Kennedy, then a senator, is asked what he recommends as a course of study for a young person wishing to enter politics. In addition to recommending joining a campaign for practical knowledge, Kennedy says he feels that a "thorough knowledge of English is most essential," followed by the obvious choice of law for postgraduate studies.
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John F. Kennedy: National Security and Future of the Space Program Depend on Ending Labor Strife Delays

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 523

John F. Kennedy views the delays with the labor unions as a threat to not only the space program, but to national security. He urges Arthur Goldberg, the Secretary of Labor, to come to a swift arrangement with union leaders in order to resume the space race against the Soviets.
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Early John F. Kennedy Letter About the Death of His Brother Joe, Which Would Propel Him Into Politics

Typed Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 524

This letter thanking Miss Forbush for her condolences and prayers on the occasion of Joe Jr.'s death in World War II marks the beginning of John F. Kennedy's shouldering the mantle of his father's political aspirations.
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Harry Truman,

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 591

Truman is frustrated yet optimistic in this letter. On one hand, neither Kennedy nor Nixon were, in his opinion, desirable candidates. On the other hand, Truman concedes, this is probably how the "oldsters" felt in 1828, 1840, 1852, and 1860, when those elections changed the course of American politics. Ultimately, he posits America came out "on top" in these other elections and will in this one as well.
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