Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Jacqueline Kennedy Autograph Letter Signed "Jacqueline Kennedy". Four pages on mourning stationery, 6.25" x 9.25", no place; February 15, 1964. Written less than three months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In this lengthy letter, addressed to John Steinbeck, Jackie Kennedy writes about her reservations about a photography book of her husband and family produced by Jacques Lowes. She writes, in full:

    "I looked through all the pictures - and they are just what I suspected - nothing. All Jacque [sic] Lowes best photographs were in his first book. He has padded this out with a lot of pictures at dreary meetings and some family pictures that were discarded before and which I intend to see he never publishes. I think it is awful of Jacque [sic] Lowe to try and make a few extra pennies off the President in this way. If it was Vikings idea - I am surprised. It is something the family will give no sanction to and I don't think you should be associated with it in any way. I know what I think you should do now - a book on your own - as we were all beginning to think at the end of our meeting together. What you said about the Arthurian cycle, all the way you pictured what you would do, is what I wish so much to be written about Jack. Who but you could do it? I want him to pass into legend. That is the way I always saw him. You might tell Tom Quinzberg how I feel about a book of photographs. It should be done a long while from now - when Mark Shaw & everyone's photographs are available. It should be the finest thing of its kind. The most brilliant layout people should work on it. I picture something like David Duncans book on Picasso - a large book. If I approved of it I would give my own photographs to it. I was always taking pictures of my husband and children and some of them are touching. Maybe Viking will do that book - maybe someone else - that depends on Tom's imagination. But the photograph book should be the definitive one - there is no hurry for it - and only to a book of which I approve will I give sanction - and a host of pictures from sources that no one but me even knows about now. But a book like that could really be done in a hundred years - by a brilliant editor. But a hundred years from now you won't be here - nor will anyone who was struck by his death and forever wounded by it. You were at Jack's Inauguration - you know the place that you have in the letters at this country. If you decide to do the kind of thing you spoke of - then Bobby and I would help you in every way - although we are not much help to anyone right now. I hope you do decide - you can write to me (send it to Max or I won't get it for weeks) or we can meet - or you can tell Max what you have decided if that is easier. Twelve days before Jack died, we had the Black Watch at the White House. He spoke of how the history of Scotland captured him at an early age - 'because I suppose, all of us in a sense are drawn to lost causes'. I saw the film of that the other day. All I can think of is - Is Jack's life going to be a lost cause? He did care so about lost causes. I can tell you of all his heroes - but he did not want his life to be that. Unfortunately, you met me at the worst time in my life. I know I must be like Jack and keep fighting, but there seems no reason to anymore. But I will try to be out at this slump by the time I see you again - if you decide that is to happen. Thank you."

    Following JFK's death, Jackie Kennedy was extremely sensitive to how her late husband was remembered, and did not want his memory to be tainted or taken advantage of by the press. Jacques Lowe was Kennedy's official photographer during his campaign and short presidency.

    Condition: Flattened folds, else very fine.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    27th Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,535

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Oct 27, 2019 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 October 20 Manuscripts Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
    Charlie K.,
    Pittsburgh, PA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search