Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John F. Kennedy Autograph Letter Signed "Jack". Three pages of a bifolium, 3.5" x 5", Castle Hot Springs, Arizona; postmarked "17 1945", circa early 1945. A casual letter addressed to Ensign Elinor Dooley, written while Kennedy was staying at the Castle Hot Springs health spa after his surgery. On August 1, 1943, Kennedy's patrol boat, the PT-109 was rammed and destroyed by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy injured his back during the collision but managed to save the majority of his men. He returned to service a month later but was later sent back to the United States to treat his back injury. He was first hospitalized at Chelsea Naval Hospital in Massachusetts, which is where he met 24-year-old Navy nurse Elinor Mae Dooley. After his surgery, Kennedy was transported to Castle Hot Springs, which had been leased by the military as a hospital and resort.

    Clearly, the young nurse made a lasting impression on the young Kennedy, as he continued corresponding with her after he was discharged from Chelsea Naval Hospital. The letter reads, in full:

    "I've been waiting to hear from you for some time and your valentine (for which I thank you) let me hear that you were still with us and not defending your country's honor and your own - in the Philippines or some place like it. I still have great hope that you will be coming out this way. If you do - please - I say again please - let me know when you are going - for if it is near - I will come on the double. Try and take any leave you get on this end - as it is wonderful country - and you would love it. Wonderful air - riding etc. and I think I'm getting in better shape - though it goes surprisingly slow. I am really living like the doctor ordered - and finding it a bit of a strain. Relax and write. I use this card as I thought the cactus expressed well my social life here. Love, Jack."

    The letter is housed in a clear, magnetic frame and is accompanied by its original transmittal cover. It should be noted that on both the letter and envelope, Kennedy has misspelled Elinor's name as either "Elenor" or "Eleanor". Also included is a photograph of a young, relaxed Kennedy dressed in his uniform.

    Condition: Housed in the clear, magnetic frame, the card's centerfold has been flattened so that all sides of the letter are visible. There is minor soiling, else very good. The envelope has staining and usual wear. It is torn along the top edge, where the letter was opened.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    14th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,230

    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 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
    Only 43 days left to consign to the 2021 February 27 - 28 Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    You reach a customer base that is in many ways completely unknown to the major auction houses, and your marketing to this base is as professional as one could hope for. As I continue to wind down my holdings.
    Michael Z.,
    Hawthorne, NY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search