Description

    John F. Kennedy Autograph Manuscript Announcing His Intention to Run for President and two additional typed drafts. Three pages, 7.25" x 10.5", on his personal Palm Beach letterhead, Palm Beach [Florida], n. d. [circa late 1959]. On January 2, 1960, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. A member of a wealthy, Boston Irish Catholic family, Jack would become the youngest person ever elected to the office as well as the first Roman Catholic.

    Kennedy's announcement went through several incarnations. Each of the drafts presented in this lot vary slightly from each other and from the final as it was delivered to the American people. His handwritten announcement (probably one of the earliest) is written in pencil and is much shorter than the others, leaving out the entire middle section and having a completely different ending from all of the later drafts. It reads, in full:

    "I am announcing today my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. The Presidency is the most powerful office in the World. Through its leadership can come a more vital life for our people. In it are centered the hopes of the globe around us for a freedom and a more secure life. For 18 years I have been in the service of the United States, first as a naval officer in the 2nd World War, and for the past 14 years as a member of the Congress of the U. S. I have always had an image of America, as fulfilling a noble and historic role as the defender of liberty in a time of maximum peril - and of the American people as confident, courageous and persevering. I seek the Presidency for in that office in the next decade [?]will be different [?] whether war or peace is to be our fate, and whether the heritage of freedom so forcefully guarded for us from our earliest beginnings can be spread through a war torn world."

    Only the first two-thirds of the handwritten draft were included, in one form or another, in his final draft. Jack made several corrections throughout, crossing out words and entire parts of sentences. Smoothed folds, else fine.

    A second, handwritten draft, three pages, undated, on the same Palm Beach letterhead as the previous, but in an unknown hand, is also included. This draft builds on Kennedy's handwritten copy by expanding on the points he has put forth. An addition to this draft (and one that was kept similarly in the final draft) is the confident assertion that he can win the election: "...In the last three years, I have found the new faces of America in all 50 states, eager to help their [sic] resume its rightful place of world leadership. I seek the highest office because I am convinced after these three years of search that I can win election [sic] and return the Democratic party to power after eight lovely years."

    A third, two page, typed draft, bearing the title "TCS DRAFT" in the upper right corner, also undated and bears notations made in Kennedy's hand. This version is the first to mention the cultural race against the Soviet Union, "...For it is in the Executive Branch that the most crucial decisions of this century must be made in the next four years - how to end or alter the burdensome arms race, where Soviet gains already threaten our very existence - how to maintain freedom and order in the newly emerging nations - how to rebuild the stature of American science and education - how to prevent the collapse of our farm economy and the decay of our cities..." He puts forward his view that "...any Democrat aspiring to this important nomination should be willing to submit to the voters his views, record and vote-getting abilities in a series of primary contests." Each of these preceding sections was incorporated into the final draft, which was beginning to take shape.

    A fourth, three page typed version is included and is very near to what was presented on January 2, with a few lines added through notations (one of which is in Kennedy's hand) in pencil. In the second to the final paragraph, Kennedy has added the line: "In the last 20 years, I have travelled in nearly every land [the few words in the middle of the line are illegible] from Leningrad to Saigon, from Bucharest to Lima." This was included almost word for word in the final draft.

    Also, a two page "KENNEDY ANNOUNCEMENT - Draft #2," dated December 8, 1959. With three additional copies of drafts, all of which are nearly identical to each other with slight changes.

    Kennedy acquired the Democratic Party's nomination for president and, ultimately, won the presidential election, defeating Republican candidate Richard M. Nixon in what was one of the closest presidential elections of the twentieth century.




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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
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