Description

    John F. Kennedy Excellent Early Autograph Letter Signed: The 23-year-old Harvard graduate, in Rio de Janeiro on vacation, sends a copy of his book, Why England Slept, to the U.S. Military Attache.

    Signed: "Jack Kennedy", one page, 7.75" x 9.5". Rio de Janeiro, [May, 1941]. To Colonel Edwin L. Sibert. In full: "Dear Colonel, I am sending this book over as I thought that certain parts might hold some interest for you. Again many thanks to you & Mrs. Sibert for your kindness. I hope to see you sometime soon again. Sincerely." Written on thin, lightweight stationery of the Copacabana Palace hotel, Avenida Atlantica, Rio de Janeiro. The Copacabana Palace, built in 1923, is still Rio de Janeiro's most luxurious hotel.

    Col. Edwin L. Sibert (1897-1977) was U.S. Military Attache in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1941. During World War II, he served as chief of intelligence to General Omar Bradley and worked with the Office of Strategic Services. After the war, he became Assistant Director of the CIA. From 1953 until his retirement in 1954, Major General Sibert was Chief of Staff of the Far East Command in Japan. Two photographs of Sibert are included.

    John F. (Jack) Kennedy entered Harvard University in 1936. An expansion of his senior thesis on Britain's lack of preparedness for World War II was published in 1940, the year he graduated, under the title "Why England Slept." This is the book mentioned in this letter. Jack Kennedy "thought that certain parts might hold some interest" for Sibert. He had done much of the research while living in England between semesters. His father, Joseph P. Kennedy, had served as U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain from 1937-1940.

    In the Spring of 1941, Rose Kennedy and her 20-year-old daughter Eunice went on a cruise through the Caribbean and down to Rio de Janeiro. Jack Kennedy decided to fly to Rio, meet his mother and sister, and continue on to Buenos Aires where the Kennedys had friends. Rose and Eunice arrived in Rio on May 21st, later flying to Buenos Aires, where they met up with Jack again and helped him celebrate his 24th birthday on May 29th. Flying on to Santiago, Chile, alone, Jack returned to the United States on July 1st. In October 1941, five months after he wrote this letter, John F. Kennedy was appointed an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve and joined the staff of the Office of Naval Intelligence.

    This letter is in very fine condition with mid-horizontal creases which would be expected on thin, lightweight hotel stationery manufactured for airmail letters. Handwritten letters of John F. Kennedy have always been scarce. This one is a handsome, early, legible example. It would make a superb addition to a presidential or Kennedy collection. From the Gary Grossman Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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