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    John F. Kennedy Uncensored Campaign Notes Made While Suffering from Laryngitis. A fantastic group of seventy-eight separate pages, twenty of which are written on both sides, for a total of ninety-eight pages of notes, questions, and comments in Kennedy's hand, circa Spring 1960. Written while Kennedy was campaigning around the country in his presidential bid. Having lost his voice due to a bout of laryngitis, Kennedy opted to write notes to his aides as a form of communication. Written on either a yellow legal pad or blank sheets of paper in blue or black ink and pencil. The notes are informal, sometimes crude, and express the future president's philosophies, campaign plans, and frustrations by asking and answering questions with his staff. There are also a few instances of notes in another unidentified hand.

    Based on context, a number of these notes appear to be from the April & May time period-- after his April 5th victory in the Wisconsin primary (a 56% to 44% win over Hubert Humphrey) through the May 10th West Virginia primary which was of major concern to him. Exact order has likely been somewhat shuffled through the years as other notes appear to be from the summer period. It can be said for certain though that the very last sheet, scrawled on a manila envelope, was written in late October, just before the election, based on the date a particular news story became public.

    Kennedy's notes are often fragmented and jump topics quickly, showcasing some of the speed and processing of his mind during his time on the road. His notes flit from concerns about his polling numbers against his main rivals Hubert Humphrey, Stuart Symington, and Lyndon B. Johnson, with one reading: " My poll u showed /u in W.V. the first showed me 41% - HH 41-43% - rest undecided but the rest all Protestant. The reason I think we shall do well if we get over 40% is VMW will get [illegible] out Byrd is getting meaner...Harry Byrd told me yesterday he's getting all the letters to stop supporting Kennedy."

    Another note tracks his progress in West Virginia, where he writes, " We are 62-38 in South Charleston. If we could carry Kanawha we would win." JFK had an early lead over Humphrey in this major battleground state but that was before potential voters found out he was Catholic. That reversed the lead and Kennedy spent a lot of time and money convincing voters that he believed in the separation of church and state.

    The notes also provide insights into some of Kennedy's more famous appearances. One reads, "I am concerned about tonight's Houston speech." "The press will interview the ministers for reaction. It would be good to have copies of my statement available. I think we try to limit the questions about 10 minutes." The speech he references was a highly important one regarding religion that he made to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960 at the Rice Hotel. While incredibly significant to his campaign, this speech has often been cited as one of his finest.

    Kennedy was not one to shy away from his feelings about his political rivals and combative journalists. Here are just a few examples of notes written about various persons:

    West Virginia Senator Harry Byrd: "Byrd is getting meaner"; "Harry Byrd told me yesterday he's getting all the letters to stop supporting Kennedy."
    Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy: "I talked with Gene McCarthy two days after Wisconsin race that I thought it would be important that the W.V. campaign not be personal but it didn't do any good"; "Gene McCarthy made an hour speech in Conn. & never mentioned us."
    Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey: "HH is going to be bitter on us and we should be ready."; "We should not say he can't win. We should say he can't be nominated."; "The debate idea is stupid but I had to agree. What are we going to debate or disagree about... Hubert will say we are spending a fortune... Perhaps we shouldn't have this before a live audience... HH is pretty good with a crowd and with my voice off we would be better in a studio."
    Syndicated Journalist Doris Fleeson: "I am her 2nd choice. Her first choice is any son of a bitch but her 2nd choice."
    Unknown Subjects: "Did you hear me stick it up Myles ass today."; "He looked like a bastard, that reporter."

    Kennedy also frequently raised the issue of securing the black vote, probing the topic with notes such as "Should I bring in the racial issue" and "I had planned to speak about Civil Rights earlier in the day." Although he cared politically about recent Civil Rights issues, he was not always the most tactful when speaking about black votes, with one note reading, "The war bit helps us in the South but I don't think those Scandinavians care at all." The term "Scandinavian" was used by attorneys and police as a euphemism for blacks.

    The normal wear and tear of campaigning, along with the loss of his voice, clearly wore on the Senator, who frequently voiced his irritations in his notes. Various entries include complaints like, "I am sick of reading"; "There is no sense in giving a speech at a college. My voice can't take it...That is a shitty plan."; and "The debate idea is stupid but I had to agree. What are we going to debate or disagree about... It is a waste of money for NBC etc. to carry it."

    Likely the most interesting page is written on the manila envelope, likely made in late October. It is certainly no secret now that Kennedy was unfaithful in his marriage during his political career. At the time, however, it was only known by a handful of people who would love to use it against him. Kennedy obviously feared it becoming public knowledge. On one side of this page, he was apparently asked about potential vacation plans for after the election. He writes: "If I win maybe Florida or Puerto Rico. If I lose around the world in 180 days." He then laments: "I suppose that if I win my poon [an old naval term for sex] days are over." He then expresses his fear about this becoming public: "I suppose they are going to hit me with something before we are finished." On the verso is another sexual reference: "I got into the blonde[s]." The subject gets changed immediately to politics: "How does he think we will do in Texas. No, I think time is on our side." He then mentions another scandal, involving the story about Nixon's brother receiving a $200,000 loan from Howard Hughes, which was about to become public.

    Campaigning for our nation's highest office is an exhausting marathon requiring amazing stamina. But today it is accomplished mostly on television and social media platforms, not by personal interviews, telephones, letters, and constant speeches. Travel today is in a luxury jet, not in a twin-engine, eighteen-seat Convair plane or by train. It is no wonder that Kennedy suffered from laryngitis and was instructed by his doctor and speech coach not to speak while traveling. A woman by the name of Janet DesRosiers, who had been Joe Kennedy's long-time mistress and personal assistant and who was now traveling on Kennedy's plane, was tasked with making sure that he didn't speak. She kept him supplied with legal pads so he could communicate with those around him and still keep enough of his voice to make speeches and talk to reporters. She acted in this and many other capacities aboard the campaign plane- stewardess, cook, secretary, typist, confidant, masseuse, and as a general personal assistant to the future president.

    Some of the language and content of these notes would certainly have shocked many members of the electorate of that day. Today, not at all. This archive deserves to be prized for the historical treasure it is, as it is highly unlikely that original material offering such an insight into the landmark 1960 election will be offered again.

    Condition: Minor creasing in places. Some areas of soiling throughout. Some pages have torn edges. The ink has bled or smudged in a few places. Minor tearing at a few corners and edges.

    More Information: FULL TRANSCRIPT (Please note that this transcript is not 100% accurate as Kennedy's handwriting is very difficult to read. These notes were hurriedly written and with almost no punctuation. A number of the original pages are viewable above):

    Page 1

    Mostly from Boston

    Byrd wrote a letter this week to a constituent who wrote him he would have an ? in 1964-- saying he would not give in to "vicious pressures" being exerted by Kennedy. It was published.

    Page 2

    My poll showed in W.V. the first showed me 41% - HH 41-43% - rest undecided -but the rest are all Protestant

    The reason I think we shall do well if we get over 40% is

    UMW- if we get word out

    Byrd is getting meaner

    The fundamentalist seeds are getting active (preachers)

    To drag out 56% under these conditions seems optimistic

    He wrote AFS. U around W. Va.

    Harry Byrd told me yesterday he's getting all these letters to stop supporting Kennedy

    Page 3

    Canadian ? prayers

    Texas Tech. Southwest Conference

    ? ? only one

    New frontiers

    $350,000 owned by Kenair Corp (Kennedy Family) I rent it by the mile. Will sell with depreciation at the end of the year

    Page 4

    Pierre - check with speechwriters + see if there are some appropriate things we can say about Nixon and Republican

    Page 5

    50-50 Could you try and get Lyndon's + their schedule. I think they + he should go in Protestant areas

    Mother Ethel Joan

    Page 6

    Is it the schedule pretty well set for them - can you talk with them today about it + Lyndon's schedule. Downstate Ill + Ohio

    We are sending Reddan home today

    Did you see Look. Look Magazine

    Page 7

    What about the girls schedule-Who is doing it?

    Where are they going, which states

    New York is too big

    Don't you think they should go downstate Ill, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma

    Page 8

    You have someone else do it

    What about tonight

    A little of the Shine etc FDR. Etc

    Is "Profiles in Courage a brand

    Page 9

    Protestant chu

    Is the Church of England supported by taxes

    They have no application to events here

    That was a good rally.

    Page 10

    Tell Dave about the racetrack

    Ted: We have to spend some time in Kanawha County. South Charleston

    It will be a long night

    Tell him about FDR Jr. What are you guessing tonight? {in another hand, in pen} 60/40

    Page 10A


    That must be a ?

    Does the mayor know what he should say at the beginning

    Page 11

    Let's confirm schedule today

    Perhaps we should have Teddy make speech tonight- I will just shake hands

    Page 11A

    {}{in a different hand} 8 PM AM 7-pass Salinger. SF to Spokane 3 hours 5-6 hrs 10 days 10,000. SF 1st June. LA Chicago Denver Salt Lk Minneapolis.

    2 1/2 doz. 2 quarts orange juice. Cantaloupe. 3 bread. 1 lb butter. instant coffee. 2 lb bacon. strawberry jam

    Page 12

    We are 62-38 in South Charleston

    If we could carry Kanawha we would win

    Page 12A

    HH 43

    JK 41

    Unknown 16

    Page 13


    to Bobby - concentrates intense perhaps ? over 6

    Page 13A

    I don't know. I saw him briefly last night


    Page 14

    What do think would be appropriate

    I think the Dem. Leader should study in NH Wisc. Mass + Pa. votes with care

    In Pa - Sy. + Johnson day

    I have not been to Pa - for sure to this year nor have I had anyone up there as I did not want to irritate the ?

    Page 14A

    {}{different hand, in pencil} 2 good workers for autograph

    Bill Lloyd

    Page 15

    Call Ken tonight

    Don't publish the excuse unless you have to

    And tell

    I don't know which is better

    Call + if it is not too late - put us both in a studio. if they need an excuse tell them my voice is too bad

    Page 15A

    I think N.Y. is trying to look fairer fairer to the Dem

    What are they doing about the glass workers

    What about the vets

    Is Jack Steele off of us

    Have you seen the evidence

    He doesn't have the critical faculty

    We should have the General and Admiral standing by

    HH is going to be bitter on us and we should be ready

    Page 16

    The answer is yes

    The answer is no

    Page 16A

    What was Symington's vote in Pa + Mass

    Does it need it

    Page 17

    John Bailey - better leave

    Dick Goodin - Collect HH attaches + ? ends

    Physically but not mentally

    Put 'Please Vote for Me

    Is he getting better.

    Page 17A

    As you get closer the resistance builds - all the politicians Lippman, Doris etc.

    I do not see the column of Lippmann on me. What did he say

    Lippmann does

    Doris is for Hu. I think on account of Dan Kimball who is committed. I am her second choice. Her first choice is any son of a bitch but me her second choice

    Page 18

    Don Wilson says he couldn't find anybody for us in Logan

    How long

    Draft up a letter for ? - read it to me then let's see if we can phone him tonight

    Page 18A

    You ?

    And he would to

    I'd like to give her a hello

    Page 19

    When shall we be back here--

    Is the dinner here

    How long the rest.

    I want to use the inhalator

    Will you be at the hotel-- I want my neck rubbed

    Page 19A

    Bill Walton. When $64,000

    Anti - Catholics

    Pierre tell Teddy about the sheep first + the pig



    Chicken chow

    Chicken Chow mein


    The debate will be everything

    Page 20

    Did you hear me stick it up Myles ass today?


    If HH loses Tues in D.C. we will win.

    If they have made other arrangements my voice is a good excuse

    They can say I have had to cancel Monday Tuesday schedule

    Page 20A

    Are the ads good

    We should not say he can't win. We should say he can't be nominated

    HH said in D.C. this week- he hoped to go to the convention + do something about the platform with 200 delegates. We need more than that

    Page 21

    Marshall has a bug against Welsh - McKinney that ? his judgment with question.

    Page 21A

    It does not yet seem too bad but there are some indications ? he ? ? from ?

    If Alleghany

    Page 22

    In addition he knows he will do badly. My guess is Johnson - Symington + Hump will all issue that kind of statements - the odds are

    I talked with Gene McCarthy two days after Wisconsin said that I thought it would be important that the W.V. campaign not be personal but it didn't do any good

    My guess is that he will issue a statement saying he will not campaign against Morse. I think that was the deal for Morse not going with Wisconsin

    Page 22A

    The debate idea is stupid but I had to agree. What are we going to debate or disagree about

    75,000 send January 1st

    As it is national he will careful - It is a waste of money for NBC etc to carry it

    That is why I don't understand why he is so mean in his statements

    Page 23

    Does he cut them up. Not us we haven't done a thing in Logan

    Get Pierre - HH had $2500 down there

    Lt. Gov. {Kennedy draws a briefcase underneath this}

    He reportedly $60.000 in wire

    42% if we get the breaks

    Where - who is

    Page 23A

    Call them when we get in and tell them my voice is so bad

    Hubert will say we are spending a fortune


    Perhaps we shouldn't have this before a live audience. HH is pretty good with a crowd and with my voice off we would be better in a studio

    Page 24

    Would you write out the name of the Mass man in the Alamo

    {}{in a different hand} William Lynn W. H. Lynn - Boyr Mass

    Esparza + other Latin Texans WHO DIED IN THE ALAMO

    183 men died in the Alamo led by Wm Travis Davy Crockett James Bowie

    Page 25

    And the Star says we are guilty of "dirty politics"

    Show it to Mayo

    I would like to get Liddy Sharky Buckley etc to hide go after ? ? 12th in U. S.

    Page 26

    No - he

    Who is coming with us

    The war bit helps us in the South but I don't think those Scandinavians care at all

    Page 27

    Chandes re: - I am

    If Welsh wins the convention, will it be possible to put enough influence on him not to follow the McKinney Symington line

    In other words, can we get Lake County, etc to make this the price of candidacy support at the convention and in the Fall

    Page 28

    Write these out for me

    When we were investigating the Teamsters money in McKinney's bank we dug up $10,000 contribution he made to the Republican governor in 1956

    Page 29

    How important is the theme of the Democratic Party-- Wilson. FDR. Truman tradition

    We just finished a poll 50-50

    Page 30

    Have you done it?

    I am sick of reading

    They must be keeping Dick

    I think Shannon's article in the Post made them think that


    Page 30A

    Had HH his opponent will then get overwhelmingly defeated by Nixon


    Should vote for Dem that can win

    Friday? After 1/2 Wed. it seems too soon

    I had a rolled up ?


    Vote for Dem. who can win

    Page 31

    Lawrence will print it but he needs a hook-I am afraid I'd end up being hurt

    I don They wouldn't carry it

    No one pay attention to this


    Do you have that sheets

    I came in with

    Is FDR Jr there tonight

    I should confine my remarks 2 mins...stop

    The best thing would be some Veterans group there. I have to be extremely careful however as so many people want to stick it to me

    Page 31A

    There is no sense in giving a speech at a college

    My voice can't take it

    When does FDR Jr arrive

    They haven't had a good one for two months

    That is a shitty plan

    How does this suit look

    Page 32

    No we need to promote her more

    She is ?

    Pat Nixon is away - Jackie is here

    Jackie will be at the Cape. There won't be much to do.

    Page 33

    Al: I don't think there is anything that can be done at this stage

    Too Ivy League

    Page 33A

    You had better let them

    It is better to try LA & Cal.

    There is nothing to be done now- here at this point

    Page 34

    I am exhausted my voice is about to go completely

    Page 35

    Any dough you could raise would be the best thing

    Someone should get in touch with her & find out what she is doing

    What does she do


    Does Steve know about our headquarters there at the Ambassador

    Page 35A

    Should tie up 15 minutes

    Sunday night

    Elmer ? funeral

    We can see how we do tomorrow night?

    How long

    Religion - in case Ministers bash the crap out of me

    Page 36

    Tell him he gets a lot of staff but don't know whether to ? it in due to his intense animosity in LA

    Tell him he did inestimable damage among Jews to us

    Page 37

    Which Committee Mass

    I should think this stuff would be good for Drew

    Page 38

    This will never work

    It didn't work for me alone when I did it for them. I don't recall that we got one good picture

    Page 39

    This is little shitty ? time

    Where do you go now? To Charleston? or to McDonnell or with me

    Where is Underwood

    Do we have any releases

    I would rather be attending a meeting. Perhaps I could go if Lee decided on Sunday evening to Nebraska even though they don't have the dinner

    Who took it?

    What is the temp

    Page 39A

    It is too late now

    I am not sure about Nebraska. I don't like having it in the papers that we left when LBJ etc came into the state

    Afternoon of 21st

    I don't think I should go to Hawaii I should come back here and have a press conference after Oregon

    Page 40

    Will Jimmy come back

    Who will be. McClellan he must remind me

    I will only if I am doing fine other ? downstairs

    Page 41

    I hear he is ready to endorse Nixon-- Nixon has been asked.

    Who says not to go

    It's a big union-- but they don't deliver?

    Page 42

    He will press me in ? and the 20 others will want it

    The Repubs are really the ? ?

    Battle lines and Senate

    Page 43

    Have you talked to Lyndon about ?

    Did you see those Teamsters today.

    McClellan should level the ?

    Why. What hearing is it

    Page 44

    Scoop - someone should sit down and work out Estes schedule

    Who wrote this shit

    Page 45

    If we can get an endorsement or something similar it might be worth it. They are Protestant and Masonic

    Page 46

    I should make a 15 minute film picture end of October on religion for TV for the end of campaign

    1. Advance man Kansas person

    2. Women - represent in terms of traveling companion

    3. Women - meeting with press etc pictures for each paper with her etc

    Kansas City won't advance

    Page 47

    Is it going to be national

    We should discourage it it will be a bore

    The mayor starts off introduces me

    Not I say something after mayor opens

    West Va is the key tits

    Page 48

    How is Terry doing

    How did the Houston stuff go

    I think things are picking up lately

    Page 49



    Didn't Andrew Jackson come from NC?

    Page 50

    I thought I would attack the Republicans anti-progress- but not Nixon personally

    How does NC send Jordan and Ervin to the Senate and Barden etc to the House?

    Page 51

    Imagine if Adlai had gotten there write in

    what Doris etc would be writing

    That man writes of Stu's and job we

    Page 52

    I am concerned about tonights Houston speech

    Page 52B

    {}{separate half-page}

    I must say he has

    You read speeches much better than I do. Your pace is good

    Page 53

    The sermon says we believe in unification of church and state

    Rev. ? ? 1947

    Page 54

    Bill Donovan - ? ?

    What about other counties


    12 printed out

    Page 55

    Can anyone say that there are ? ????

    When Cuba

    had in

    Page 56

    Does Dave

    I'll give you this as I think I have copy on the plane


    Page 57

    After that it gets mean

    I was asked about it in San Antonio

    Perhaps we should write something out and then they cannot screw it up. He looked like a bastard that reporter

    Page 58

    The press will interview the ministers for reaction

    It would be good to have copies of my statement available

    I think we try to limit the questions about 10 minutes

    Page 59

    Bobby was chin down- was because the anti-Johnson group was really pouring it on us

    Therefore, it was an extremely difficult day because all of our best supporters were the most hostile

    Page 60

    Did you read

    So that I do not mislead I will first say that I was informed personally and through Bobby that if I took Johnson I would Michigan NY Calif and the reason

    Page 61

    Make that I am keeping it alive

    Page 62

    Our friends the debaters were with us this afternoon & challenged me again

    Page 63

    {}{in a different hand}

    Portland Oregon arrive at 9 AM May 1960

    What ?

    When we get in lets first go to some hotel for a bath etc. We do not need to spend 1 1/2 hours at reception

    Page 64

    What do they want for ?

    I think they should go to North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, downstate Ill

    Gene McCarthy made an hour speech in Conn and never mentioned us

    One egg tea and honey

    Page 65

    I think his stuff the last 2 days belting the Republicans is has been good

    I think our Texas trip gave him heart

    Page 66

    I am going to say 'Catholics in America and Baptists in Spain'

    I had planned to speak about Civil Rights earlier in the day

    Page 67

    Will Sanford win

    Is medical care for a ? tied to Social Security much of an issue

    Page 68

    We are going to have a questions period afterwards and I would prefer to bring in the religious matter that way. I am sensitive to the charge that the Republicans will

    Page 69

    I think the really tough question is whether wo what I say on the previous Papal statements on church and state ?

    Have you got our W.V. statement by Protestant clergy

    Page 70

    Jake more Dave. Etc

    He has all the old hacks and conservative businessmen + Gibbons. he's from ?

    the They are all Truman

    Page 71

    Is Joe Kraft here

    George ? =

    2 I hope

    Dem party - Roosevelt

    I need a speech writer with us

    her new starts

    Wilson ?

    Page 72

    Furadanties [ ] during the mayor James read about the [ ]

    Why did I find [ ]

    Look to the [ ]

    Page 73

    Do you think we should campaign here or should we spend the day in W. V.

    What about his writers

    Why don't we send Mother


    What about spending the Monday before election?

    Page 74

    Did you hear he told me he would endorse me. He did not tell me this in Indiana

    If I do well from now on- Indiana- Maryland- Oregon- and reasonably well in W. V. and in Gallup polls I think I will get a solid vote in Calif but we all

    Above 40%

    Page 75

    {}{interesting doodles}

    ? ? Joe Carson

    1. regulation


    I think I had a cold in addition I was shouting more

    Page 76

    3 million - ?

    rising tide




    Do you think I should introduce it. Would that be regarded as being overly defensive

    Page 77

    So what places are we scheduled. Should I bring in the racial issue


    Is this the Bowles letter

    Page 78

    {}{written on a large clasp envelope}

    If I win maybe Florida or Puerto Rico

    If I lose around the world in 180 days

    I suppose if I win my poon days are over

    I suppose they are going to hit me with something before we are finished

    Page 78A

    They must have gotten scared off

    I got into the blondes

    How does he think we will do in Texas

    No I think time is on our side

    Sunday the St. Louis Post Dispatch is breaking a story that Nixon's mother got a $200,000 mortgage in 1956 on a piece of property assessed for $25,000 from Howard Hughes

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