John F. Kennedy & Adlai Stevenson: An Inscribed Presentation Copy from JFK's Personal Library. In February 1956, former Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson was the titular leader of the Democratic Party. He had been the party's unsuccessful presidential nominee against Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, and would again be their standard-bearer (with no better luck) in 1956.

    He presented this compilation of his political speeches to the young Massachusetts senator with a rather enigmatic inscription: "For Jack Kennedy-to an author with the admiration of a politician-Adlai E. Stevenson 2/26/56."
    JFK had taken a leave of absence from the Senate in 1954 to write his best-selling book Profiles in Courage, which would win him a Pulitzer Prize in 1957. Was Stevenson's inscription a sincere compliment? Certainly his self-abasing description of himself as a "politician" is suspect, because he was among the most literate of all presidential candidates and an author in his own right. It was already well known that young Kennedy harbored big political ambitions (as did his father on his behalf), and perhaps, with the Democratic nominating convention just months away, Stevenson was firing a shot across JFK's bow-suggesting that perhaps he should stick to authoring and not tangle with the veteran Stevenson in party politics.

    At any rate, it is a delightful message between two of the leading politicians of the day. After winning the presidency, Kennedy would go on to appoint Adlai Stevenson as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

    This book was purchased by the consignor in the 1995 Sotheby's auction of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis estate, where it sold for $31,050.

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