DescriptionJohn F. Kennedy One of the Most Significant Kennedy Signed Books Ever Offered at Auction. A copy of PT 109 by Robert J. Donovan, inscribed and signed by JFK and additionally signed by all ten surviving PT 109 crew members, the Captain, senior officer, and four crew members of the Japanese submarine which sank Kennedy's boat, as well as the author. Kennedy signed on the half title page: "For Harry Miller, with best regards, John F. Kennedy." Author Donovan has inscribed and signed on the title page.
In a 1981 letter which accompanies this lot, Miller explains how this remarkable assemblage of autographs came together. Miller, a U.S. Marshal, became friends with a fellow Marshal, John, E. Maguire, who had been Kennedy's radio operator. He got Maguire to sign his copy of Donovan's book, and then proceeded to obtain JFK's inscription and signature through another Marshal friend, James J.P. Chance, who had previously served as Kennedy's bodyguard.
At about this time, the Japanese Diet invited the President and all United States and Japanese survivors of the incident to attend a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary. While Kennedy declined, all but two of the American survivors (whose medical problems kept them from coming) attended. One of those was Maguire, who took Miller's book with him and obtained the signatures of all who attended, as well as that of the author who had also made the trip. Miller then traveled to Missouri and New England to obtain the final two signatures.
The book was obtained from a descendant of Harry Miller by a leading rare books dealer, who sold it privately to the consignor. This marks its first appearance in the public marketplace.
The PT 109 incident is one of the most important episodes in John Kennedy's life. It established him as a genuine hero, and was an essential aspect of his public persona throughout his political career-particularly in his first campaign for public office in 1946. This masterful account, adorned with what is without question an utterly unique and unduplicated collection of inscriptions and signatures, makes this one of the most moving and significant Kennedy autographic item available to collectors.
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