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Lot # 1732 (1732 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

1960 John F. Kennedy Signed Letter Regarding Civil Rights Platform - PSA/DNA

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $5,700

Extraordinary one-page typed letter, dated July 27, 1960, and written on official "United States Senate" letterhead, signed by John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), thirty-fifth President of the United States. In his letter, Kennedy writes to Willis Robertson, a Democratic senator from Virginia, regarding Robertson's support in the upcoming presidential election (Kennedy, who was in his second term as a Senator, had just recently received the Democratic Party's nomination for President). Kennedy's letter is actually in reply to a letter sent by Robertson a week earlier, on July 19, 1960, a carbon copy of which accompanies. In Robertson's letter, he congratulates Kennedy on his nomination and offers him his support. However, Robertson warns him that he cannot "endorse and support the civil rights plank that was written into our Party platform over the protests of the delegates from Virginia and other Southern states. I am sure that you understand my position on that issue. . . ." In his reply, Kennedy deftly handles the matter. In full:

Dear Willis: I understand the problem the platform presents to you. I do hope it will be possible for us to work together in the fall, and I look forward to seeing you after the 8th of next month. With every good wish. Sincerely, John Kennedy [signed]. Below his signature Kennedy has added the following handwritten postscript: Thank you for your frank letter. I do hope we can carry Virginia, and your help would be invaluable. Both the signature and postscript have been executed in blue ink and grade "9/10"

This correspondence provides rare and remarkable insight into the intraparty discord Kennedy would have to navigate regarding the most pressing political issue of the period. The letter (8 x 10.5 inches) displays two horizontal folds and three separate staple holes in the upper left corner. In Excellent condition overall. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $5,700

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