History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


 
 
 
 
 

 

1132501

Robert F. Kennedy

 

RFK, then Attorney General, signs his account of his 1962 world goodwill tour

Robert Francis Kennedy, 1925-1968.  Attorney General of the United States; United States Senator from New York; assassinated presidential candidate.  First edition of Just Friends and Brave Enemies signed Robert F. Kennedy on the flyleaf.

This book is Kennedy’s account of his 30,000-mile world goodwill tour, with his wife, Ethel, as Attorney General in February 1962—a report, he wrote, “on the kinds of questions that were asked and the kinds of problems that are troubling people in the lands we visited.”  The Kennedys made three major stops:  in Japan, in Indonesia, and in what was then West Berlin, the oasis of freedom in the heart of Communist East Germany.  The dust cover notes that the trip “involved some sharp give-and-take, some useful impressions—andsome thoughts on the responsibilities of freedom.”

The book’s complete title is actually a quotation from Thomas Jefferson’s December 3, 1806, letter to Andrew Jackson:  “We must meet our duty and convince the world that we are just friends and brave enemies.”

This copy has never been offered on the autograph market before.  We understand that Kennedy signed it in person at a bookstore signing event.  The front inside flap of the dust jacket has a sticker from the Savile Book Shop in Washington, D.C. 

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Savile Book Shop is the bookseller from which First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy bought books for President John F. Kennedy.  She mentioned it twice in her recently-released oral history interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.  The President marked books that he wanted in the Sunday New York Times book section, she said, and she would order them from the Savile Book Shop.  See Jacqueline Kennedy:  Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy 44 (Caroline Kennedy intro. & Michael Beschloss annot., 2011).

This is a stated first edition of this book.  The notation “F-M” on the copyright page shows that Harper & Row printed the book in June 1962.  Robert Kennedy has signed it in black on the flyleaf.  The flyleaf has an almost imperceptible toning line, not nearly as pronounced as it appears in the scan below, from where the dust cover has overlaid it.

The book itself is virtually pristine.  The black cloth-covered hardback binding is boldly imprinted in gilt on both the cover and the spine.  The cover bears Kennedy’s facsimile signature.  The book has 16 pages of black-and-white photographs from the tour.  The original color dust cover, with a photograph of Robert and Ethel Kennedy before a throng of people in West Berlin, has not been price clipped.  It shows a bit of soiling and wear, has a crease on the front inside flap, and has a small tear at the top of the spine, but overall it is in very good to fine condition.

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