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Jimmy Carter

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Rare presidential note discussing the assassination of President John F. Kennedy:

“This was a sad day for all of us”

James Earl Carter, Jr., 1924–.  39th President of the United States, 1977–1981.  Autograph Note Signed, Jimmy C., one page inside a note card, 4½” x 6⅜”, no place, no date [November 2013].

This is an exceptional item.  Letters and notes in which one President of the United States writes about another one are scarce, and even more so when they are handwritten.  In this one, former President Carter reminisces about one of the 20th Century’s most memorable events:  the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.  As a presidential piece discussing the assassination, this item appears to be rare.

Carter replies to a note by Adelphi University instructor Maureen King Cassidy sending him a copy of her article in U.S. News & World Report entitled 50 Years Later: Where Were You When JFK Was Assassinated?  In the article, Cassidy wrote that she had contacted “many newsmakers and celebrities,” including Carter, “and asked them to share their memories of the day” Kennedy was shot.  Her article compiled their responses. She quoted Carter first:  “I was in my business office in Plains, Georgia, and went out the back to weep,” he said.

This piece is Cassidy’s letter to Carter, in a note card, sending him a copy of the article and soliciting his response.  On the inside of the cover, opposite Cassidy’s letter, Carter writes, in full: “To Maureen: Thanks for your nice article. This was a sad day for all of us—  /  Best wishes,  /  Jimmy C.”

The assassination of the vibrant young President indeed shocked the world.  Some 220 foreign dignitaries from 92 countries, including 19 heads of state and government, attended Kennedy’s funeral in Washington, D.C., on November 25, 1963.

This is worthy of the finest presidential collection despite Carter’s rather self-evident comment.  Apart from the many signed copies of President Gerald R. Ford’s form letter reaffirming his commitment to the Warren Commission’s finding that assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, our research into auction records has found only one other presidential statement about the assassination.  It was not a letter but a signed copy of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s press release of his remarks upon his arrival in Washington, with Kennedy’s casket aboard Air Force One, the night of the assassination. 

This is a beautiful example of Carter’s scarce holograph in extra fine condition.  He has penned and signed this note in jet black rollerball pen.  There is a spot above his note where it appears that Carter scribbled out something else—surely Cassidy did not send the card to Carter with that mark present.  The card itself bears an embossed honeycomb design with a gold foil stamped image of a honey bee on the front.


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