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Lot #99
John F. Kennedy Final Sailboat Sketch

Daydreaming of his time on the water, President Kennedy draws his final sailboat sketch the day before he heads to Dallas

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Daydreaming of his time on the water, President Kennedy draws his final sailboat sketch the day before he heads to Dallas

Original vintage pencil sketch of a sailboat, drawn by Kennedy on an off-white 4 x 6 sheet of Rice Hotel stationery. Includes a typed note signed by Evelyn Lincoln, in full: “President John F. Kennedy arrived at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas at 5:00 p.m. on November 21, 1963, where he stayed for 3 1/2 hours. He left the Rice Hotel to go to the Coliseum to attend Congressman Albert Thomas’s dinner. Later that evening he went to the Texas Hotel in Fort Worth where he stayed over night.” Both the sketch and note are affixed at the top to foam-core mounts of the same size. In fine condition. Originates from the Robert L. White collection and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Erik L. Dorr, curator of the Gettysburg Museum of History. Published in Cabinet Magazine’s 2006 book Presidential Doodles. Provenance: Guernsey’s, 2005.

The most prolific doodler of all US presidents, Kennedy was known to cover entire sheets of paper with stacked boxes, repeated words, and small drawings—most frequently of sailboats. From 1952 until his death, Evelyn Lincoln accumulated and catalogued countless pages, including this: the final doodle of his life. Looking at this sketch, which reminds us of Kennedy’s own beloved sloop, the Victura, it is easy to imagine the president at the historic Rice Hotel, where he dined and attended a meeting, with his pad in hand, dreaming of the peace and freedom of the open ocean. In the summer of 1964, in the wake of the assassination, a collection of his doodles went on a memorial tour of twenty-three cities, after which they were returned to Evelyn Lincoln or prepared for the Kennedy Library, where a photocopy of this original piece remains. Considered one of his most charming sailboat doodles and the most historically significant, due to its November 21st date, this is one of the most desirable pieces of Kennedy memorabilia available. RR Auction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Rare Manuscript, Document & Autograph
  • Dates: #418 - Ended November 13, 2013