Amazing limited edition of the First Lady’s White House guidebook, inscribed by the First Family to their patriarch for Christmas 1962
Signed book: The White House. Limited edition, numbered 1a/75. Washington, DC: The White House Historical Association, 1962. Moroccan leatherbound hardcover, 7.25 x 10.25, 129 pages. Boldly signed and inscribed on the colophon in fountain pen by the president, “To Dad—With love, Jack, Christmas 1962,” and the first lady, “For Grandpa—with adoration, Jackie,” as well as in blue ballpoint by their 5-year-old daughter, “Caroline.” Autographic condition: fine, with very trivial toning to colophon edges. Book condition: VG+/None. Includes a detailed letter of provenance on White House letterhead signed by Evelyn Lincoln, who served as JFK's only personal secretary for 12 years. In part: “I confirm, in writing, any details of my JFK possessions…I served JFK while he was a Congressman, a Senator and while he was the President, as his personal secretary…I…have a rare…red Moroccan leather book which is #1[A] of only 75 and it is numbered '1A.' It was signed by the President, the First Lady and Caroline and was to be presented to JFK's father, for Christmas 1962 (the President's last Christmas present to his father, Joseph P. Kennedy)…I have a number of other JFK personal possessions…all a part of my extremely close connection to the Kennedy family.” Also includes a rare original 4.25 x 5.75 invitation to the wedding of Jacqueline Bouvier and John F. Kennedy at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island, on September 12, 1953, as well as a Kennedy prayer card issued after his assassination.
This is an absolutely stunning example of this extremely rare book, as it is embossed in gilt on the cover, “J.P.K.,” and inscribed to the Kennedy family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., intended as a gift to him for Christmas 1962—which would be President Kennedy's last. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy oversaw the publication of this guide to the Executive Mansion as part of her restoration and preservation of the White House, releasing a softcover version for the general public with the intent of spreading knowledge of the house's historic importance. During their official Christmas party, held on December 12, 1962, President and Mrs. Kennedy presented each member of the Kennedy administration with a stunning present, one of these beautiful red leather-bound copies of the book; this very first one, however, was reserved for President Kennedy's father, and unlike the others inscribed solely by the president and first lady, this one includes the heartwarming signature of their daughter, Caroline Kennedy; John F. Kennedy, Jr., had just turned two, and thus unable to write. As he had suffered a debilitating stroke the previous Christmas, it is possible that Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., would not have been at this party, and that the book was lost amongst the files of the Oval Office until Evelyn Lincoln rediscovered it following the assassination. Between the rarity, intimate family association, and solid provenance from Evelyn Lincoln, this is surely the most desirable example of this book extant and would be a unique, quintessential piece in the finest museum-quality collections.