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Lot #8188
John F. Kennedy

JFK's beautiful crimson red Harvard cardigan

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Estimate: $35000+
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JFK's beautiful crimson red Harvard cardigan

John F. Kennedy’s crimson red wool cardigan sweater with shawl collar, featuring a large black block-letter “H” for his alma mater, Harvard, knitted into the left breast. A label sewn into the collar is embroidered in red thread with his surname, “Kennedy.” The handsome, classically-styled collegiate sweater features eight brilliant white mother-of-pearl buttons (six along the front and two on the neck), with two sewn-in pockets on the front. The sweater measures 32″ from the shoulder to the bottom, and would fall to the hip. Attractively mounted and framed in a large 34.5 x 40.5 shadowbox display. In fine condition.

Provenance: Lot #409, Documents and Artifacts Relating to the Life and Career of John F. Kennedy, Guernsey’s, March 18-19, 1998. The Guernsey’s catalog documents the history of this piece, which was acquired by CBS cameraman Herman Lang while shooting the network's May 1964 interview of Jacqueline Kennedy: “Being a chilly day in May, Lang remarked to a Kennedy staff member that he was catching a cold. The woman offered Mr. Lang this Harvard sweater to wear while he was filming outside. Apparently everyone laughed at Lang because the sweater was too big for him, but it was only when somebody mentioned that it was the late President’s sweater and that his name was still stitched to the inside of the collar that Mr. Lang felt awkward wearing the cardigan. He decided, however, that ‘it was better than freezing to death.’ After completing his filming outdoors he moved inside the house for Jacqueline Kennedy’s interview. When he attempted to return the sweater to a Kennedy insider he was told that he could keep it as a reminder of the late John F. Kennedy."

In his short Harvard application essay, Kennedy famously concluded: 'To be a 'Harvard man' is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain.' He indeed attained it, graduating cum laude as part of the class of 1940 with a Bachelor of Arts in government, concentrating on international affairs. His thesis, 'Appeasement in Munich,' about British participation in the Munich Agreement, soon became a bestseller under the title Why England Slept. After graduating he briefly enrolled in the politically conservative Stanford Graduate School of Business in the fall of 1941, but soon left in order to join the Navy as part of the American effort in World War II. A magnificent, personal piece representing Kennedy's beloved university.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Presidents
  • Dates: #603 - Ended February 18, 2021