From President Kennedy's desk—his personally-owned copy of his Harvard thesis-turned-bestseller, Why England Slept
President John F. Kennedy's personally-owned copy of his book Why England Slept. Later printing. NY: Wilfred Funk, Inc., 1961. Hardcover with dust jacket, 5.75 x 8.5, 252 pages, with a card imprinted in blue with his name and the presidential seal loosely laid in. In fine condition, with light wear to the dust jacket. Accompanied by an original vintage glossy 9 x 7 silver gelatin press photo from January 1962, showing Kennedy at his desk in the White House, with this book seen beside him. Includes a letter of provenance signed by JFK's personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, in part: "This picture was taken of President John F. Kennedy by a photographer to be used in an article to be written by Douglas B. Cornell with the title 'Busy President,' on January 18, 1962. Kennedy is sitting at his desk in the White House looking at a calendar. He was celebrating his first month in office...It will be noted that there is a copy of President Kennedy's book 'Why England Slept' at his elbow, which had just been reprinted by Wilfred Funk, Inc. This copy you now have in your possession."
Provenance: John F. Kennedy: The Robert L. White Collection, Lot 520, Guernsey's, December 2005.
Based on his Harvard thesis, Kennedy's first book examines the years leading up to World War II and the measures taken—or not taken—by England to extinguish the German threat before it developed into world war. First published in 1940, the book sold 80,000 copies in the United Kingdom and the United States and earned $40,000 in royalties. On Kennedy's ascension to the presidency in 1961, the book was reprinted in New York by Wilfred Funk. A fantastic piece, direct from the president's desk.