ALS signed "Jack (Swigert)," two pages, 6.25 x 9.25, March 1, 1962. Letter to actress Dolores Hart, best known for giving Elvis Presley his first on-screen kiss, in part: "With nothing but a studio address and the haunting question of how many people read this before-and if-it ever gets to you, writing under these circumstances does put one under a bit of a handicap. In such a situation, how would you write an introductory type of letter-especially if you were trying to keep from being grouped into the fan category. Well, being a go-for-broke type-and to keep you from being totally in the dark as to who wields the pen on this end: average looking son of a Denver doctor, engineer but studying for an MBA at nite, [sic] interests besides flying are many sports, bridge, good music and some stimulating correspondence from someone who seems to have a clear head and some good thoughts. Perhaps it's part of the test pilot that the untried or seemingly bold comes natural. But how many opportunities lost and little progress if we let the chances slip by. Now all that remains is to see if there is a bit of the 'test pilot' in you too!" In very good to fine condition, with staple holes and light irregular toning. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope, addressed in his own hand; a later notation on the envelope flap, presumably by Hart, reads, "Now in astronaut training, '66." At the time of writing, Swigert was working as an engineering test pilot for Pratt & Whitney; he applied to NASA for astronaut selection in 1962 and 1963, but was rejected both times. It was not until 1966 that he was successful, being selected for NASA Astronaut Group 5. This extraordinary letter is the earliest we have ever seen and offers an intimate glimpse into the bold personality of the future astronaut—who, ironically, was the first American bachelor astronaut to fly in space.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.