DescriptionJohn F. Kennedy Signed Dallas Morning News Front Page from Morning of November 22, 1963. A truly unique item, this autographed front page from the morning edition of the November 22, 1963 Dallas Morning News is one of the last signatures, if not the last signature, that President John F. Kennedy gave before his tragic death.
On the morning of the 22nd, while on the way to give a breakfast speech before the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce at the Texas Hotel, maid Jan White encountered the President and his Secret Service detail in the hallway and asked him to sign her copy of the newspaper. Kennedy read White's name on her name tag, and inscribed the newspaper "To Jan White, John Kennedy" in blue ink across the image of he and wife Jackie before continuing on to make his remarks and then catch his plane to Dallas. Within hours he was dead, allegedly shot by Lee Harvey Oswald.
Because the Kennedy-Johnson ticket had barely won Texas in 1960 (and had lost in Dallas), the President had traveled to D/FW with three basic goals in mind: to help raise contributions for the Democratic Party presidential campaign fund; to make early campaign steps towards re-election in November 1964; and to end the political infighting occurring within the Texas Democratic Party.
The articles featured on the page detail the political maelstrom that surrounded Kennedy on that fateful trip. The banner headline reads: "Storm of Political Controversy Swirls Around Kennedy on Visit". The accompanying article by reporter Robert E. Baskin details the schism amongst Texas Democrats; and, in an ironic twist, the piece by Carl Freund notes how -- in the wake of protests and leaflet campaigns against JFK's stances on integration and U.S. foreign policy -- former V.P. Richard Nixon (whom Kennedy had defeated in 1960) had urged Dallas residents to give a courteous reception to the President and First Lady.
The two reporters would play their own parts as historic events unfolded. Baskin was riding in a press car in the motorcade just a few cars behind Kennedy's limo when the assassination took place; Freund, initially assigned to cover the President's visit, instead covered events up to and including the trial of Jack Ruby, and was one of the reporters pressed into duty as a pallbearer for Oswald.
Kennedy received a copy of this issue with his morning coffee, and was left dismayed by an ad he found in it, reading "Welcome Mr. Kennedy to Dallas", asking questions about his stance on communism. Kennedy is said to have remarked: "What kind of journalism do you call the Dallas Morning News?".
In actuality, Kennedy was very familiar with the Morning News, and was not at all a fan. In the autumn of 1961, publisher Ted Dealey -- son of George Dealey, whom Dealey Plaza was named after -- lambasted Kennedy at a White House brunch, publicly accusing him of being soft on communism. He told the President that the country needed a "gallant knight on a great steed, and not a guy riding Caroline's tricycle". Kennedy was enraged, and asked Dealey how many readers the DMN had, telling him that when his number of readers reached the number of Kennedy's constituents he would start listening to Dealey's opinions.
Ms. White kept the paper in storage for 45 years, and the page is in Very Fine condition with some mild to moderate toning to the aging paper, with no fading to the newsprint or to Kennedy's large bold signature, and only a few small tears to the left and right edges. The page has been matted and framed along with a color photo of Kennedy, a reproduction of the Seal of the President of the United States, and a small dedication plaque detailing how the signature was obtained, with an overall size of 36" x 36". A fantastic item. With COAs from John Reznikoff and Skip Hensel, as well as authentication from Herman Darvick. Requires third party shipping.
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