The David Powers collection of John F. Kennedy's speeches and manuscripts.c.1945-63 Stock Code: 120955
NotesThe David Powers collection of John F. Kennedy's speeches and manuscripts spans the statesman's political career up to the presidency, from his first primary race in the 11th District in 1946 to the eve of nomination as president in the summer of 1960, encompassing three Congressional campaigns, two runs for the Senate, and a bid for the vice presidency.
David Francis Powers (1912-1998) grew up in Charlestown, Mass., the son of Irish immigrants. He served in every one of Kennedy's political campaigns from 1946 to 1960 as one of his most important political operatives. In the White House, as Special Assistant, his duties included preparing briefings and ushering distinguished guests into the Oval office. He was Kennedy's most intimate friend, advisor, and personal "fixer". Kenneth O'Donnell, top aide to both JFK and Lyndon Johnson, once remarked "Outside of Bobby, President Kennedy had one really close friend and that was Dave Powers." Following the assassination (during which he was riding in the following car), Powers remained in the White House until January 1965 when he resigned to assume the post of curator for the planned John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a position he maintained until 1994.
Most of the material in this collection - including reading copies and manuscript drafts - has never been published. Together with related notes and other mementoes kept by Powers, this collection constitutes the largest cache of original JFK documents remaining in private hands.
Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy President of the United States of America (Washington DC, January 20, 1961), printed pamphlet, inscribed by JFK to David Powers: "For Dave from John Kennedy Christmas, 1961";
"Address of the Honorable John F. Kennedy before the Mass. Federation of Labor, Boston, August 4, 1949", manuscript with holograph corrections personally typed by JFK;
"The Challenge Abroad", a large-type reading copy with extensive deletions in both ink and pencil including emendations in JFK's hand, one of his foreign policy speeches (" there is a real possibility in Formosa that the tail in this case will wag the dog - that, in the event of Chiang's attack upon the mainland and a Communist retaliation upon Formosa, we will be dragged into a war - possibly an atomic war, probably a world war ");
"Africa - The Coming Challenge", a large-type reading copy delivered at Wesleyan University with corrections and emendations in JFK's hand, a speech delivered in 1959 anticipating his formation of the Peace Corps;
Six similar typed manuscripts for JFK's political speeches in the late 1940s that Powers believed to be the only copies extant.
The material in this collection does not, perforce, include anything of significance dating after Kennedy's inauguration. Prior to the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, presidential papers and effects were understood to be the private property of the president. The Presidential Libraries Act of 1955 encouraged future presidents to donate their historical materials to the government. This was made mandatory by the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which established that records that document the constitutional, statutory, and ceremonial duties of the President are the property of the United States Government, but Kennedy had already acted in the spirit of the 1955 Act by choosing a plot of land in Boston to house the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Powers honoured that commitment by keeping back for his own collection only material dating prior to the presidency.
The collection was purchased in the 1990s from David Powers by the rare book dealer Maury A. Bromsen (1919-2005). Bromsen sold the archive to a private collector in around 2003.
i) John F. Kennedy Independence Day Oration - Some Elements of the American Character Delivered Before the City Government and Citizens of Boston in Faneuil Hall July 4, 1946. Boston: City of Boston Printing Department, 1946. Printed pamphlet: 24 pp, 8vo, titled paper wraps, bound with blue cord. (" the right of the individual against the State is the keystone of our Constitution. Each man is free. He is free in thought. He is free in expression. He is free in worship. To us, who have been reared in the American tradition, these rights have become part of our very being there are large sections of the world today where these rights are denied as a matter of philosophy and as a matter of government.")
ii) Autograph manuscript, in pencil, 19 pp. (18 ff.), no place, no date, but spring 1947 and likely delivered in Massachusetts. A lengthy draft on the history of labour legislation and the issues surrounding the proposed National Labor Relations Act (Taft-Hartley). With 6 additional pp. of typed transcriptions.
iii) Typed manuscript, 4 pp., 4to, Miami, 19 Dec. 1947, "Freedom Speech - Miami." With 8pp. 8vo pamphlet for "Rededication Rally Commemorating the Arrival of the Freedom Train Bayfront Park Amphitheatre, December 19, 1947 - 7:45 P.M." A short address written for the arrival of the Freedom Train, a travelling exhibition that included the originals of the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. According to Powers, this is the only copy of this speech extant.
iv) Typed manuscript, 9 pp. on onionskin paper, 4to, Boston, 10 Jan. 1948: "Address of the Honorable John F. Kennedy Before the National Guard of Mass. on January 10th, 1948" with numerous corrections and emendations in JFK's hand in both pen and pencil.
v) Typed manuscript, 7 pp., 4to, Cambridge, Mass., 8 Mar. 1949. An untitled address on the function of government in society with 31 holograph corrections in an unknown hand. Together with Typed manuscript, 2 pp., 4to, Cambridge, Mass., 8 Mar. 1949, "Notes by Representative John F. Kennedy" with several pencil holograph corrections likely in the hand of JFK. Also together with a 4pp. 8vo programme for the Harvard Law School Forum meeting at the Rindge Tech Auditorium, Cambridge, Mass., 18 Mar. 1949. An important address delivered during a forum and debate with Norman Thomas, the six-time socialist presidential candidate, and Harvard Business School Professor John Welcher, on the proper place of government in society. JFK argued the middle road between planned socialism and laissez faire economics.
vi) Typed manuscript, 4 pp. on onionskin paper 4to, Boston, 1 June 1949 with several ink and pencil corrections in an unknown hand. Identified by Powers as "Speech Charlestown Navy Yard." A heartfelt address before his constituency concerning efforts to keep the Charlestown Navy Yard in active operation. Powers notes that the speech was personally typed by JFK and this is the only copy extant.
vii) Typed manuscript, 4 pp. 4to, West Harwich, Mass., 18 June 1949 - "Address of Congressman John F. Kennedy Before the Postmasters' Convention at West Harwich, Mass. - June 18, 1949." A short address before the assembled postmasters of the state. Of interest is an optional section at the end to be read - if time permitted - requesting support for legislation regarding air mail. According to Powers, this is the only copy extant.
viii) Typed manuscript, 5 pp., 4to, Boston, August 4, 1949 with 7 holograph corrections with 11 words in JFK's hand, "Address of the Honorable John F. Kennedy Before the Mass. Federation of Labor, Boston, August 4, 1949." A wide-ranging address to labor leaders in the wake of Taft-Hartley. JFK discusses the prospect of tight credit and unemployment. According to Powers, the speech was personally typed by JFK.
ix) Typed manuscript, 5 pp., 4to, Boston, 15 Sept. 1949, no title, with additional Autograph manuscript, on one 4to sheet of JFK's Congressional letterhead, being part of the draft of the typed address. Delivered to the Congress of Industrial Organizations Convention. With additional transcriptions of JFK's corrections to the typescript in the hand of Evelyn Lincoln. An address on several matters important to labor including unemployment, the minimum wage law, and the ramifications of Taft-Hartley. He delivers a warning to labor leaders that they are in danger of losing public support. In particular, he urges the leaders to police their leadership for Communists in an effort to repair their tarnished public image. According to Powers, this is the only copy extant.
x) Typed manuscript, 7 pp., 4to, no place, likely Boston, 26 Oct. 1949 with numerous pencil corrections by JFK including 24 words in his hand: "The Mass. Civic League October 26, 1949." An address on the problems of organizational reform in Congress. According to Powers, this may be the only copy of this in existence.
xi) Typed manuscript, 2 pp., 4to, no place, 21 Nov. 1949 - with several pencil corrections and emendations in JFK's hand on a speech delivered before the "Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation Dinner November 21, 1949." A short introductory set of remarks for the dinner, in which JFK manages to slip in remarks about the expanding role of government in society. According to Powers, the only copy of speech extant.
xii) Autograph manuscript, 2 pp. in pencil (one leaf), 8vo, no place, c.1950. A note discussing inflation, social security, and other matters, likely in preparation for a speech.
xiii) Typed manuscript, 8 pp. on onionskin paper, 4to, Notre Dame, Indiana,29 Jan. 1950. "Commencement Address of the Honorable John F. Kennedy (D. Mass.) at the University of Notre Dame on January 29th, 1950." With a small doodle at top right of first page. JFK spoke at Notre Dame upon receipt of an honorary degree ("Never before in our history has there been a greater need for men of integrity and courage in public service. Never before in our history has there been a greater need for the people to take up willingly the responsibility for free government ")
xiv) Partial typed manuscript, 3 pp. Boston, 22 May 1950 with heavy holograph corrections and emendations by JFK. With additional photocopy of the 2nd page with transcriptions of some of the passages by JFK found on pp. 4 and 5 of the original in the hand of David Powers. A partial draft of a heavily reworked speech for a speech delivered at Commonwealth Pier on National Maritime Day on the history of the merchant marine as well as the need to revitalize the port of Boston.
xv) Typed manuscript, 11 pp. 4to, all typed on the verso of his congressional letterhead, Magnolia, Mass., 25 June 1950, with numerous pencil corrections and emendations in JFK's hand including 56 words: "Address before the Sons of Italy, Magnolia, June 25, 1950." Addressing the Sons of Italy, JFK assesses the post-war political situation in Italy, with a broader discussion on the global struggle against communism. The speech concludes with an early statement on the crisis in Indochina.
xvi) Typed manuscript, 4 pp., 4to, Washington 22 Feb. 1951: "Statement of the Honorable John F. Kennedy (D., Mass.) Before Joint Senate Committees on February 22, 1951, on Senate Resolution 8"; together with photocopy of published remarks. In 1951 JFK made a trip to Europe evaluating the ability of NATO forces to repel a Soviet invasion. He concluded that NATO military strength was insufficient. He argued that the United States needed to send more troops as well as insist on more manpower from the Europeans. His analysis earned him bipartisan support.
xvii) Typed manuscript, 7 pp., Worcester, Mass., 6 Aug. 1951, draft speech to be delivered before the Massachusetts Federation of Labor Convention, with heavy ink holograph corrections in the hand of JFK and approximately 180 words in his hand. With 4 additional leaves bearing handwritten transcriptions of JFK's corrections by Evelyn Lincoln. One of three drafts in this collection of his address before the Labor Convention, this being the third draft. Together with the other two drafts (see next item), they help illuminate JFK's methods in formulating his speeches. In this case, JFK takes two seemingly disparate themes - military strength and inflation - and effectively illustrates how the issues are interrelated.
xviii) Autograph manuscript, 4 pp., 4to, Worcester, Mass., Aug. 1951 together with a Typed manuscript, 7 pp., 4to, Worcester, Mass., 6 Aug. 1951. "Address of the Honorable John F. Kennedy (D., Mass.) Before the Massachusetts Federation of Labor at the Annual Convention in Worcester, August 6, 1951" with numerous corrections and extensive emendations.
xix) Typed manuscript, 1 p. on Ritz-Carlton Boston stationery, 8vo (folded 4to sheet), Boston, November 1951 with Autograph Notes on verso recording bets on various college football games with David Powers and others. JFK's second trip abroad in 1951 was a tour of the Middle East and South East Asia, including India, Indochina, Korea, and Japan. On his return JFK delivered several talks on the subject. A revealing set of notes emphasizing the decline of colonialism and its ramifications for the Cold War.
xx) Typed manuscript, 5 pp., 4to, New Bedford, Mass., 9 Mar. 1952, untitled, with ink and pencil corrections and emendations by JFK. Together with an Autograph manuscript, 3 pp. on JFK's congressional letterhead, 4to, no place, no date, but c. March 1952, bearing figures in preparation for the speech. Also together with a mimeographed copy of the typed speech.
xxi) Autograph manuscript, 10 pp. on yellow lined paper, legal folio Washington, c. June 1953. Together with a Typed manuscript, 1 p., 4to with holograph corrections and emendations. Eventually titled "Mutual Security Act of 1951, as Amended, June 30, 1951." With handwritten transcription in the hand on Evelyn Lincoln. With photocopied proof of his speech as delivered on the Senate floor. An early draft of one of JFK's first major foreign policy speeches on the Senate floor in which he proposed criteria for aid to the French in Indochina.
xxii) Typed manuscript, 7 pp., 4to, Boston, 11 Nov. 1955. "Address by Hon. John F. Kennedy U.S. Senator from Mass. United Cerebral Palsy Sixth Annual Convention Friday evening, November 11, 1955" with numerous ink corrections and emendations by JFK. JFK discusses the need for need for increased cooperation between the public and private sectors in combating significant public health issues.
xxiii) Typed manuscript, 7 pp., 4to, Boston, 16 Feb. 1956. "Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, The National Conference of Christians & Jews, Inc. February 16, 1956 - Boston." With numerous ink and pencil corrections and emendations in JFK's hand. With photocopy of entire speech with additional typed transcriptions of JFK's emendations. JFK addresses an ecumenical conference, stressing the need to avoid exclusion based on religious affiliation. The subject of JFK's Catholicism was being raised as his name began to appear on short lists for the Vice-Presidential nomination.
xxiv) Typed manuscript, 10 pp., 4to, Chicago, 17 Mar. 1956."Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, March 17, 1956, Before the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago." With numerous ink and pencil corrections, underlines and emendations in JFK's hand including an extensive holograph paragraph on the verso of the second page. An inspiring address given on St. Patrick's Day 1956. JFK implores his predominantly Irish audience to look to their own history as an oppressed people in the context of European colonialism in Africa and Asia.
xxv) Typed manuscript, 17 pp., 4to, no place, c. Sept.-Oct. 1958. "The Challenge Abroad", a large-type reading copy with extensive deletions in both ink and pencil including emendations in JFK's hand. Also includes an extensive holograph emendation on the verso of p. 15. One of JFK's foreign policy speeches that he used on numerous occasions between 1958 and 1959. (" there is a real possibility in Formosa that the tail in this case will wag the dog - that, in the event of Chiang's attack upon the mainland and a Communist retaliation upon Formosa, we will be dragged into a war - possibly an atomic war, probably a world war - at a time and place not of our own choosing, in an argument over two islands not essential to our security, and by an action of Chiang Kai-Shek not initiated with our consent.")
xxvi) Typed manuscript, 5 pp., 4to, Swampscott, Mass., 24 Sept. 1958. "Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy (D. Mass.) National Convention of the Emblem Club, New Ocean House, Swampscott, Massachusetts, Wednesday, 24 Sept. 1958, 7:30 P.M." With several underscores and holograph corrections and emendations by JFK. Speech delivered to the women's auxiliary of the Elks club, discussing the history of women in politics.
xxvii) Autograph manuscript, 1 p., 4to, no place, 1 May 1959, but possibly 1958. An untitled set of remarks honouring Gov. Pat Brown of California on verso of a typescript reading copy of another speech discussing the Democrats and their favourable disposition toward business. With typed transcript. A set of brief remarks likely written just before his appearance during a swing through California.
xxviii) Typed manuscript, 12 pp., 4to, Washington, 4 May 1959. "India and China", a large-type reading copy delivered before the "Conference on India and the United States - 1959." Sponsored by the Committee for International Economic Growth at the Mayflower Hotel, Washington. David Powers remarked that the speech was also used during the Wisconsin Primary and delivered at the University of Wisconsin on 24 Mar. 1960.
xxix) Typed manuscript, 12 pp., 4to, Seattle, Washington, 20 June 1959. "The Six Great Challenges of the Sixties", a large-type reading copy with extensive holograph corrections, deletions and emendations by JFK. Another one of JFK's position papers, this encapsulating six problems - or "challenges" - the United States would face in the upcoming decade: population, agriculture, energy and technology, basic living standards, world hunger, and nationalism.
xxx) Typed manuscript, 10 pp., 4to, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 13, 1959. "Africa - The Coming Challenge", a large-type reading copy delivered at Wesleyan University with corrections and emendations in JFK's hand. The verso of p. 10 has ink notes in JFK's hand that have been transcribed by Evelyn Lincoln. JFK makes the case for increased world financial aid to the continent as well as marshalling the intellectual might of the United States to assist the newly-emerging nations of Africa (anticipating his later call for the formation of the Peace Corps).
xxxi) Typed manuscript, 19 pp., 4to, Jamestown, North Dakota, 6 Feb. 1960. "Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy (Dem. -Mass.), Stutsman County Democratic Committee Dinner, Jamestown, North Dakota - Saturday, February 6, 1960." With numerous ink corrections in JFK's hand. Lengthy notes on verso of page 19 not transcribed. JFK on agricultural policy, usually considered his weakest point.
xxxii) Typed manuscript, 17 pp., 4to, Newport, Oregon, 10 Feb. 1960, "Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy (Dem. -Mass.), Democratic Dinner - Newport, Oregon, Wednesday Evening, February 10, 1960." With numerous pen and pencil corrections in JFK's hand. The deleterious effects of high interest rates on the American economy.
xxxiii) Typed manuscript, 13 pp., 4to, Alexandria, Indiana, 7 Apr. 1960. "Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Farm Forum, Alexandria, Indiana, April 7, 1960." Large-type reading copy with several ink lines at margins. Another speech during the primaries on farm issues. According to David Powers, this is likely the only copy extant.
xxxiv) Typed manuscript, 15 pp., 4to, Lafayette, Indiana, 7 Apr. 1960. Title pasted on top of large-type reading copy: "Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy (Dem. -Mass.), Lafayette, Indiana - April 7, 1960, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner." With holograph notes and corrections to text in addition to notes on the verso of pp. 15.
xxxv) Typed manuscript, 9 pp., 4to, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 19 June 1960. Printed title pasted at top of first page, "Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy (Dem. -Mass.), American Legion State Convention, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Sunday Morning, June 19, 1960." Large-type reading copy with several holograph corrections and emendations by JFK. Final page bears lengthy holograph notes also in JFK's hand. Together with a typed transcription of the holograph notes by Evelyn Lincoln. Subtitled "Defense", a detailed critique of the Eisenhower administration's defence policies highlighting the so-called missile gap.
xxxvi) Typed manuscript, 11 pp., 4to, Spring Lake, New Jersey, 22 June 1960. "Remarks of John F. Kennedy (Dem. -Mass.), Essex County Democratic Dinner, Spring Lake, New Jersey, Wednesday, June 22, 1960." With several ink corrections and underlines and extensive holograph notes by JFK on the verso of the last page. With typed transcription of holograph notes by Evelyn Lincoln. Two weeks before the Los Angeles Convention at which he was nominated for President, JFK offers a policy speech on building upon the accomplishments of the New Deal and the Fair Deal.
II Additional Material
xxxvii) Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy President of the United States of America (Washington, January 20, 1961) Printed pamphlet: 8p. 4to with original white cloth slipcase. Inscribed on the front blank flyleaf by JFK to David Powers: "For Dave from John Kennedy Christmas, 1961."
xxxviii) Typed manuscript, 2p. 4to, no place, 29 Mar. 1958. A typed list with several pen and pencil notations in JFK's hand, of Indiana politicians who were to be delegates in the next Democratic National Convention.
xxxix) Autograph notes, in ink with a doodle on the address portion of an 8vo campaign postcard for Norman M. Clapp who was running for Congress in 1958? for the 3rd district.
xl) Autograph note, 1 p., 12mo., no place c. April 1952 to David Powers: "Here are the letters. There must be many more - When will I receive them. How many did we get in all." According to Powers, he received this soon after JFK announced his candidacy for the Senate on 6 Apr. 1952.
xli) Partial autograph note, 1 p., 8vo, no place, c. June 1952 following a dinner at Dave Powers's home soon after he was married on 21 June 1952: "I want you to know how much I enjoyed the dinner Monday night. You were all very nice to me "
xlii) Autograph note, 1 p., 12mo., no place, no date, c.1956, in pencil, a series of notes including: "1. Call Vogue 2. Cancel for this Sunday and move it up to the next Sunday. Check on planes " In April 1956, JFK had published an article in Vogue entitled "Brothers, I Presume".
xliii) Autograph note, 1 p., 8vo on US Senate Memorandum sheet, no place, no date. A series of informal notes listing names and addresses including a "Dr. Nancy B. Cummings 5420 Conn NW " Dr. Cummings was a kidney specialist in the Washington area.
xliv) Autograph note, 1 p., 16mo., no place, no date. Several informal notes by JFK: "Charles Pineveille Co. Dr. Charles Stacey for his complaint either Charles or George " Stacey was a noted orthopaedic surgeon. With typed transcript of notes.
xlv) Autograph note, 2 pp. (both sides of a sheet), 12mo. on personal letterhead, no place, no date. An informal set of notes and doodles: " American Citizen Father Burns Father Burns " On the verso JFK writes the New York address of Paul de Rosiere, a French business executive who, following the Second World War, managed a consortium of French businessmen whom he led on a tour of the US industrial plants to study ways to accelerate French recovery. In 1950 he came to New York and served seven years with Cartier then joining Harry Winston before returning to Paris in 1962.
xlvi) Autograph note, 2 pp., oblong 8vo, no place, no date, but likely before 1952. "Enclosed a sheet which carries several of the changes I have made in the paper you have published. I have not heard from Murphy yet - have you done anything about their care yet? I recd. the stationery. It should last the rest of my life. Do we have any envelopes without the transparent paper - Just standard envelopes "
xlvii) Autograph note, 1 p. on the verso of a blank sheet of his 8vo Congressional letterhead, no place, no date, but c.1946: "Certainly the most experience Democracy in Action Truman - not a bad motto But I have a job to stay in" A testament to JFK's independence as a Congressman and to his ambivalence toward Harry Truman. In 1960 Truman emerged as a major obstacle to JFK's nomination, publicly questioning his youth and Catholicism.
xlviii) Autograph note, 1 p., oblong 12mo., no place, no date, but likely before 1953 according to Powers. An example illustrating the pressures from the deluge of requests and demands that daily flooded a congressman's office. "This fellow has been very nice to me - but I think this request is a out of line - you can answer that you don't know - just so I have the record."
xlix) Autograph note, 1 p., 12mo., no place, no date. Several notes and doodles including "Boston Office Frank", "Ivan Delaney - pay", and "Lou Harris", the noted pollster who worked very closely with JFK's 1960 presidential campaign.
l) Autograph note, 2 pp. (one leaf) 12mo. on a blank receipt from Davies & Son (London) Ltd., n.p., n.d. a series of notes including phone numbers, words include "Dr. Graves", "Sorensen", "Sen. Clark", "Lou Harris's" and doodles on the verso.
li) Autograph note, 1p. 16mo., on his personal stationery, n.p., n.d. in pencil with transcript including "Bill Bennett Federal Public Commission", "Agriculture program", and "Lehamn Economist."
lii) Autograph Note on one trimmed page, oblong 12mo., according to Powers written to Dave to tell "Matty" (an old friend of Dave's, who worked in a Charlestown Irish pub and had recently had a heart attack) "Thank him - tell him to keep up his Courage as he has a lot of friends of which I am one."
liii) Harry S Truman, photograph signed "Harry Truman", 10 x 8 in. of a photo of John Kennedy with Rose Kennedy, Harry Truman, and Margaret Truman. Dated "October 17-18, 1952" on verso, but signed by Truman later in life, and sent to Powers when he was attached to the JFK Library in Waltham, Mass. With original envelope bearing Truman's printed franking signature.
III Related ephemera
liv-lxxii) A collection of 18 items of ephemera and photographs retained by Powers, primarily from the White House years, but including a few earlier pieces. Of interest are two rare cards from JFK's 1946 campaign for the House that bear JFK's likeness and listing David F. Powers of 88 Ferrin Street as the contact. Also includes an old news clipping kept by JFK of a political cartoon featuring his grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald, and his cronies in the midst of a political scandal. Ephemera includes Powers's invitations to JFK's inauguration and related events including the inaugural concert, parade, and luncheon. Also present are Christmas cards from the Kennedys from 1958 and 1959. Other material includes a signed photograph by astronaut John Glenn, large format photographs of John and Jacqueline Kennedy bearing facsimile signatures, and several images of the White House, as well as JFK in the Oval Office.
Together 73 items, autograph and manuscript material as individually described below.
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