John F. Kennedy’s Pen Used to Sign the 1961 Peace Corps Act

21 Oct

Presidential Lucite and black plastic Esterbrook fountain pen measuring 6” long, with “The President—The White House,” printed on the clear portion of the pen. Pen comes with its original cardboard box which is labeled in blue ink, “Humphry” [sic], along with “HR7500 87293 P.L.,” the identification numbers assigned to the bill and law, all most likely done in a White House employee’s hand. Pen was originally housed in the collection of William H. Perkins, Jr. Perkins served on Presidential Inaugural Committees in 1961, 1965, 1969, and 1973. He was a lifelong lobbyist, first for Continental Casualty where he arranged the insurance coverage for President Kennedy’s inauguration. In 1964, he was appointed by President Johnson as a member of the National Armed Forces Museum Advisory Board of the Smithsonian Institution; he was reappointed by Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.

Also included is a TLS, signed as president, one page, 6.5 x 8.5, White House letterhead, April 23, 1962. Letter to Rt. Rev. Msgr. William J. Murphy of Saint Joseph’s Church reads, in full: “It gives me great pleasure to send hearty greetings to you and through you to the members of Saint Joseph’s Church as you celebrate the centennial of its founding. I note that by a happy coincidence this, also, marks the 40th anniversary of your ordination. In sending best wishes to the congregation and to you, may I express the hope that all the fine things accomplished during the past may be but a forerunner of nobler achievements in the future.” Both the pen and letter are nicely cloth-matted and framed with a portrait of Kennedy to an overall size of 25.25 x 20. In fine condition. After first introducing the bill to create the Peace Corps in 1957, Humphrey played a key role in pushing Kennedy’s bill through the Senate; this pen is an exceptional token of appreciation from the president for his persistence. RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in John F. Kennedy


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