KENNEDY, John F. (1917-1963), President. Inaugural Address of John Fitzgerald Kennedy...Delivered at the Capitol, Washington, D. C., January 20, 1961. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1961. 8o (9 1/8 x 5 7/8 in.), paper wrappers, signed in pencil on upper cover
"ASK NOT...": SIGNED COPY OF THE OFFICIAL EDITION OF KENNEDY'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS. "No Kennedy speech ever underwent so many drafts, Theodore Sorenson recalled. Although the final draft incorporated suggestions from many sources, "the principal architect of the Inaugural Address was John Fitzgerald Kennedy." It is widely regarded as the most important inaugural since Lincoln's Second, delivered from the same portico nearly a century before. "I know of no way to summarize, condense or excerpt the Kennedy Inaugural Address," Sorenson adds, for though Kennedy's words were "addressed to the American people of our time," they "have meaning for all people for all time," and "embody the best of our heritage from the past and the best of our hopes for the future" (Theodore C. Sorenson, Kennedy, New York, 1965, p.245).
Certain key passages are highlighted in bold: "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." "All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin." And, most memorably: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you: Ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of mankind."
SIGNED COPIES OF KENNEDY'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS ARE QUITE RARE. Only 5 examples have appeared at auction in the last 30 years.