KENNEDY, John F. (1917-1963), President. Autograph letter signed ("Jack"), as Senator, to Dr. Sara M. Jordan, Washington, D. C., [26 October 1955]. 6 pages, 4to, on United States Senate stationery, with original autograph postmarked envelope, marked "Personal".
"A CATHOLIC OR A 'FALLEN AWAY' CATHOLIC" CANNOT BE NOMINATED
A LENGTHY LETTER IN WHICH JFK HANDICAPS THE 1956 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL FIELD OF LBJ, HARRIMAN, KEFAUVER AND OTHERS, AND PREDICTS STEVENSON'S RENOMINATION. "Although I may be wrong," Kennedy writes, "in my opinion [Ohio Governor Frank J.] Lausche will not be nominated. He is either a Catholic or a 'fallen-away' Catholic. Neither can be nominated. His only chance would be if the Southern conservatives who supported Senator Russell last year decided to support him this year. Short of this he will not even be seriously considered." But "with Lyndon Johnson out" because of a heart attack, and with Russell declining to run again, Lausche "might have a chance, but only a chance."
"My guess," Kennedy continues, "is that the three serious contenders are Kefauver, Harriman and Stevenson." He thought Sen. Estes Kefauver and New York Governor Averill Harriman "would be disastrous. That being true and recognizing that he may have disadvantages, I nevertheless believe Stevenson to be infinitely better than the other two-and therefore shall support him." He signs off "I feel excellently!" and then continues his analysis in a lengthy postscript, explaining that "the Democratic Party is a coalition. Labor must have an important voice in a selection of a candidate. They should not have the decisive voice, nor should the South. That being true, you have to get a candidate acceptable to both. I don't think Lausche is, nor is Harriman nor Kefauver. Stevenson is, and therefore will be nominated, in my humble opinion, like it or not, for the same reasons as 1952." The Lahey Clinic, where Dr. Jordan worked, treated JFK for his chronic back problems, dating back to 1940. He had his first back surgery there in July 1944 and received further treatment in 1954. Provenance: Philip D. Sang (sale Sotheby's New York, 31 Oct. 1985, lot 110).