Lot 12: John F. Kennedy 1956 Signed 'Knight of Columbus' Program
8th November 2017
Page removed from a program for the 78th anniversary of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh at which Kennedy was a keynote speaker, circa 1956, one page, 6 x 9, signed below Kennedy's image in blue ballpoint, "John Kennedy." The page is headed, "Why I Am A Knight Of Columbus," and lists twelve reasons for membership, focusing on aspects of the Catholic community and the spiritual, mental, and physical growth that membership offers. The page also features an image of the late Rev. Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. In fine condition, with uniform toning and a repaired tear to the right edge. Accompanied by a full letter of authenticity from JSA. Kennedy's Catholic faith was the subject of much discussion and controversy during both his senatorial and presidential campaigns, and signed items related to his religion are quite scarce. Kennedy was not shy about his faith—as seen with this Knights of Columbus pledge—even though such an endorsement could have been detrimental to his presidential candidacy. He may not have been elected if this Knights of Columbus endorsement had gotten out. Even in 1956 Kennedy certainly had an eye toward the White House, and pockets of voters were vehemently anti-Catholic. He overcame this rather mainstream prejudice by steadfastly supporting the separation of church and state, and proved his national appeal when he won the West Virginia Democratic primary in 1960. Nevertheless, Kennedy remains America's lone Catholic president.
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