Apr 07, 2022 - Sale 2600

Sale 2600 - Lot 200

Price Realized: $ 625
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(PRESIDENTS.) Pair of yearbooks from the Choate School featuring student John F. Kennedy. Heavily illustrated. 295, 45; 292, 48 pages. Volumes XXXV and XXXVI of "The Brief." 4to, full morocco gilt, first volume worn with tape repair, second volume tastefully rebacked and restored with original endpapers retained; a bit musty, minor dampstaining and edge wear to endpapers in second volume; signed on endpapers by a classmate. Wallingford, CT, 1934 and 1935

Additional Details

The 1934 yearbook from Kennedy's junior year gives his name on pages 113 and 286, and he probably appears somewhere in the class picture on page 114. He is also listed as an associate editor of the yearbook on page 119, and appears in the yearbook staff's group shot on the facing page. Kennedy's brother Joseph Jr., who had graduated from Choate in 1933, is mentioned for winning a Harvard football trophy on page 257.

The 1935 yearbook features Kennedy's senior portrait on page 76. It gives his nicknames as "Jack" and "Ken", lists his participation in several sports and as general manager of the yearbook, and notes Harvard as his next destination. In the "Class Votes" on page 107, Kennedy was not listed as "Most Respected" or "Most Influential" or "Best Looking"--but he won "Most Likely to Succeed" by a landslide. He also appears on pages 116 and 117 featuring the yearbook staff, including a group photograph where he is seated in the front row. His name appears on pages 49 and 283, and he may be in the class group portrait on page 50. Kennedy's roommate and lifelong friend Kirk "Lem" Billings appears on page 52 (and voted "best natured" and "quietest" on page 107). A candid shot of Billings and Kennedy playing in a snowdrift on page 268 is titled "Leem" and "Rat Face"--a nickname Kennedy was apparently comfortable with, as he served on the yearbook staff.

Also shown in both volumes is headmaster George St. John, who is said to have delivered sermons to the students urging them to ask "not what Choate does for you, but what you can do for Choate." This may have influenced Kennedy's most famous bit of oratory in 1961: "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country."