Jul 30, 2020 - Sale 2543

Sale 2543 - Lot 18

Estimate: $ 3,500 - $ 5,000
EDITORIAL ON CHAPPAQUIDDICK: "AN INSULT TO ME . . . AN INSULT TO THE COURTS" KENNEDY, EDWARD M. Three letters Signed, "Edward Kennedy" or "Ted" or "Ted Kennedy," to Washington Evening Star editor Newbold Noyes Jr.: Autograph Letter * Two Typed Letters. The first, ALS, marked "personal & confidential" at upper edge in holograph, expressing shock that an editorial article and cartoon in the Star would suggest that Kennedy's wealth and power had influenced the court decisions relating to the Kopechne family petition [in aftermath of Chappaquiddick incident]. The second, thanking him for his recent editorial concerning "my accident last summer" and remarking that the article was "fair and balanced." The last, expressing appreciation for having received him during the recent meeting with the Star editorial board, and commending his efforts in regard to representation of Washington D.C. [in Congress?]. Together 5 pages, 4to or 8vo, "United States Senate" or personal stationery, written on rectos of separate sheets; horizontal folds. One with the original envelope. Washington, 12 December 1969; 5 May; 21 July 1970

Additional Details

12 December 1969: ". . . I was personally shocked to see the Evening Star editorial and cartoon of December 11 concerning the legal decision on the petition by Mr & Mrs Joseph Kopechne.
"The clear implication . . . was that this decision and previous court decisions in this matter deliberately thwarted justice at each step. The cartoon mocked the very real distress of the Kopechne family at the prospect of an autopsy. The editorial furthermore implied that . . . court decisions . . . have been influenced by the fact that 'one of the principals is both rich and powerful.'
"This implication is not only an insult to me: it is an insult to the courts . . . . If the editors of the Evening Star truly believe that decisions have been based not on the merits but on personality then I am appalled by your cynicism. . . ."
On the night of July 18, 1969, after attending a party on Martha's Vineyard held for a group of people who had worked on Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign, Edward Kennedy drove or skidded off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island with a young woman passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, who died in the accident. Because Kennedy did not report the death immediately, and because he--a married man--had been with the young woman that night, a scandal erupted that derailed his presidential ambitions and continued to color his entire career.