Someone in California is auctioning off private letters about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Missives from President Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and President Lyndon Johnson, to then-California governor Edmund “Pat” Brown, are among the papers up for auction Monday at Sotheby’s in New York. Bidding starts at $14,000, and the auction house expects the materials to fetch for $20,000-$30,000.
All the items belonged to Brown, father of Jerry Brown, another California governor, according to Sotheby’s. Pat Brown died in 1996.
One message sent to Brown reads, “‘DALLAS AP- President Kennedy was shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy. She cried, "Oh, No!" The motorcade sped on.’ — Associated Press Wire Bulletin, 22 November 1963, 12:39 EST.”
Another letter, from Lyndon Johnson, tells Brown, “Thanks to the support of leaders like you, our system has prevailed through dark and dangerous waters. Let us begin the New Year resolved to forge in this country a deeper sense of unity regardless of political party or persuasion.”
Jerry Brown told Politico, “I’d sure like to know why the seller is claiming anonymity and why these documents aren’t at the UC Berkeley archives with the rest of my father’s papers.”
Sotheby’s declined to disclose the owner of the materials to the press. One of the managers of Brown’s archive at the University of California Berkeley said that the college’s library had never owned these specific papers, and speculated to Politico that a member of Brown’s administration may have saved the materials for their autograph value.