While out on a book hunt earlier this week, I happened upon a fabulous little book on JFK published in 1961. The book is titled “John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Youngest President” and was written by Edward R. Sammis. While books and ephemera from Kennedy’s run for presidency and his first year in office are not unusual, it was a great find in my opinion. As a collector, one of the best things about the book-hunt is the joy of finding something that I have never seen before. I have dealt in Kennedy books for nearly a decade and I have never actually had this one in my collection. My investment price of 50 cents has already paid off as I now know what a cool little publication this really is. After returning home with my discovery, I couldn’t help but think about what it takes to get my “book buy” fix. As this scenario illustrates, the “fix” is not in locating a book of significant monetary value, it is located a book that strikes us on a personal level. Unlike other obsessions, the buy-in is all over the map. My single purchase record is significantly higher, but 50 cents is all you need on rare occasion.
When it comes to Kennedy, always keep your eyes peeled for ‘Profiles in Courage’
‘Profiles in Courage’ was published by Harper and Brothers in 1956. This was a breakout book for then Senator Kennedy and is most certainly the one that Presidential book collectors MUST have. The book won the Pulitzer in 1957 and holds a special place in the hearts of anyone from Leiper’s Fork (the village where our shop is) as one of the eight United States Senators detailed by Kennedy in the book is Thomas Hart Benton. The remains of Benton’s Tennessee home are less than a quarter mile from our shop and the town actually used to bear the name Bentontown. ‘Profiles in Courage’ essentially lays out Kennedy’s thoughts on courage in the United States Senate and was his personal homage to eight men who he felt put their beliefs to the ultimate test without regard to politics or political affiliation. We handed out copies of the Jefferson Bible to incoming Congressmen until the mid 1950’s (as detailed in an earlier blog), but maybe we should be handing out Profile in Courage these days…
How to identify the First Edition, First Printing of ‘Profiles in Courage’:
TITLE: Profiles in Courage
PUBLISHER: Harper and Brothers
*ISSUED IN A DUST JACKET WITH AN ORIGINAL PRICE OF $3.50 ON THE INSIDE FRONT FLAP OF THE DJ.
*COPYRIGHT PAGE MUST STATE “FIRST EDITION” AND BEAR THE LETTER CODE “M-E”.
NOTE: Copies of this book can be found out there on demand, but condition is key.
By Mike Cotter, Director of Operations