WARMLY INSCRIBED BY JOHN KENNEDY
(KENNEDY, John F.) WOLFF, Perry. A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1962. Quarto, original half blue cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box. $15,000.
First edition, presentation copy, of this companion book to Jackie Kennedy's 1962 televised White House tour, warmly inscribed: "For Mildred Levy—with warm personal regards. John Kennedy."
As First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was wildly popular for her fashion and decorating sense. She undertook the task of having the White House restored and redecorated and bestowed with the stature it deserved as an architectural work. Her endeavors, and their results, were preserved for posterity by a documentary film crew led by Perry "Skee" Wolff. "On the night of 14 February 1962 three out of four television viewers tuned to CBS or NBC to watch A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Four nights later, ABC rebroadcast the program to a sizable national audience before it then moved on to syndication in more than fifty countries around the globe. In all, it was estimated that hundreds of millions of people saw the program, making it the most widely viewed documentary during the genre's so called golden age" (Museum of Broadcast Communications). The glamour and majesty demonstrated in projects such as these were important in the later description of the Kennedy White House years as "Camelot." This text was created to expand upon the broadcast, and is richly illustrated with black & white and color photographs of the White House and its occupants through the years. The recipient of this copy, Mildred Levy, was a dry goods heiress and the inheritor of one of Reno's most famous homes, a Classic Revival mansion now owned by the Nevada Museum of Art and leased to a bookstore and occasional arts salon. This copy contains a laid-in typed signed owner presentation letter confirming provenance. Typed on Washington Post memo letterhead and dated "January 15, 1963," the letter reads: "To Reno's Most Ravishing. From Unna Eyetems. Re: Travailing for Tinker. This a VERY belated Christmas present. It was meant to be on time and carried personally to the West Coast in the hands of Nephew William. But— I took it into Pierre Salinger and told him to write: 'Bill and Warren tell me 121 California is a nice house too.' Oh no. 'What do you want just my signature for?' quoth Pierre. 'I'll take it into HIM.' Well, I didn't think you'd mind, particularly since Pierre promised he would have it back for me by the end of the day. Hah. The next day they went to Nassau, HIM and Macmillan, and Pierre. AND the book. It was to come back by the courier plane. It didn't. Then to Palm Beach, with HIM and HER. I phoned the White House again. it was in good hands, I was assured, but they would phone down personally by the direct wire to be sure it was attended to. It wasn't. Then HE came back from Palm Springs, I mean Beach, went to Glen Ora, came back and delivered his State of the Union and then, with just a moment left yesterday after returning from Congress, signed this ABSOLUTELY ILLEGIBLE signature. Anyway, I love you. And maybe HE does too. [signed] Unna."
Book very nearly fine with small finger-smudge to inscription page, price-clipped dust jacket with light wear to extremities. A near-fine inscribed copy. Rare.