John F. Kennedy Pen Used to Sign the 1963 Child and Mental Health Bill

29 Oct

Fountain pen used by President Kennedy to sign the Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation Planning Bill. Presidential Lucite and black plastic Esterbrook fountain pen measures 6″ long has “The President—The White House,” printed on the clear portion of the pen, and still retains some ink on the nib. Pen comes with a cardboard box which is labeled in an unknown hand, “1576,” This pen was used by Kennedy in the Cabinet Room of the White House at a bill signing ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on October 24, 1963. One of several pens used that day to sign the bill, this pen was presented to Mr. John G. Fettinger, president of the National Association for Retarded Children. Pen is accompanied by a second-generation photo from the bill signing ceremony, with the president handing one of the pens to his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, with Fettinger, his wife, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and others in the background. Also included is a photocopy of Fettinger’s official White House invitation to the bill signing, several other photos of Kennedy speaking on the subject, with Fettinger seated by his side, and invitations to the 1963 and 1964 Annual International Awards for outstanding achievement in research, service, and leadership in mental retardation; and a program from the 1961 awards event. According to the JFK Library, this was the second or third to last bill-signing ceremony of Kennedy’s presidency, and one which was no doubt very close to his heart as mental handicap research and treatment were a personal issue for the family due in part to his sister Rosemary’s affliction. RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in John F. Kennedy


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