Sale 22BP02 | Lot 26

KENNEDY, JOHN F., as President; MARILYN MONROE; and many others. The signed guest book and original photographs from the May 19th, 1962 reception held following President Kennedy's 45th Birthday Celebration at Madison Square Garden.

Catalogue: Rare Books, Autographs & Maps
KENNEDY, JOHN F., as President; MARILYN MONROE; and many others.  The signed guest book and original photographs from the May 19th, 1962 reception held following President Kennedy's 45th Birthday Celebration at Madison Square Garden.

Lot Details

Lot 26
KENNEDY, JOHN F., as President; MARILYN MONROE; and many others. The signed guest book and original photographs from the May 19th, 1962 reception held following President Kennedy's 45th Birthday Celebration at Madison Square Garden.
These signatures within four folio guest books from the Manhattan townhouse of Arthur and Dr. Mathilde Krim, 1961-97, containing hundreds of notable signatures. An important archive of the night Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to John F. Kennedy - a touchstone cultural event of the 20th century. The guest books are offered with eighteen original photographs taken by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton that evening, a later print of the suppressed photograph depicting Marilyn Monroe with President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. at the reception, and Arthur Krim's film reel of Marilyn Monroe's famous performance. The album with the Monroe/Kennedy signatures is 12 x 10 inches (30 x 25 cm) and the entry for the evening comprises a few pages, the two earliest albums lacking or with wear to spines, some stray stains within but very well preserved overall.

The star-studded 45th Birthday Celebration for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden on May 19th, 1962 was organized by Democratic National Committee Co-Chairmen Arthur B. Krim and Anna M. Rosenberg. A studio chief with deep ties in both Hollywood and Washington, Krim curated an event featuring luminaries and top entertainers such as Maria Callas, Ella Fitzgerald, Jack Benny, Danny Kaye, Peter Lawford, Peggy Lee, Jimmy Durante, Henry Fonda, Harry Belafonte, Nichols and May, and Diahann Carroll, who later that evening performed (as did Jimmy Durante and Harry Belafonte) on the landing between floors at the Krim's townhouse at the reception following the gala. But the elegant show reached its fever pitch with superstar actress Marilyn Monroe's downright seductive and immediately legendary performance of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President," sung to Kennedy while wearing a shimmering skin-tight Jean Louis dress of 2500 rhinestones into which she had been sewn for the occasion.

The reception following was as star-studded as the gala itself, blending not just the most influential players in entertainment and politics but also the two most important cultural icons of the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Highlight signatures in the album from 19 May 1962 include (in this order):
John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert Kennedy (these on a single page); Anna M. Rosenberg (2), Robert F. Wagner, Peter Lawford, Robert Kennedy (second example), Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Eunice Shriver, Patricia K. Lawford, Harry Belafonte, Julie Belafonte, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Maria Callas, Henry Fonda, Earl Blackwell, Jack Benny, Mr. & Mrs. Jimmy Durante, Susan Strasberg, Mr. & Mrs. Allan Jay Lerner, Ethel Kennedy, Loretta Young, and Isidore Miller (who accompanied Marilyn Monroe that evening), among others.

Accompanying the guest book are the set of 18 original stamped Cecil Stoughton photographs of the event gifted to the Krims. Each is 8 x 10 inches (21 x 25 cm) and stamped in ink on the verso "Cecil Stoughton/The White House." Fine condition overall. This authorized group of photographs depicts President Kennedy in about 10 images, Marilyn Monroe in one photograph watching the performance of Diahann Carroll, and well represents the balance of the party capturing the musical performances, crowded conversation in the library, the gracious spreads in the dining room, and other aspects of the party. Present are also three vintage photographs depicting Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, two transparencies, and an interesting artifact is a copy print (possibly early digital?) of the famously suppressed photograph depicting Marilyn Monroe, a turned President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., considered the only photograph to show Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy together.

Finally, a film reel that reportedly depicts Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to the President is offered with the lot. This reel, prepared for an "ABC News 20/20" program in 1980, includes a typed note from producer Stephen Paley to Arthur Krim offering the reel for his collection. The contents not verified.

President Kennedy's 1962 Birthday Celebration Gala at Madison Square Garden and the reception that followed at the home of Arthur and Mathilde Krim combined Hollywood starpower with Washington's top political elites in one of the most legendary events of the 20th century. This is the only autograph item from that day that we trace that captures both President Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe's signatures. A program from the event signed by most of the entertainers including Marilyn Monroe was sold in 2021 but was not signed by President Kennedy, honoree of the evening, and others in the political spectrum including his brother Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson (for that item see RR Auction, 16 June 2021, lot 694, $29,232).

A detailed breakdown of the guest books with a selection of the notable signatures gathered between 1961 and 1997 follows. The albums contain the signatures of four American presidents, three Democrats including John Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and two examples of a Democrat turned Republican who attended several DNC events at the Krims: Donald Trump. The albums collect the signatures of an impressive who's who of politicians, scientists, activists, artists, entertainers, and society figures. Arthur Krim (1910-1994) was for four decades one of the most powerful studio chairmen in Hollywood, having run Eagle-Lion Films, United Artists and Orion Pictures between 1946-92, and he also served as finance chairman for the Democratic Committee and as an advisor to President Johnson. Dr. Mathilde Krim (1926-2018) was a pioneering research scientist and the co-founder of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). Highly philanthropic, the Krims frequently hosted receptions and events at their Manhattan townhouse.

Guest Book 1: 30 August 1961-11 August 1972. Black leather album with "A.B.K." at center, lacks spine, some stains within: Includes: Adlai Stevenson; Estee Lauder; Sidney Poitier; Al Hirschfeld; Irving "Swifty" Lazar; Harry Belafonte. On January 20th 1962, In Honor of President Kennedy's Inauguration: Louis Nizer, Otto Preminger, Jean Negulesco. Kirk Douglas, Lyndon B. Johnson (two additional examples), Ted Kennedy; and others.

Guest Book 2: 6 September 1972-16 November 1976. Over 100 pages fully accomplished, the album full black leather gilt stamped "Mathilde and Arthur Krim'' on the cover. Spine detaching. Notable signatures and events include: Barbara Walters, Lady Bird Johnson, Brooke Astor; Ted Kennedy; Governor Carey's Luncheon for the DNC Site Committee 29 May 1975: Donald Trump; Metropolitan Museum of Art 9 June 1976: Jacqueline Onassis; D.N.C. Voter Registration 31 August 1976: Jimmy Carter, Donald Trump; and others.

Guest Book 3: 14 January 1977-27 May 1986. Over 100 pages fully accomplished, the album full green suede gilt stamped "Mathilde and Arthur Krim" on the cover. Notable events and signatures include, among many others: the large signature of Mikhail Baryshnikov with a drawing and "USSR!" dated 16 November 1977; Reception for the President of the U.S. and the Governor of New York 2 November 1978: Jimmy Carter, Hugh Carey, Cyrus Vance, Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo; film stars including Jane Fonda, Bo Derek, artist Francois Gilot, scientist Jonas Salk, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter on 17 December 1981, 7 February 1983, and 12 April 1983; In Honor of Archbishop Desmond Tutu 27 May 1986: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; and others.

Guest Book 4: 21 September 1986-18 September 1997. Over 100 pages fully accomplished, the album full green leather gilt stamped "Mathilde and Arthur Krim" on the cover. Notable events and signatures include, among many others: Art Against Aids 16 March 1988: Bianca Jagger, Ross Bleckner, Richard Prince, Jeanne-Claude and Christo. In Memory of Robert Mapplethorpe 4 May 1994: Quentin Crisp. Many Amfar events; American-Israel Culture Reception 25 November 1987: Elie Weisel, Larry Rivers, Kenneth Bialkin; and others. Most notably, this final book contains the signatures of Nelson and Winnie Mandela from Nelson Mandela's 1990 visit to New York City.


Now sixty-years since, this remarkable archive offers at auction for the first time the only known set of autographs of cultural icons John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe from the day of his legendary 45th Birthday Celebration Gala.


C The Estate of Mathilde and Arthur Krim

Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000
Sold for $31,500 (includes buyer's premium)

Additional Notes & Condition Report

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Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000
Sold for $31,500 (includes buyer's premium)

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Rare Books, Autographs & Maps

Thu, Oct 13, 2022 at 10am EDT
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