JFK'S FAVORITE PIECE OF SCRIMSHAW WAS A GIFT FOR HIS LAST CHRISTMAS
West Palm Beach, Florida (JFK+50) On December 24, 1962, 54 years ago today, President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy enjoyed what was to be their last Christmas holiday together at the Kennedy family home here in West Palm Beach.
The First Family opened their gifts on Christmas Day. The President received a piece of scrimshaw for his collection from the First Lady which she had kept hidden away until Christmas morning. It bore the presidential seal carved by Delano Milton..
According to Peggi Medeiros, Mr. Delano worked for 240 hours "etching, coloring and polishing" his "masterpiece." The piece, which measured 9 1/2 inches, had been discovered in an old house in New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was from a bull whale.
This was actually the second piece of scrimshaw that Mr. Delano had done for the President. The first bore JFK's likeness. Claire Barnes tells us that President Kennedy was "absolutely enchanted" with the piece with the presidential seal and that he put it on the right corner of his desk in the Oval Office.
Mrs. Barnes goes on to say that "it always meant more to him than any other piece in his scrimshaw collection." Perhaps that was the reason that it was buried along with JFK's remains at Arlington National Cemetery.
According to Don Singleton of the New York Daily News, part of JFK's famous scrimshaw collection, inherited by John F. Kennedy, Jr., "was left to....John B.K. Schlossberg* the only direct male descendant of President John F.Kennedy." The remainder of the collection was given by Mrs. Kennedy to the JFK Presidential Library.
Reproductions of JFK's scrimshaw tooth can be purchased at the Online Store of the JFK Library. The reproductions are available in various sizes at a price range of $50 to $76.
*John "Jack" B.K. Schlossberg, a graduate of Collegiate School where he was class valedictorian. His valedictory address was published in the Congressional Record. As of November 2013, Jack was studying to be a medical technician at Yale University. He is the grandson of President John F. Kennedy and nephew of John F. Kennedy, Jr. Jack's mother, Caroline Kennedy, is the US Ambassador to Japan.
"John F. Kennedy: Scrimshaw Collector," by Claire Barnes, Little, Brown and Company, 1969.
"Kennedy Christmas: At the White House, 1962," Boston Irish Tourism Association, http://irishmassachusetts.com/KennedyChristmas1962.php Kennedy Christmas 1962
"Nephew, 6, to receive President's treasure," by Don Singleton, September 25, 1999, New York Daily News.
"The president's scrimshander," by Peggi Medelros, South Coast Today, November 1, 1963 http://blogs.southcoasttoday.com/mansions/2013/11/01/the-president%E2%80%99s-scrimshander/
Scrimshaw Reproduction Piece
JFK Desk Recreation
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM JFK+50
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA (JFK+50) The White family extends the best wishes of the season to all visitors of JFK+50.
"Peace on earth, good will to men!"
As President Kennedy said...
"All of us....want the same things for America, we want security for our families, we want peace in the world, and we want to see the cause of freedom strengthened. That is our obligation."