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Handwritten letter penned by Jacqueline Kennedy to JFK donated to Kennedy Library Foundation

“I can’t write down what I feel for you, but I will show you when I am with you.”

jfk letter
Doris Drummond, right, chief financial officer of the Kennedy Library Foundation, looks at the letter held by Robert Eaton, CEO of RR Auction House, and Bobby Livingston, center, executive vice president at RR Auction House. John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe

A personal letter written by Jacqueline Kennedy to her husband, “Jack,” was donated Tuesday to the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

The undated letter was written by Kennedy to John F. Kennedy in the months following the birth of the couple’s first child, Caroline, in November 1957, according to the Kennedy Library Foundation. RR Auction House had purchased the letter, and, on Tuesday, the company’s founder and CEO, Bob Eaton, gifted it to the foundation during a small ceremony.

Addressed “Dearest Jack” and signed “All my love, Jackie,” the letter offers insight into the relationship between the then-Massachusetts senator and his wife.

Doris Drummond, chief financial officer of the Kennedy Library Foundation, called the personal family note an “important” document, praising its “return” to the nonprofit, which provides support to the library and museum dedicated to the 35th president.

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“It’s in the proper place, it’s in a good place,” she said of the letter’s arrival. “It’s in the proper holding place, rather than being auctioned off. We appreciate RR Auction giving it to us and not auctioning it off. I think that’s such a great decision by them. It’s wonderful.”

In the three-page letter to her husband, written across two sheets of light blue paper, Jacqueline Kennedy celebrates the couple’s first born child, Caroline, writing, “at last a baby we both love.”

She also acknowledges that when the couple is apart, she writes “stiff letters,” noting to her husband, “It is hard for me to communicate — which you do so beautifully.”

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“I know everyone says married couples should never separate — as you get off the same wave length — It is true you do — but I think it is usually good when we go away from each other as we both realize so much,” Kennedy wrote to her husband. “We are so different — but I was thinking this trip — that every other time I’ve been away, you would write ‘don’t ponder our relationship too much’ etc. — [and] now I don’t, as one doesn’t ponder anything that is a part of you —”

In closing her letter, Kennedy reflects on how their marriage is different from the norm.

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“You are an atypical husband—increasingly so in one way or another every year since we’ve been married—so you mustn’t be surprised to have an atypical wife—Each of us would have been so lonely with the normal kind,” she wrote. “I can’t write down what I feel for you, but I will show you when I am with you—and I think you must know—.” 

“All my love,” she signs off, “Jackie.”

The letter will not be on display at the museum, but will “be held by the Foundation with its historical records that are safeguarded and protected,” the nonprofit said in a statement.

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“It’s gorgeous,” Drummond said during handoff of the letter, adding, “I love the word ‘return,’ and I, personally — and I believe there are those in this room — feel as though it is returned to the proper location.”

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