JFK diary written in post-WWII Europe sells for $718,000

A diary kept by a young John F. Kennedy during his brief stint as a journalist after World War II in which he reflected on Hitler and the weakness of the United Nations sold for more than $700,000 on Wednesday.

Boston-based RR Auction said the diary sold for $718,750, far exceeding the pre-sale estimate of $200,000. Joseph Alsop, a JFK collector from Beverly, outbid one other live and six telephone bidders in a packed house for the 61-page diary. Alsop, 71, plans to add it to his personal collection, auction officials said.

The diary is mostly typed but includes 12 handwritten pages. It was written in 1945 when the 28-year-old Kennedy was a correspondent for Hearst newspapers and traveled through a devastated Europe.

Executive Vice President Bobby Livingston said the auction was thrilling, with bidders from around the country vying for the personal observations of the man who’d become president.

“My expectations were exceeded, but I’m not surprised because it’s such a significant and historic manuscript,” Livingston said.

The diary’s new owner is the nephew of Joseph Alsop V and the son of Stewart Alsop, two brothers and influential columnists during the Kennedy presidency.

“I’m happy to own it,” said Alsop, who was 16 when he met Kennedy at his uncle’s home in 1960. “I think it’s a wonderful object and a tribute to Kennedy’s development as an individual. He displays a remarkable degree of insight into world affairs at a very young age.”

Kennedy gave the…

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