President John F. Kennedy’s Original Letter to a 5-Year-Old Girl Up For Sale

The below story appeared in multiple national publications, among them USA Today, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Fox News, ABC News, and others.

Click here to see and purchase the letter.

The only letter of President Kennedy to a young child known 
to have reached the public market; valued at $15,000

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Raab Collection, the nation’s leading dealer in important historical documents, announced today that it will offer for sale the original and unpublished letter written by President John F. Kennedy to a young girl who had saved two pennies to visit her friend at the White House: the President himself.  This touching story was covered by the media at the time, who dubbed the President her “boyfriend.” The letter is valued at $15,000.

“This is one of the most sweet and evocative human interest stories surrounding John Kennedy, and shows that even the President would take time to write to make a little girl happy,” said Karen Pearlman Raab, Principal of the Raab Collection.  “Kennedy was known for having said, ‘Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.’”

The girl’s story: In early 1962, 5-year-old Rita Lynn Knights went off to Sunday School with 7 cents to put in the collection box. When she got home, her mother saw that she still had two pennies. These had been kept, Rita told her mother, so “I can go to the Big House to see Jack Kennedy.” When her father, a Louisville bus driver, came home, she gave him the two cents and asked him for a bus ticket to Washington. Her father wrote JFK about the incident, and the President was touched and wrote a note “to surprise” her.   According to our research, no other letters of Kennedy while President written to young children have reached the market.

The letter: March 29, 1962, to Rita. “I am sending you this little note to surprise you and to say ‘hello’ Perhaps you will enjoy looking at the pictures in the enclosed booklet about the White House. Best wishes to you and your mother and father…”

About The Raab Collection:  The Raab Collection has handled many of the most important historical documents to reach the market and worked with the families of famous Americans in the sale and preservation of their family treasures, among them Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Henry Harrison, and Ronald Reagan.  Karen Pearlman Raab sits on the Director’s Council at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.  Nathan Raab, a member of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, is also a contributor to  To learn more visit or follow @raabcollection on Twitter.

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