This article was updated with the final sale price and other details following the auction’s conclusion.
The intimate letters — addressed to Gunilla von Post, an aristocrat he met weeks prior to his 1953 marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier — reveal Kennedy describing their time together as a “bright memory of my life.”
Written between 1955 and 1956, the love letters predate Kennedy’s presidency. He was serving as a senator in Massachusetts at the time, and the notes were written on United States Senate letterhead.
This photo shows a love letter that John F. Kennedy wrote to a Swedish paramour a few years after he married Jacqueline Bouvier. Credit: Nikki Brickett/AP
In them, Kennedy reflected on the pair’s romantic trip to Sweden and responded to news that Von Post was set to wed. The future president told Von Post he was “anxious” to see her, calling her “wonderful” in one letter. In another, he signed off simply as “Jack.”
Von Post and Kennedy first met in the summer of 1953 in Cannes, just weeks before Kennedy and Bouvier’s September 12 wedding. According to RR Auction’s lot listing, they later “spent a very blissful and intimate week consummating the relationship” in Sweden in August 1955 — almost two years into his marriage.
The auction house said that “efforts on Kennedy’s behalf to end his marriage and to bring her to the United States” were “thwarted by his father, his political ambitions, and Kennedy’s and von Post’s mutual sensitivity to the miscarriage suffered by Jacqueline in 1955.”
Another example of the letters up for auction is pictured here. Credit: Nikki Brickett/AP
In a letter dated February 1956, Kennedy appeared to respond to news of Von Post’s own marriage to landowner Anders Ekman. He wrote, “I must say I was sad to learn that, after all, you are not coming to the U.S. and you are marrying a farmer.”
Referring to the pair’s trip to Sweden, he continued, “I was planning to come back again next summer to see you…& now what will happen. In any case let me know what you are going to do.”
“If you don’t marry come over (to America) as I should like to see you. I had a wonderful time last summer with you. It is a bright memory of my life — you are wonderful and I miss you,” he concluded.
This photo shows an envelope that John F. Kennedy addressed to his Swedish paramour. Credit: Nikki Brickett/AP
The pair would only see each other one more time, in 1958 at a Waldorf Astoria gala, the auction house said. Both attended with their partners and Von Post was pregnant at the time.