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Lot 261

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Description: Admiral Rickover Declines Invitation to Speak to Jewish Medical Society

“My work schedule in connection with my own program is so heavy that I have found it necessary to curtail...my outside activities.”

In this brief letter, Vice Admiral Rickover cites his heavy work schedule as the reason for declining an invitation to speak to the Jacobi Medical Society, formed by Jewish physicians in Washington, D.C. in 1926.

HYMAN G. RICKOVER, Typed Letter Signed, to Murry M. Robinson, September 23, 1959, Washington, D.C. 1 p., 8" x 10.5".  On U.S. Atomic Energy Commission letterhead. Very good.


“Thank you...for inviting me to speak to the Jacobi Medical Society at their annual banquet in March 1960.”

“I regret that I will be unable to accept your invitation. My work schedule in connection with my own program is so heavy that I have found it necessary to curtail, to an even greater extent, my outside activities.”

Hyman G. Rickover (1900-1986) was born in Russian Poland into a Polish Jewish family and migrated to New York City with his family in 1906. Two years later, they moved to Chicago. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1922 and was commissioned an ensign. He served on a destroyer and battleship before earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University in 1930. He served on submarines from 1929 to 1933 and commanded a minesweeper for three months in 1937, but was soon sent to Washington for work in the Bureau of Engineering. During World War II, he did repair and inspection duties and gained a reputation as a man who got things done. Rickover became an early proponent of the idea of nuclear propulsion for naval vessels, both submarines and surface ships. He led a team that developed a reliable nuclear reactor that could power submarines, the first being the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered vessel, launched in 1954. Promoted to vice admiral in 1958, Rickover received the first of two Congressional Gold Medals. Over the next three decades, Rickover interviewed and approved or rejected every officer being considered for a nuclear ship, eventually numbering in the tens of thousands of interviews. The Secretary of the Navy eventually forced Rickover’s retirement in January 1982, just after his eighty-second birthday, after sixty-three years of service in the U.S. Navy under thirteen presidents.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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