University Archives

Lot 224

Previous image preload Next image preload


JFK & LBJ Related Fabric Incl. Rocking Chair Swatch & WH Sofa Upholstery Sample, with Exceptional Provenance!

A remarkable archive of fabric swatches and paperwork relating to 35th and 36th U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) and Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973). Items include a swatch of black Naugahyde upholstery earmarked for one of Lawrence Arata's celebrated reproduction Kennedy rocking chairs, and a large square of salmon-colored fabric left over from redoing the Johnson-era White House sitting room. Accompanied by original eBay seller's paperwork from Raleigh De Geer Amyx. Provenance: From the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist; From the Raleigh De Geer Amyx Collection of Presidential Memorabilia; From the collection of Larry and Norma Arata, ex-White House and Kennedy administration employees.

The pieces in this lot originated with Lawrence "Larry" Arata (1907-1979), who served as the official upholster of the White House between 1961-1977, and his wife Norma Arata (1923-2000), who served as a White House secretary before becoming Larry's work assistant.

The lot is comprised of:

1. A 1p typed letter signed by Lawrence Arata as "Larry Arata" at center, addressed to autograph seeker Edward Hillebrand of Baltimore, Maryland. Written in McLean, Virginia on June 12, 1973 on "Lawrence J. Arata, Upholstery Specialist--Since 1923 / Larry Arata's / Custom Upholstery / of the / Kennedy Rocker" letterhead. Minor discoloration at the corners from previous mounting, else near fine. 8.5" x 11." Accompanied by its original stamped and cancelled large manila transmittal envelope bearing a large sticker reading "From / Larry Arata / Custom Upholstery of the / Kennedy Rocker." Envelope measures 12" x 9.5."

2. A black and white photograph of "President John F. Kennedy in Rocking Chair custom-upholstered by Lawrence J. Arata. Photo taken in President Kennedy's Office in the White House in 1963," signed, inscribed, and dated by Lawrence Arata as "Best Wishes to / Edward Hillebrand / Lawrence J. Arata / 6/12/73" at lower right. Near fine. 8.5" x 11."

3. A black and white photograph of President Kennedy, ca. 1961, bearing his facsimile signature at lower right. Near fine. 8.5" x 11."

4. A stapled packet of promotional information about Larry Arata's "Authentic Custom Upholstered Kennedy Rocker," complete with a black Naugahyde upholstery swatch attached in the upper right corner. In addition to a FAQ cover sheet, Arata included six photocopied pages of testimonials, newspaper articles, and correspondence discussing his custom reproduction Kennedy rocking chairs.

5. A 1p typed letter addressed to JFK collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx on facsimile "The White House / Washington" stationery dated November 22, 1983 (the 20th anniversary of JFK's assassination) and signed by Norma Arata on behalf of the couple. Also signed and inscribed by Norma along the bottom as: "Larry also reupholstered several love seats in a steel gray fabric in the private sitting room in the White House. N.A." Numbered in pencil at upper right. Excerpt from the typed letter: "It is with pleasure I present to you some of the fabric which was left over from the material used in the reupholstering of some love seats in the upstairs private sitting room in the White House during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. The lovely fabric is a salmon color."

6. An oblong swatch of salmon-colored floral damask measuring approximately 12.5" x 11." A few stray threads. Would benefit from ironing, else near fine.

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.


Accepts online payments

Accepted Forms of Payment

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


We do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 5 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Westport, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

6 January 2021 10:30 EST

Wilton, CT, US

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000