University Archives

Lot 109

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Sarah T. Hughes: She Swore in LBJ after JFK Assassination, 5 Pc Archive

A small archive related to Sarah T. Hughes (1896-1985), the federal district judge who officiated over the first inauguration of 36th U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson on November 22, 1963 aboard Air Force One, just a little over 1 hour after 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy was declared dead at Dallas's Parkland Memorial Hospital. Five pieces, including two autographed letters signed; two period signed photographs; and a photograph of the swearing-in. Featuring four Hughes autographs as "Sarah T. Hughes" (3) and "Sarah" (1). Provenance: From the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist.

The lot consists of:

1. A 1p autograph letter signed by Hughes as "Sarah" at lower right. Dated March 22, 1962. On watermarked stationery with "Sarah T. Hughes / Judge U.S. District Court / Northern District of Texas / Dallas 1, Texas" letterhead. With expected light paper folds, and minor adhesive residue verso. Else near fine. 7.25" x 10.375." Accompanied by the original transmittal envelope front cover, also engrossed by Hughes. Trimmed.

Addressed to fellow lawyer and mentor Andrew J. Priest (1894-1962), Hughes wrote in part: "…I so frequently think of you, because you did so much for me when George and I started to practice. You took me in, + gave me work + experience in the trial of cases. Much of what I am today I owe to your patience with my ignorance and your logical analysis of cases…Please de come by and see us. I want to show you my office, the library and the court room!" Sadly, Andrew Priest died less than three weeks after receiving this letter.

2. A 3pp autograph letter signed by Hughes as "Sarah T. Hughes" at the bottom of the second page. Dated July 21, 1966. On watermarked bifold stationery with "United States District Court / Northern District of Texas / Dallas, Texas 75221" letterhead. Expected light paper folds, else near fine. 6.5" x 8.5."

Writing to an unknown correspondent named "Mr. Bear," Hughes discusses JFK, FDR, faith, and patriotism. In part: "You asked me how long I had known President Kennedy. Not very long, but I admired him very much…He inspired everyone who saw or heard him and he made me want to do whatever was in power for my community + my country…"

3, 4. Two vintage 8" x 10" black and white photographs of Sarah T. Hughes wearing black judge's robes, both produced by Squire Haskins Photography, a Dallas studio established in 1947. The first is signed and inscribed: "With kindest regards / Sarah T. Hughes," while the second is signed: "Sarah T. Hughes." Both embossed with the photo studio name at lower right. Traces of edge darkening, else near fine.

5. An 8" x 10" modern glossy black and white photographic print after the original by Cecil Stoughton showing Hughes in the foreground swearing in LBJ aboard Air Force One.

Hughes was the first and only woman ever to swear in a U.S. President. (This task is usually reserved for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.) She served as a District Judge for the Northern District of Texas between 1961-1975.

A remarkable archive of Kennedyiana!

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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