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Descriptive Finding Guide for Caroline JFK Campaign Aircraft SDASM.SC.10023
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Collection Details
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  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition note
  • General note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Related Archival Materials note

  • Title: Caroline JFK Campaign Aircraft
    Identifier/Call Number: SDASM.SC.10023
    Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 0.69 Cubic feet Two 12”x5”x10” boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1959-1967
    Abstract: This collection details the technical life of President John F. Kennedy’s campaign aircraft, the Caroline, which was the first private aircraft used exclusively for campaigning by an American presidential candidate. The collection includes correspondence and notes kept by the Caroline’s second chief pilot, Captain Robert Griscom.

    Conditions Governing Access note

    The collection is open to researchers by appointment.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    Some copyright may be reserved. Consult with the library director for more information.

    Preferred Citation note

    [Item], [Filing Unit], [Series Title], [Subgroups], [Record Group Title and Number], [Repository “San Diego Air & Space Museum Library & Archives”]

    Immediate Source of Acquisition note

    The materials in this collection were donated to the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

    General note

    The collection had been separated into multiple parts, but has now been combined into one collection.

    Biographical/Historical note

    This collection details the technical life of President John F. Kennedy’s campaign aircraft, the Caroline, which was the first private aircraft used exclusively for campaigning by an American presidential candidate. During the 1960 campaign, the aircraft flew 225,000 miles with a small crew, frequently carrying the candidate, family members, staff and reporters. Kennedy was known for walking the aisle, giving reporters a chance for one-on-one interviews. In 1959 Joseph Kennedy purchased a Convair 240 from American Airlines, a move that would change American presidential campaigning forever. The senior Kennedy formed a separate corporation to manage the aircraft, Kenaire. The 1948 aircraft was retrofitted to meet physical and privacy needs of the candidate and his family.
    After Kennedy won the election, the Secret Service deemed the Caroline not safe enough to be Air Force One, so the aircraft was used by the Kennedy family, including the First Lady. After the President’s assassination in 1963, the aircraft was used by the Kennedy family until it was donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 1967. The Caroline is currently in storage in parts at the Smithsonian’s Paul E. Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland.

    Scope and Contents note

    This collection of two 12”x5”x10” boxes consists of aircraft mileage logs for the Caroline dating from the aircraft’s purchase in 1959 until its donation to the Smithsonian in 1967. Parts of this collection were damaged in the SDASM fire in 1978. The aircraft logs were secured in two folders, 1959-1963, and 1964-1967.
    Additionally, passenger lists and detailed mileage reports were kept in two Flight Safety, Inc. notebooks (see Figure 4 below), lists in one notebook, and reports in the other. There seems to be no official reason for the lists. These lists were damaged in the 1978 museum fire.
    At some point, the collection was split. The aircraft logs and related documentation were filed separately from Griscom’s personal papers. Expense account summaries were inserted into the associated months for the 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967 logs.
    Additionally, the 1966 logs include letters to Captain Baird and Captain Griscom containing guidelines for potential medical emergencies for Ambassador Kennedy, as well as other corporate correspondence.
    Inserted into the 1967 logs were multiple corporate correspondences and a photo copy of a 1967 photo of Senator Robert Kennedy canoeing with Caroline Kennedy.

    Related Archival Materials note

    A more detailed finding guide is available at http://www.sandiegoairandspace.org/collections/collection_item.php?id=137

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Kenaire Corporation.
    Kennedy, American politics
    Kennedy, John F., (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
    Kennedy, Joseph P., (Joseph Patrick), 1888-1969
    Aeronautics, Commercial
    Convair 240 Convair-Liner
    Convair 240 Convair-Liner "Caroline"
    Flight logs
    Political campaigns
    Private planes