Descriptive Finding Guide for Caroline JFK Campaign Aircraft SDASM.SC.10023

Finding aid prepared by Karen Garcia Raines
San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park
San Diego, CA, 92101
(619) 234-8291
June 12, 2014

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

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


Box 01


Folder 01 – Caroline Log Book 1959-1960


Folder 02 – Caroline Log Book 1961


Folder 03 – Caroline Log Book 1962


Folder 04 – Caroline Log Book 1963


Folder 05 – Caroline Log Book 1964


Folder 06 – Caroline Log Book 1965


Folder 07 – Caroline Log Book 1966


Folder 08 – Caroline Log Books 1967-1968


Folder 09 –Correspondence 1967


Folder 10 – Griscom notes


Folder 11 – Griscom Correspondence 1963-1966


Folder 12 – Papers filed with Log books


Box 02


Folder 01 – Corporate Correspondence 1963-1966


Folder 02 – Corporate Correspondence 1963-1966


Folder 03 – Griscom Correspondence 1985-1986


Folder 04 – Caroline Trip Mileage 1960


Folder 05 – Caroline Trip Mileage 1961


Folder 06 – Caroline Trip Mileage 1962


Folder 07 – Caroline Trip Mileage 1963


Folder 08 – Caroline Trip Mileage 1964


Folder 09 – Caroline Trip Mileage 1965


Folder 10 – Caroline Trip Mileage 1966


Folder 11 – Caroline Trip Mileage 1967


Folder 12 – Caroline Passenger List 1961


Folder 13 – Caroline Passenger List 1962


Folder 14 – Caroline Passenger List 1963


Folder 15 – Caroline Passenger List 1964


Folder 16 – Caroline Passenger List 1965


Folder 17 – Caroline Passenger List 1966


Folder 18 – Caroline Passenger List 1967