Texas Tech University

Museum Receives Baptists For Kennedy Campaign Sign

JFK sign with autographThe Museum's History Division has acquired an unusual new addition to its collection – an autographed Baptists for Kennedy handmade campaign sign.

The poster was handmade by Joe Newman, a Baptist Sunday School superintendent form Hart. Newman held the poster up during a campaign stop by John F. Kennedy in September 1960.

JFK sign news clippingKennedy faces challenges because he was a Catholic. The sign caught the candidate's attention during the campaign rally at the then Lubbock Municipal Airport. Kennedy spoke to Newman and autographed the sign. The sign also drew attention from the media. The newspaper pictures, plus stories that include interviews with Newman are also included in the donation.

The sign came to the Museum when Newman's son asked History Curator Cameron Saffell if the Museum would be interested in the sign.

Saffell's response was a resounding yes. With the arrival of the poster in November, History Division student assistants Emily Williams and Elise Dukart began cataloging and preserving the material.

JFK sign studentsWhile the sign will not be on display for a while, for the History Division, the sign is a major acquisition. It is the first object directly signed by a presidential candidate. The sign adds a unique piece of information about a campaign stop in 1960 and is a highlight of a campaign memorabilia collection that includes buttons and yard signs.

Williams, who is from Miramar, Florida, and Dukart, from Wibaux, Montana, are both students in the Museum's Heritage and Museum Science Master's Degree Program. Students work in different areas of the museum and work directly with objects such as the sign. The students, under Saffell's direction, will write an accession sheet that officially documents that the object has been received into the Museum's collection. They will then catalog the condition of the object and make a recommendation on how to preserve the sign.