Jacqueline Kennedy Tiffany & Co. Presentation Box

  • This Tiffany & Co. silver gilt box was presented by Jacqueline Kennedy to Conrad L. Wirth
  • Wirth was responsible for the White House grounds renovation during President Kennedy's term
  • Mrs. Kennedy commissioned the box from Tiffany after the President's death as a token of gratitude
  • It represents an extraordinary piece of American history
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-2404

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An extraordinary piece of American history, this Tiffany & Co. silver gilt box was presented by Jacqueline Kennedy to Conrad L. Wirth, Director of the National Park Service (1951-1964), who was also responsible for the White House grounds renovation during President Kennedy's term. Mrs. Kennedy commissioned Tiffany to make the box for Wirth following the President's death as a token of their appreciation for his devoted service. In a letter from Mrs. Kennedy to Mr. Wirth, she mentions that the President had intended to honor Wirth with a Citation of Merit on July 4, 1964, in the Rose Garden, an event which sadly never took place. As Director, Wirth redesigned the Rose Garden, which President Kennedy favored for both private use and public ceremonies. 

The box is engraved with the Presidential Seal and inscribed, "Conrad L. Wirth / with deep appreciation for / January 20, 1961 - November 22, 1963" and signed "Jacqueline Kennedy."

4 1/4” wide x 3 3/8” deep x 1 5/8” high

The letter that accompanied the box from Mrs. Kennedy to Mr. Wirth was re-printed in Wirth's book Parks, Politics and the People, University of Oklahoma Press, 1980, and reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Wirth:
This little gold box comes with a long story attached to it. President Kennedy was going to give you the Citation of Merit - this last Fourth of July. He had created it the year before - for people who had done so much for their country - and he was going to award it to a few people each Fourth of July - in his beloved Rose Garden. He talked to me last summer about giving it to you. You were retiring as head of the Park Service - and that was sad for him. He was so cognizant of all you had done for so many years. He recognized all the pride and devotion and service that had been such a part of your life - and you were the one who made him see all that the Park Service was - and then in his term - you were retiring. That made him so sad - because together you had done something extraordinary. You know how much he cared about the White House and how it looked to the world. His love and care for the grounds were in the tradition of Washington and Jefferson - though he didn’t realize that - or consciously strive to emulate them. He just knew that the President’s House should live up to an ideal - and you helped him achieve that ideal. I was always so amazed and touched that with all he had to do - he could find the time to care about the gardens. He loved the Rose Garden so - it brought him such peace - and to gaze out at green lawns instead of crabgrass ones. He was so proud when it looked beautiful - and then he started to receive Heads of State there - instead of at Andrews Air Force Base. He was so aware that it was you who made all that possible. He felt so relieved and sure that the White House would stay the way his vision of it was - once it was safely under the guardianship of the Park Service. Now he is gone - and you are no longer the head of the National Parks. But the two of you will always be linked together - and you made possible for him some of his happiest hours - for which I am grateful to you forever. Once I knew, this winter, that he would never be able to give you the Citation which he wanted to give you so much - I had this little box made. But I kept putting off giving it to you. It would have revived so many memories. Now that I am about to leave Washington I feel I must send it to you - as a poor substitute for what you would have had from President Kennedy. But, please accept it with our devotion - and please know that all you did was appreciated more than I could ever express.
Sincerely,
Jacqueline Kennedy
Jacqueline Kennedy Tiffany & Co. Presentation Box
Maker: Tiffany & Co.
Period: 20th Century
Origin: America
Type: Trophies/Presentation Pieces
Depth: 1.05 Inches
Width: 4.25 Inches
Height: 3.38 Inches

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