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Christie's announces successful placement of the papers of Richard N. Goodwin
a400-11a L-R: Ricahrd Goodwin, Bill Moyers, President Lyndon B. Johnson. Photo by Yoichi Okamoto, courtesy of the LBJ Presidential Library.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie's announced the successful placement of the Papers of Richard N. Goodwin at the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. The Papers of Richard N. Goodwin chronicle the life and work of one of the most influential voices of the 1960s, a man who shaped policy and wrote iconic speeches for John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert F. Kennedy. Christie’s negotiated the sale of this important archive on behalf of Goodwin’s wife, the presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Now, these manuscripts, typescripts, and other documents will be kept in the city that is also home to the LBJ Presidential Library. Kearns Goodwin has donated her archive to the Briscoe Center.

Richard Goodwin is best remembered as one of the premier speechwriters of the 20th century who drafted one of the most consequential Presidential addresses in American history, Lyndon Johnson's "We Shall Overcome" speech to a joint session of Congress—delivered in the wake of the violence in Selma, Alabama in March 1965. Like "We Shall Overcome," many of Goodwin's speeches are of such historical significance that they are now labeled by a simple identifying phrase: the "Great Society" speech which outlined the most ambitious domestic reform agenda since the New Deal; the "Howard University" speech where LBJ called for affirmative action; and RFK’s “Ripple of Hope” speech in South Africa. A quotation from this speech is engraved on RFK’s gravestone.

Goodwin’s story serves as a history of the 1960s, from the perspective of an insider shaping and communicating policy, and as someone, who like many others, was caught up in the heady idealism of the start of the decade, only to see those dreams crushed by assassinations and war by its close. Goodwin’s papers represent not just one young man’s personal journey through the landmark events that he witnessed and helped shape, but they also trace a national journey that transformed the landscape of our country and continues to inform our lives and ideals today.

Following Goodwin's death in 2018, Doris Kearns Goodwin entrusted Christie's to assist in negotiating the sale of this important archive to an institution that would work to preserve it and make it accessible for scholars and the general public. It is with pleasure that Christie's was able to assist in this important project, helping negotiate a private sale to the University of Texas.

Christie's also noted that Doris Kearns Goodwin is donating her own archive from her years of research to the Briscoe Center. Beginning with, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, Kearns Goodwin has written extensively on the history of the presidency. Her volume on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, No Ordinary Time, earned her the Pulitzer Prize, and her 2005 work on Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals, won her the Lincoln Prize in 2005 and was adapted for Stephen Spielberg's 2012 film, Lincoln. Although both Kearns Goodwin and her late husband worked in the Johnson White house, they did not meet until later – marrying in 1975 and raising three sons in Concord, Massachusetts. "Dick and Doris" as they were known to friends, worked together closely, sounding out ideas and editing each other's work. It is especially gratifying that their respective bodies of work will remain together in perpetuity at an important research institution.

The Chairman of Christie’s America, Marc Porter said: “It has been an extraordinary opportunity for Christie’s to help preserve the archive of a man who helped make America fairer and better. The values Richard N. Goodwin fought for and lived, are those our company strives for every day. Richard Goodwin made history, and Christie’s is proud to have played a role in making his history available to future generations. On a personal note, it has been an education, an honor, and a source of deep satisfaction for me to engage in a long conversation with Doris Kearns Goodwin as we worked on this project.”

Peter Klarnet, Vice President, Senior Specialist in the Books and Manuscripts Department said: "Digging through these papers, you watch American history unfold from a unique perspective. You have the opportunity to experience a great mind at work, seeing his ideas developing in real time—page by page within this profound documentary record. It’s extremely pleasing to know that others will now have the same opportunity.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin said: “It was a joy to work with Christie’s to find the perfect place, where my husband’s archive and my own will be joined together - the Briscoe Center for American history at the University of Texas at Austin. On this journey that ended so happily, I could not have found a better partner than Christie’s.”

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