Mary Pinchot Meyer: Inside Her Tragic Life With JFK — And Her Unsolved Death

Mary Pinchot Meyer never received the last letter John F. Kennedy wrote to her. In October 1963, the 35th U.S. President penned a love letter to his alleged mistress, Mary Pinchot Meyer, begging her to come and visit him later that month, but he never mailed it. JFK was assassinated the following month, and Mary Pinchot Meyer was found murdered one year later. Her murder remains unsolved.

John F. Kennedy’s four-page, handwritten letter to Mary Pinchot Meyer has now resurfaced and is up for auction, according to CNN. In the note, the much-married President pleads with Pinchot Meyer to pay him a visit in Cape Cod or in Boston, where he attended a Democratic Party fundraiser.

“Why don’t you leave suburbia for once — come and see me — either here — or at the Cape next week or in Boston the 19th. I know it is unwise, irrational, and that you may hate it — on the other hand, you may not – and I will love it. You say that it is good for me not to get what I want. After all of these years — you should give me a more loving answer than that. Why don’t you just say yes?”

JFK’s letter to Mary Pinchot Meyer was written on White House stationery, although the tops of the official letterhead were cut off. But when the letter is held up to the light, the faded presidential seal watermarks are visible. The note was never mailed, but it was saved by Kennedy’s personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln. The letter is expected to fetch more than $30,000 at the auction hosted by RR Auction.

Mary Pinchot Meyer was the wife of a CIA agent, but she had a long and complicated relationship with President Kennedy. Mary first met the future president at a prep school dance in 1938. They reconnected when then-senator Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, moved near Mary and her husband, Cord Meyer, Jr., in 1954. And while Pinchot Meyer befriended Jackie Kennedy, she was seen at the White House frequently when the First Lady was out of town. Mary eventually divorced Cord in 1958 and moved to Georgetown, where she worked as an artist.

According to Smithsonian magazine, the murdered body of Mary Pinchot Meyer was found in October 1964, on a towpath near the C&O Canal in Georgetown, a gunshot wound to her head. A man named Ray Crump was found near the river and was booked for homicide, but was later acquitted due to lack of evidence. The murder weapon was never found.

While conspiracy theories circulated, at the time of Mary Meyer’s death at age 43, her affair with John Kennedy and the extent of her ex-husband’s secret work with the CIA were not widely known. Still, many people believe Mary was murdered by the CIA for knowing too much for her own good. Others think she was one of the mysterious deaths associated with the JFK assassination. And still others believe Ray Crump randomly killed her and she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mary Pinchot was born to a wealthy Pennsylvania family and attended Vassar before marrying Meyer. Mary Pinchot and Cord Meyer had three sons together, but their middle child was hit by a car and killed at age 9. After her divorce, Mary Pinchot Meyer clearly kept in touch with her presidential lover, but she also was the longtime lover of painter Kenneth Noland. Mary also experimented with mind-expanding drugs, even hobnobbing with LSD guru Timothy Leary, who wrote about their friendship in his book, Flashbacks.

In 1962, Mary allegedly told Leary that she wanted to learn how to run an LSD session because she had a friend “who’s a very important man” and was impressed by what she told him about her own LSD experiences. Mary described the man as “a public figure” who wanted to try the drug.

“It wasn’t Camelot, it was Caligula’s court,” one insider said.

According to a report by Spartacus Educational, Mary Pinchot Meyer began her affair with President Kennedy sometime in the early 1960s. Mary’s name was all over White House gate logs, showing she signed in to see the President on at least 15 occasions between October, 1961, and August, 1963. JFK’s confidant, Kenny O’Donnell, said the President told him that he “was deeply in love with Mary, that after he left the White House he envisioned a future with her and would divorce Jackie.”

Charles Bartlett, another close friend of the president, confirmed that “Jack was in love with Mary Meyer. He was certainly smitten by her, he was heavily smitten … It was a dangerous relationship.”

For whatever reason, the President never mailed his final letter to Mary Pinchot Meyer. And now, more than 50 years later, it has become a piece available to the public.

Take a look at the video below for more on Mary Pinchot Meyer.

[Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers/Getty Images]