Black & white portrait photo of a young LBJ holding a cigarette, 6.75×8.5 (visible), signed, inscribed and dated:
“For Tessie: / With Memory and / Thanks for / Melbourne hospitality– / Lyndon B. Johnson / June 17, 1942.“
Tessie Smallpage worked as a singer and hostess at American Servicemen’s Clubs in Melbourne, Australia during World War II. In the White House in October 1966, President Johnson showed “home movies” he had taken when he visited Melbourne as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy in 1942. When reporters asked him the identity of the girl in the movie, Johnson tried to keep it a secret, but his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, laughed and said she thought the girl was “one of the sweet young ladies Lady Mabel Brookes introduced him to.” When Johnson visited Melbourne later in October, Tessie admitted she “dreamt of him. I suppose his trip this week back to Melbourne was on my mind. We were very good friends. He was a very charming man. I remember him being as handsome as a film star. I felt I knew him very well. Lady Brookes would invite me to her parties for American officers. I met many men, but I’ll always remember Lyndon with the most fond memories.”
Tack holes at upper corners. Creased at corners and edges, not touching signature or writing. Matted with an original clipping from the October 18, 1966 Australian Newspaper The Sun with the headline: “JOHNSON’S SECRET/AN AUSSIE GIRLFRIEND,” reproducing the signed photograph offered here and a photograph of Tessie Smallpage on the front page to an overall size of 10.75×14.75.
Sold at Heritage Auctions in April 2005 for $2,990.