Central New York

RFK Autographed Book Donated to SU Law Library

The autographed copy of “The Enemy Within” alongside a photocopy of the enclosed inscription and signature on display at the Syracuse University College of Law. ©️ 2018 Julian Baron

Click the play button to hear Syracuse University Law Library Director Jan Fleckenstein discuss the significance of the newly-acquired book.

A transcript of the above audio is available here.

By Julian Baron SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — The Syracuse University Law Library is now home to a signed copy of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1960 non-fiction title “The Enemy Within” thanks to a donation by married alumni Ronald and Joanne Goldfarb.

The book includes a note from Robert Kennedy to Ronald Goldfarb, who worked as Kennedy’s speechwriter during his New York senatorship. The tragic assassination of Kennedy in 1968 has made relics of this sort increasingly difficult to find.

“When Robert Kennedy wrote this book in 1960 and inscribed it to his colleague and friend Ronald Goldfarb, nobody knew there would be so few Robert Kennedy autographed works,” said Jan Fleckenstein, Director of the Syracuse University Law Library.

“The Enemy Within” is a semi-autobiographical book about enforcing the law of labor management relations, a topic which Goldfarb wrote about in his own literary piece “A Caste of Despair, Migrant Farm Workers in the United States” in 1981.

“It’s special to us here at Syracuse University not just because we have the autograph of a famous person, but because of the actual inscription itself to Ronald Goldfarb,” said Fleckenstein.

The literary relic, while historically significant, is unique compared to the majority of books at the Syracuse University Law Library.

“Our special collections at the College of Law are geared mostly towards legal history,” said Fleckenstein. “So this book is special to us because it represents another category of works that we want to both preserve and showcase, so it’s not exactly like anything else that we have in special collections here at the law library.”

The book is part of the Goldfarb Collection at the Syracuse University College of Law, which includes several titles with various topics and focuses. The collection is open for public viewing during the college’s business hours but is unavailable for much of early December due to law school final exams.