Maker: John F. Kennedy
Place Made: Solomon Islands
Medium: coconut shell, wood, polystyrene
Dimensions: Diameter: 3 x 5 3/8 inches (diameter coconut) x 7 inches (diameter base)
While Kennedy was serving in World War II as commander of the PT109, his boat was hit by a Japanese destroyer and his crew was stranded in the Solomon Islands. Lieutenant John F. Kennedy carved this Coconut shell with a message and gave it to two natives to deliver to the PT base at Rendova so he and his crew would be rescued. He later had the coconut shell encased in wood and plastic and used it as a paperweight on his desk in the Oval Office.
Message carved on coconut shell reads "NAURO ISL…COMMANDER…NATIVE KNOWS POS'IT…HE CAN PILOT…11 ALIVE…NEED SMALL BOAT…KENNEDY".
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum