The Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center Museum is
presently closed within the historic Union Station. We are preparing our move to Chicopee, Massachusetts, so please stay tuned for further announcements concerning the move and grand reopening of the FDR Center Museum as well as special programs and academic activities sponsored by the FDR Center Museum and Elms College. Below you will see photographs and a virtual tour of the way we were from 2004 to 2007 at Union Station. The best is yet to come as we relocate to the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.
President Roosevelt visited Union Station and Worcester, Massachusetts on multiple occasions.
Learn More about the many visits of President Roosevelt to Union Station.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage
Center Museum and Special Collection are homes to a large, diverse, and historically
significant collection of Roosevelt and New Deal materials. Let your New Deal adventure begin! Welcome to the Franklin D.
Roosevelt American Heritage Center and Museum.
We now proudly present some images of the FDR American
Heritage Center Museum gallery and exhibition within the historic Union Station of Worcester,
Massachusetts as it was between our grand opening on July 24, 2004 and our closing on June 16, 2007. During this almost three year period
thousands of visitors came to the FDR Center Museum to experience the era of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the New Deal. Once our move
to Chicopee, Massachusetts is completed, our museum gallery space will be almost three times what we had in Worcester, affording a much greater
ability to share our precious New Deal collection with you. So please stay tuned for announcements about our grand re-opening in the Pioneer Valley, and
the establishment of the Roosevelt Public Policy Institute at Elms College in Chicopee.
Below you will be able to get an overview of Union Station and the FDR American
Heritage Center Museum, including a stunning lithograph of Union Station from the 1920s (third image down), photographs of
the restored Great Hall of Union Station, as well as more detailed description of just a small number of
the historic items that were on display in Worcester from July, 2004 to June, 2007 at the FDR American Heritage Center Museum. Enjoy!
Visit the Henry Hobson Richardson Room of the Thomas Crane Public Library, 40 Washington Street in Quincy, Massachusetts, the home of the Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center Special Collection.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center Museum also has items on loan to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The FDR American Heritage Center Museum and Special Collection
showcase one of the finest primary source documentary and other artifact
collection of materials related to
FDR, ER, and the New Deal in the world. Further, the FDR American Heritage
Center develops and promotes curricula to integrate into primary and secondary
educational settings, so that the New Deal era will be taught more
substantively and effectively to children and other students of all
The FDR American Heritage Center, therefore, not only functions as a major Museum consortium,
but also as an educational outreach center devoted to teaching people
about the legacy of FDR and the New Deal.
Please join a dedicated group of individuals
working hard to make the Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center,
Inc. a reality. Please send us your tax-deductible DONATION! Making
a contribution is easy, just go to Join Us
and click on the Make a Donation button. We are at a critical juncture,
and your help and support would be greatly appreciated today.
You may also view and print our FDR Center Membership Application
and assist us in fulfilling our mission by making a fully tax-deductible contribution to the Franklin
D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center, Inc.
Alternatively, you can send a check or money
The Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage
44 Hickory Lane
Whitinsville, MA 01588-1356 U.S.A.
A major art collection related to President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Madame Elizabeth Shoumatoff's watercolor proof studies for her famous unfinished portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, executed in FDR's final hours. Shown above is one of the portraits of FDR in this precious art collection, and the last finished portrait of President Roosevelt before his death on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.
These are the most storied and famous images of a sitting President in the history of the Presidency of the United States.
These three watercolors from the estate of Elizabeth Shoumatoff are the painter's equivalent of a writer's outline, a rough draft of a novel's opening paragraphs. Used to think out matters of color, composition, and depth, they allowed the artist to map her painting before putting her brush to the final canvas. These stunning images of FDR were created over the three days that Shoumatoff spent as FDR's guest in Warm Springs, Georgia in April, 1945, the last three days of President Roosevelt's life. Certainly she used them when making the two portraits of FDR she executed after 1945, one which she donated to the Little White House, and the other which she created at the request of Lyndon Johnson for the Executive Mansion in Washington in 1967.
Each watercolor is archivally matted and framed in goldleaf, and each of the three watercolor proof studies of FDR is progressively more detailed, the third being a magnificent finished likeness to FDR in his last days, wearing his naval cape and grasping a scroll in his left hand. The first two watercolors framed measure 16 ˝ x 24," and the third measures 20 ˝ x 24 ˝." These historic watercolors not only give us glimpses into the artist's conception of the final work, but also give testimony to a remarkable friendship that sprang up quickly-yet deeply-between artist and subject. Shoumatoff was FDR's sort of woman: well-born, worldly, attractive, pleasant and good humored, but for Shoumatoff, a Republican, Roosevelt was hardly a knight in shining armor. Prior to 1943, she only knew the public actor, the bane of the business class, whom Shoumatoff had been painting for over twenty years since her arrival in America as a refugee from Bolshevik terror. Her family of émigrés had all made it big in America. Her husband-before he drowned in a swimming accident in the late 1920s-had become an executive in the Sikorsky aviation company while her brother, himself a painter and a lepidopterist, became curator of the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. They blended easily into the social and political world of the conservative upper class, and it was while summering in the Catskills in the early 1920s, that Shoumatoff first rubbed elbows with America's leading capitalists, and began painting them and their families. She soon built herself quite a successful career painting the economic royalists – Fords, Fricks, Kodaks, Mellons, five whole generations of Firestones – and she no doubt heard many an anti-Roosevelt uttering out of the mouths of her subjects during sittings. She liked to keep her subjects animated, it kept their faces lively, and discussing that man in the White House was sure to bring color to corporate cheeks.
So Madame Shoumatoff was taken aback one day in 1943 when her friend and client Lucy Mercer Rutherford said to her, "You should really paint the President. He has such a remarkable face. There is no painting of him that gives his true expression. I think you could do a wonderful portrait, and he would be such an interesting person to paint! Would you do a portrait of him if it was arranged?" Aside from worrying whether FDR would sit for a rock-ribbed Republican, Shoumatoff was uneasy about the rumors she had heard – that Lucy had been FDR's mistress many years before. Would an artist commissioned by the President's former love really be allowed to paint the chief magistrate? "You know him then?" was Shoumatoff's first, anxious response. "Oh, very well," Lucy replied. "Tell me," Shoumatoff said, "is he sincere?" Very much, Lucy assured her. Sensing that Lucy would smooth the way, Shoumatoff overcame her hesitancy – Presidential commissions didn't come along every day, after all – and she agreed. Lucy called the White House and made the arrangements. Roosevelt would sit for two days, in two weeks time. "There was no backing out," Shoumatoff recalled thinking. "I was trapped into something I had neither wished for nor planned." When she arrived at the White House two weeks later and "saw his smile and the familiar voice, I knew that Lucy must have spoken well of me…. He was very cheerful and perfectly unconcerned about the whole thing."
Shoumatoff "perched rather uncomfortably" in a chair next to him and started to sketch. FDR began telling the story of an earlier sitting he gave to a Mexican artist, who posed him alongside a roaring fireplace – fireside chats was the theme – and "there I was," Roosevelt said, "sitting by a fireplace with two little cactus plants on the side for Mexican atmosphere, and the red glow of the fire reflecting on my face. All I could name it was Roosevelt in Hell!" That broke the ice. Shoumatoff then told her story of the devout painter who, after painting Pope Leo XIII, asked his subject to inscribe some appropriate scriptural phrase on the canvas. The pontiff, pausing for a moment at the likeness, chose, "It is I. Be not afraid." Shoumatoff hoped that would not be necessary in this case. They were soon fast friends, laughing and swapping stories-Shoumatoff's Russian background reminded FDR of the ingrate royalty he rescued from Europe, who then expected to live high on the hog, at government expense, in America. Had Shoumatoff ever heard the story of how Roosevelt once punched out a Prussian officer on a train to Berlin? He regaled her with the tale (Mother Roosevelt wanted the window open, Prussian wanted it closed, Franklin to the rescue). Shoumatoff – her political and personal anxieties long since fled – now felt free enough to joke about the President's clothes. Too bad his gray suit and blue tie were so dull. Dramatic clothing she wanted? The President knew just the thing and called for the famous Brooks Brothers navy cape, a perfect addition, but now the time for the sitting was up.
They resumed the following day, Shoumatoff so at ease that she forgot her identification, and was surprised to be stopped at the White House gate (Tully vouched her). She and FDR smoked and chatted. Somehow religion came up – Shoumatoff was an exceedingly devout Orthodox Christian – and Roosevelt delightedly told the story of how he had mercilessly teased Maxim Litvinoff about his atheism. The folds and details in the cape were requiring a lot of attention, and she begged the President for a third day's sitting. He agreed to cut his next day's lunch hour in half and Shoumatoff realized a stand-in could model the cape just as well, so White House Communications Director, William D. Simmons was volunteered to sit, freeing Shoumatoff to devote the third day exclusively to Roosevelt's face. Overall, Shoumatoff was pleased with the finished work. It was small, 10 x 12," at Roosevelt's request, and she had chosen to avoid the familiar image of the jaunty smile, thinking "an expression of earnest seriousness…more desirable." But she later agreed with the judgment of Bill Hassett, and others, that the first portrait was "too pretty." It was also too static, and missed something of the force and dynamism of Roosevelt's character. The playfulness and liveliness of the sittings had not quite made it onto the canvas. Others thought it too small, and Roosevelt agreed to someday commission a second, larger portrait from Shoumatoff, for the White House or Hyde Park. The President invited Shoumatoff and her brother Andrey to lunch at Hyde Park in July, and it was now Andrey's turn to lose his political and personal misgivings in the face of Roosevelt's disarming charm. The two men discovered a common interest in the occult. Andrey was struck by the bust of Nicholas Roerich, a famous Russian spiritualist, which he saw perched on Roosevelt's shelf. Long after the visit, Roosevelt and Andrey would exchange letters about Russian iconography. In mid-March 1945, after making one of her discreet visits to the White House, Lucy Rutherford reported to Shoumatoff that "there was somebody who asked very much about you" during her trip. Shoumatoff wondered aloud about that second portrait, and Lucy said, somewhat ominously, "if this portrait is to be painted, it should not be postponed."
Shoumatoff knew the President was in poor health, but she was still shocked when she saw him in Greenville, Georgia, just outside of Warm Springs, late on the afternoon of Monday, April 9, 1945. Shoumatoff herself was not in the best of conditions that day. She had had a long, difficult two-day drive down from New York in the company of her photographer, Nicholas Robbins, a fussy, eccentric man, but a reliable collaborator and fellow Russian émigré whom Shoumatoff had used often. "He was a character," Shoumatoff remembered, "and I always felt guilty for getting irritated with him and for making fun of him." They picked up Lucy at Aiken South Carolina, headed for Warm Springs, and promptly got lost. Roosevelt had planned to meet them at Macon at 4 o'clock, but they were hours late, Shoumatoff's nerves fraying by the second – she had given up smoking for Lent – chomping on candies and barely able to suppress her anger at Robbins's constant chatter and misguided directions. No one was there at Macon when they finally arrived so they kept on towards Warm Springs, turning a corner into Greenville, where they saw Roosevelt in his car, surrounded by a small crowd, sipping on a Coca-Cola bottle. Roosevelt's face lit up at the site of Lucy, but Shoumatoff's heart sank at the President's haggard appearance. "My first thought was: how could I make a portrait of such a sick man." Roosevelt's spirits were better than his appearance, and at dinner on the 9th he delighted the table with his Churchill imitation. When someone asked about Stalin he said "he was quite a jolly fellow. But I am convinced he poisoned his wife!" The sitting for the final portrait began on the morning of Tuesday, the 10th. Shoumatoff had no idea how she wanted to pose him, and when she went downstairs to see him at noon, her consternation was heightened by finding Roosevelt sitting with Tully and Lucy outside on the patio. "We thought this location might be better for your painting," Tully said. But Shoumatoff hated outdoor painting, the light was all wrong. Yet Roosevelt seemed so relaxed she didn't want to move him back indoors just for her sake, so she made a go of it, later reflecting that she might have made more progress – perhaps even completed the portrait – if she had not been thrown off stride by the outdoor sitting on the first day: "if it had not been for that moment of weakness," as she later put it. The portrait is indeed more finished than unfinished, and Wendell Parks of the FDR Library thinks the "relative completeness" of the work suggests that Shoumatoff worked on it in-between sittings on the 10th and the 11th. Roosevelt gave her a couple of hours each of those mornings, and the rest of the time she would have consulted the photos Robbins took for her on the morning of the 10th. She thought the first batch that Robbins shot came out "terrible" so she "begged" FDR to sit for another set of shots on the 11th. The pose and the arrangement in our watercolors matches those of the shots Robbins took on the 10th: FDR in his cape, holding a scroll symbolizing the UN Charter. This gives credence to the view that our watercolors may have been created on April 10th or April 11th, before Shoumatoff had to hand the second batch of photos Robbins shot, which had Roosevelt sitting in his study, without the cape or scroll, wearing his double-breasted gray suit.
Those poignant last photos show the weak, slightly vacant expression on FDR's face. His poor health cast a pall over the entire week, and just as Roosevelt's ill-fated trip back from Yalta was filled with death and tragedy, so too did an air of dark foreboding hover behind the warmth and relaxation of those final days in Warm Springs. On the 11th, Shoumatoff learned that her brother Andrey had suffered a heart attack. Henry Morgenthau's wife and Anna Roosevelt's son were both gravely sick that trip as well, and one of Lucy's stepsons had been wounded in action and was recovering in an army hospital. When Shoumatoff awoke on the morning of the 12th, she turned, as was her custom, to a book of religious reflections. The "Daily Word" for April 12, 1945 counseled, "If circumstances look foreboding, if events seem to follow a course that could be disastrous to my best interests, I should have no fear." When she went downstairs Roosevelt was signing documents, with Bill Hassett hovering his shoulder. Papers already signed were spread across the floor for the ink to dry, "my laundry," Roosevelt called it. Shoumatoff offered to postpone that day's sitting. "Oh no," FDR replied, "I'll be through in a few moments and will be ready for you." She thought "he looked cheerful and full of pep," and later resented Hassett's claims that the artist fussed her subject too much that morning, tilting his head this way and that, raising the President's stress level. But Roosevelt was relaxed throughout. She "started, as usual, with the eyes." At times his gaze got distracted, even a little vacant, and Shoumatoff tried to rally his attention with a surefire gambit: stamps. Had he seen the new India issue? "In a little while the eyes were placed and a familiar expression began to show. But it was not quite the look I was accustomed to during the past few days. The President seemed so absorbed, with the papers or something else, that when he would look up at my request, his gaze had a faraway aspect and was completely solemn." He brightened momentarily when Lucy or Margaret Suckley would say something from their perch on the couch, off to the side. Someone brought in a glass of green medicine. What on earth was that for, Shoumatoff asked. "To increase appetite," was Roosevelt's laconic reply. When the butler brought in a bowl of oatmeal a few minutes later, however, he waved it away. "We have fifteen minutes more to work," Roosevelt told her as a steward prepared the table for luncheon. Then the President passed his hand over his forehead. Shoumatoff consistently held ever afterwards that he never said anything about a headache or pain, or anything at all for that matter, after the "we have fifteen minutes more" comment. His head simply slumped forward listlessly. "Lucy, Lucy," Shoumatoff cried out, "something has happened!" She knocked her easel and tools over in a panicky rush to alert the Secret Service agent nearby. All was bedlam in an instant. A group of men now carried Roosevelt to the bedroom. "I could not see exactly who was carrying him but I will never forget that silhouette on the background of the open door to the sunny porch." Lucy suddenly said to her, "We must pack and go. The family is arriving by plane and the rooms must be vacant. We must get to Aiken before dark."
Shoumatoff, Lucy, Robbins (who had been in another room and did not know what had happened), and the Unfinished Portrait, were packed into a car and driving away in a matter of minutes. They had just been present at one of the momentous pivots in world history, one with which their names would be associated forever. Yet the instant they left the Little White House, things descended from grand tragedy to low comedy. Nonplussed at the crying women beside him in the car, Robbins kept asking what was the matter. Not wanting to reveal their secret they lied and said Lucy had heard bad news about her son in hospital. They drove on in grieving silence, stopping in a nearby town where the news of FDR's death had already spread. "Another tragedy!" Robbins exclaimed, shaking his head. Back on the road, they tuned in the car radio and heard the solemn tones of H. V. Kaltenborn report that "An architect was making sketches at the time of Roosevelt's death." An architect! "Here it comes," Shoumatoff thought to herself, shuddering. "My name will be flashed all over the world." Could they at least get my occupation right! They made it to Aiken by nightfall, and Shoumatoff called her daughter in New York to get the latest news. The reports now claimed the President died while having his portrait painted by a famous Russian artist, a Mr. Robbins! Telling Lucy the news, the two women dissolved their stress and grief in a long, nearly hysterical fit of laughter. Setting out for New York with the renowned Mr. Robbins the next day, Shoumatoff's trip kept getting weirder. They saw the slow moving Presidential train lumbering past at a southern crossroads, where a policeman approached them and briefly interrogated them. Learning the names of the passengers he said in awestruck tones, "Are you the Mr. Robbins, the artist?" Robbins bowed his head in silent assent and drove on. Back in New York at last, Robbins decided to stop and pick up his mail before bringing Shoumatoff out to her home on Long Island, but the press had yet to be disabused of Robbins's fame, and they were camped outside his apartment. When he tore away at high speed, the news hounds were fast on his heels. "As we zigged and zagged through Harlem," Shoumatoff remembered, "I did not know whether to cry or to laugh." They finally lost their pursuers on the Triborough Bridge, with Robbins's evasive maneuvers having sent Shoumatoff to the floor of the car in a heap. She decided to laugh. And "by this time I was laughing so that I could not stop." Within a few days the press finally got the story straight, and Shoumatoff held a brief press conference to satiate their curiosity, and to close off any further inquiries about that dreadful day. She never revealed Lucy Rutherford's presence of course-and credited Robbins for keeping the secret as well. In the early 1960s she went back to Warm Springs as just another tourist, donning sunglasses, and paying for her ticket like everyone else. There were few other visitors, and a guide began chatting with her. "Have you been here before?" he asked. "Yes," she replied, "on different occasions." She listened as the guard told the story of April 12, 1945, getting it pretty nearly right. He even knew the story of the portrait: the artist had refused to show it to anyone for some time, but the New York Daily News offered her $25,000 to run a photo of it, and she accepted. She donated the unfinished painting here, to the Little White House, where it sits on the same chair where Roosevelt posed. Madame Shoumatoff executed a second, completed version of the portrait, which she also donated to Warm Springs in 1960. "Of course, Mrs. Shoumatoff is a very old lady now," the guard concluded, "but I understand she still paints." "Good for her!" the visitor exclaimed.
Also included are two of the original, full color prints reproduced from the original Unfinished Portrait, and copyrighted to Elizabeth Shoumatoff, 1945. One of these prints is truly exceptional, for in the right hand corner, above "Limited First Edition," Shoumatoff writes in her own hand: "Retouched/ E.S." Therefore, the artist herself took brush to this print and as such transformed it into yet another original Shoumatoff painting associated with FDR's last hours! Both limited edition prints are framed in gold leaf and measure 15 ˝ x 18 ˝." This rarest artistic set of mementos from the time of FDR's death on April 12, 1945, is a cornerstone of this FDR Collection.
One of the earliest and rarest primary source historical documents relating to the Hyde Park, New York Roosevelt family in America, and FDR's beloved Hyde Park home and land, now a national historical site: the Seventeenth Century Indian (Native American) Deed conveying 15,000 acres of land to a group of early and notable Dutch settlers in the Hudson River Valley of New York that would later become FDR's Hyde Park estate!
The 1696 Indian Land Deed Manuscript DS is in Old Dutch, 4pps on 3 leaves, New York, June 24, 1696, translated. The Agreement is penned in gunpowder ink between Hendrick ten Eyck and five Indian Chiefs, whose pictorial totem signatures adorn this document next to red wax seals. The most important of the Indian signatories is Nimham (fl. 1667-1744), whose totem resembles a ghost waving a hand. Also called "Squahikkon" or "Quahiccon," he was a member of an influential Wappinger Indian family and was likely an ancestor of Daniel Nimham, a famed Wappinger Chief who with his son, was killed fighting on the American side during the Revolutionary War. Also signed by Stephanus Van Cortlandt (1643-1700), one of New York's largest landholders who held every major office in New York except Governor; David Jamison (1660-1739) who became Chief Justice of New Jersey, and Meyndert Harmense, the surviving owner of the Sanders-Harmense Patent which bordered on the tract herein described, which ultimately became the city of Poughkeepsie, New York. Harmense's father, Dr. Harmense Myndert van den Bogaerdt, had served as surgeon at Fort Orange in Albany, New York. The document, translated, reads: "Hendrick ten Eijeck has come to an agreement with some Indians, rightful owners of the land and a waterway called Aquasing, called the Viskil by us; this land begins on the north side of the Viskil at the marker trees of Paling; these underwritten Indians sell to Hendrick ten Eijck all this...land with the Viskil and all other waterways until Meyndert Harmense's property; this aforesaid land reaches to the east until the Valkil [Fallkil] of Meyndert Harmense and to the west until Hutson's [Hudson's] River." Signed with their totems by the Native American Proprietors: Nimham; Willem; Mattasiwanck; Quagan; and Rapawees. Further, "This was signed and confirmed in the presence of Meyndert Harmense and his wife, and submitted by the Indians to Hendrick ten Eijck as witness." Meyndert Marmense and Lenne Meynders pen their signatures beneath.
Thereafter is listed the payment rendered to the Native Americans, being 5 kettles; Rugs 4; another 8 shirts; Blankets 4; another 8 pairs of stockings; Duffels 4; Gunpowder 12 lbs; Lead 25 staves; Guns 4; Sewant [wampum] 300 guilders, black and white; Axes 12; Knives 20; Tobacco 2 rolls; Adzes 12; 1 barrel of cider; 1 half barrel of good beer; 2 hats; 1 anker of rum; 2 fine coats; 2 shirts, fine; and 2 pair of stocking [defect]. Stephanus van Cortlandt pens and ornately signs his endorsement in English, "One of the Justices of the Supreme Court of this Province, Meyndert Harmense and Helena Harmense, and being sworn upon the holy [Scriptures] said, that they were witnesses to the within deed, and saw the Indians therein named..." David Jamison also pens an endorsement recording the Deed. The document concludes with the statement, June 25, 1696, "Thus the rightful owners went with Jan Oostroom and Tijs Geraetse and conveyed the land and the Viskill, along with all the other waterways up to Meyndert Harmense's property; the land is called Aquasing..." Signed with the marks of Jan Oostroom; and Tijs Geraetsz. With final signatory, Meyndert Harmensz, who witnesses, "This was signed in the presence of the rightful owners and me." Docketed on verso in English, "The original agree[ment] or first Indian purch[ase] made by Ten Eyck 24[th June] 1696 in Dutch." Four partial fold separations with paper loss affecting only a few words; normal toning; occasional light foxing.
Handsomely matted and framed beside printed engraving of an early Native American warrior and descriptive text that gives the viewer of this magnificent piece of history an overview of the deed and its Dutch colonial and Native American signatories, conveying the land that would become FDR's Springwood and the town of Hyde Park, New York, from Native American to Dutch colonial hands for the first time in history. Overall the presentation piece measures 40 ˝ x 26 3/4." The deed is accompanied by a complete translation; and map of Crown Patent Grants awarded in Colonial Dutchess County, 1685-1706 (Based on the map in McDermott, 1986: 2) referencing, among others, the Sanders & Harmense Patent. In the mid-eighteenth century, 1742, Jacobus Stoutenburgh, a wealthy area landowner, purchased much of the land described in this deed from the [Great] Nine Partners, and the area was known at that time by the family name. This tract, along with property north of Crum Elbow Creek eventually gave rise to Hyde Park, formally named in 1812, and established as a town in 1821. Early residents included the Stoutenburghs and Drs. John and Samuel Bard, physicians to President George Washington. Claes Martenszan van Rosenvelt, the original descendant of FDR who traveled to America from Holland (the Netherlands), arrived in New Amsterdam (Manhattan, now New York City) in 1649, only 47 years before the date of this deed transferring the Hyde Park and environs lands from the Native Americans to the Dutch colonial purchasers.
In 1867, James and his first wife Rebecca Howland Roosevelt moved to Hyde Park, New York. Fifteen years later, after the death of his first wife and his remarriage to Sara Delano Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born at Springwood in Hyde Park. At one point, FDR served as town historian, editing and publishing two books of early local records. Springwood, the family homestead on the Hudson River, was a peaceful retreat for FDR throughout his life and Presidency. FDR donated his home and 33 acres of the land conveyed in this 1696 land deed to the American people in 1943, on the condition that his family be allowed to use it after his death. It was transferred to the Department of the Interior on November 21, 1945, after the family relinquished their lifetime rights. The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, which contains 290 acres, is administered by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. After moving to Hyde Park in 1867, FDR's father James Roosevelt bought the house at Springwood. It was a large farmhouse built around 1800, but James, and later Sara and FDR, transformed it into something grander. The previous owner had already built a three-story tower and a full-length covered porch. James added two rooms, enlarged the servants' wing, and built a large carriage house for his prized horses and carriages. Franklin also planted many varieties of trees on the grounds, eventually turning large sections of the estate into an experimental forestry station. Franklin had a lifelong interest in trees, beginning with specimen plantings he made with his father in the 1880s. After 1911, FDR began large scale plantings of his own, later entering into an agreement with the Forestry Department of Syracuse University to use the wood lots at Springwood as an experimental forestry station. Almost half a million trees were planted at Springwood between 1911-1945. FDR took pride in the fact that he could contribute timber to the war effort after 1941. President Roosevelt's interest in trees, and in conservation in general, played an important part in the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps, still regarded as one of the most successful New Deal programs. The cluttered Living Room and Library reflects the eclectic decorating style of FDR and his mother Sara. A melange of family heirlooms, European and Oriental antiques and American department store furnishings created an impressive yet comfortable room. FDR spent countless hours at his corner desk working with his stamps, rigging a model ship or pursuing a newly acquired rare book. His collections were impressive: a personal library of 14,000 volumes; more than 2,000 naval paintings, prints and lithographs; more than 200 model ships; 1.2 million stamps; more than 300 mounted bird specimens and thousands of coins, banknotes, campaign buttons and medallions.
Located just below Crum Elbow Creek, the FDR estate sits on the land originally conveyed by the Native Americans to the Dutch colonial settlers in this 1696 deed, which is now a national historical site. Provenance for this unique, rare, and historical deed is from the Frank T. Siebert Library of the North American Indian and American Frontier; Sotheby's, New York, Friday, May 21, 1999. The ghost Indian Totem signature on this 1696 deed was actually used as the inside cover artwork for Sotheby's two day auction. A one of a kind, fantastic, and historical item that conveyed the lands that would later become Hyde Park and Springwood from its Native American owners to the Dutch colonial settlers who populated this area of New York, land that would later be bought by the Roosevelt family, and the land in which FDR was born, and is buried along with his wife Eleanor Roosevelt at the national historical site at Hyde Park, New York.
A wonderful, unique, and
historical personal item belonging to FDR, the hat he wore at the
1943 Teheran Conference during World War II where the three leaders
of the principal Allied powers, the United States, United Kingdom,
and Soviet Union, met and conferred on Allied war strategy for the
first time. FDRs straw-colored, linen Panama hat with black
band was manufactured by C.A. Arcentales, Ecuador, and is in pristine
condition, with Franklin D. Roosevelt embossed in gold
letters on the interior sweatband of this hat worn by FDR at the historic
1943 Teheran Conference.
FDRs famous hat is accompanied by notarized provenance from
Gary Entrup, State Highway Patrolman, and son of Lester and Marge
Entrup, Eleanor Roosevelts Hyde Park, New York housekeepers,
attesting to the hats authenticity and historic association.
Mr. Entrups notarized signed statement, dated March 10, 1997
reads: This is to certify that I, Gary Entrup, am the son of
Mr. And Mrs. Lester Entrup who served as Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelts
handymen, cooks, and housekeepers for approximately fifteen years
at her residence Val-Kill, in Hyde Park, New York. I personally spent
many hours at Val-Kill assisting my mother at parties, in painting,
and in other household chores. My parents and I obviously knew Mrs.
Roosevelt very well, and over the years my parents were given by Mrs.
Roosevelt many of Franklin D. Roosevelts personal possessions.
Upon the death of my parents, I inherited many of these items, including
a straw-colored linen Panama hat with black band made by C. A. Arcentales,
Ecuador, with his name Franklin D. Roosevelt embossed
in gold letters on the interior sweat band. I was told by my mother
that Mrs. Roosevelt had told her that this particular hat had been
worn by Franklin Roosevelt at the Teheran Conference in 1943. It has
been one of my favorite souvenirs of Mr. Roosevelt./ Gary Entrup/
March 10, 1997/ Kristen B. Hummel/ Notary Public/ My Commission Expires
Dec. 31, 2001/ Notary Stamp. A wonderful letter of provenance
attesting to the authenticity of FDRs hat worn at the historic
Teheran Conference during World War II. Further, included are copies
of two letters from John A. Roosevelt, the youngest child of FDR and
ER, plus a copy of the first two pages of ERs Probate Notice
of her Last Will and Testament wherein Lester and Marge Entrup are
included as beneficiaries, demonstrating the legitimacy of the Entrups
intimate association with the Roosevelts. A wonderfully unique and
historically important FDR relic with outstanding provenance.
The historic and vastly significant international conference at Teheran,
Iran, for which FDR wore this hat, took place between November 28
and December 1, 1943. The conference was the first full face to face
meeting between the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt,
the British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, and the Soviet Premier
Joseph Stalin. The chief discussion centered on the second front
in wartime Europe. Stalin agreed to an eastern offensive to coincide
with the forthcoming invasions of German-occupied France. Though military
questions were dominant, the Tehran Conference saw more discussion
of political issues than had occurred in any previous meeting between
Allied governmental heads. Not only did Stalin repeat his desire that
the Soviet Union should retain the frontiers provided by the German-Soviet
Nonaggression Pact of 1939 and by the Russo-Finnish Treaty of 1940,
but he also stated that it would want in addition the Baltic coast
of East Prussia. Though the settlement for Germany was discussed at
length, all three Allied leaders appeared uncertain; their views were
imprecise on the topic of a postwar international organization; and
on the Polish question the Western Allies and the Soviet Union found
themselves in sharp dissension, when Stalin expressed his continued
distaste for the London Polish government. On Iran, which Allied forces
were partly occupying, they were able to agree on a declaration (published
on December 1, 1943) guaranteeing the postwar independence and territorial
integrity of that state and promising postwar economic assistance.
The actual declarations from the Teheran Conference read:
THE TEHERAN CONFERENCE/
(United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union) Agreements on War
and Peace. December 1, 1943)/ DECLARATION OF THE THREE POWERS/ We-The
President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Great Britain,
and the Premier of the Soviet Union, have met these four days past,
in this, the Capital of our Ally, Iran, and have shaped and confirmed
our common policy./ We express our determination that our nations
shall work together in war and in the peace that will follow./ As
to war-our military staffs have joined in our round table discussions,
and we have concerted our plans for the destruction of the German
forces. We have reached complete agreement as to the scope and timing
of the operations to be undertaken from the east, west and south./
The common understanding which we have here reached guarantees that
victory will be ours./ And as to peace-we are sure that our concord
will win an enduring Peace. We recognize fully the supreme responsibility
resting upon us and all the United Nations to make a peace which
will command the good will of the overwhelming mass of the peoples
of the world and banish the scourge and terror of war for many generations./
With our Diplomatic advisors we have surveyed the problems of the
future. We shall seek the cooperation and active participation of
all nations, large and small, whose peoples in heart and mind are
dedicated, as are our own peoples, to the elimination of tyranny
and slavery, oppression and intolerance. We will welcome them, as
they may choose to come, into a world family of Democratic Nations./
No power on earth can prevent our destroying the German armies by
land, their U Boats by sea, and their war plants from the air./
Our attack will be relentless and increasing./ Emerging from these
cordial conferences we look with confidence to the day when all
peoples of the world may live free lives, untouched by tyranny,
and according to their varying desires and their own consciences./
We came here with hope and determination. We leave here, friends
in fact, in spirit and in purpose./ DECLARATION OF THE THREE POWERS
REGARDING IRAN/ The President of the United States, the Premier
of the U.S.S.R., and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, having
consulted with each other and with the Prime Minister of Iran, desire
to declare the mutual agreement of their three Governments regarding
their relations with Iran./ The Governments of the United States,
the U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom recognize the assistance which
Iran has given in the prosecution of the war against the common
enemy, particularly by facilitating the transportation of supplies
from overseas to the Soviet Union./ The Three Governments realize
that the war has caused special economic difficulties for Iran,
and they are agreed that they will continue to make available to
the Government of Iran such economic assistance as may be possible,
having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide
military operations and to the world-wide shortage of transport,
raw materials, and supplies for civilian consumption./ With respect
to the post-war period, the Governments of the United States, the
U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom are in accord with the Government
of Iran that any economic problems confronting Iran at the close
of hostilities should receive full consideration, along with those
of other members of the United Nations, by conferences or international
agencies held or created to deal with international economic matters./
The Governments of the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the United
Kingdom are at one with the Government of Iran in their desire for
the maintenance of the independence, sovereignty and territorial
integrity of Iran. They count upon the participation of Iran, together
with all other peace-loving nations, in the establishment of international
peace, security and prosperity after the war, in accordance with
the principles of the Atlantic Charter, to which all four Governments
have subscribed./ WINSTON S. CHURCHILL/ J. STALIN/ FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT.
Truly a one of a kind, historical, and fabulous
item from FDR worn during this major conference, and featured in many
photographs of the President during this critical period of World
A fabulous, unique, and historical personal
item belonging to FDR, the wristwatch he wore at the 1945 Yalta Conference
during World War II where the three leaders of the principal Allied
powers, the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union, met and
conferred on Allied war strategy for the last time, shortly before
FDR's death on April 12, 1945. The wristwatch, manufactured by
Tiffany & Company, with a leather strap, was presented to President
Roosevelt by five newsmen who covered the White House, including his
son-in-law John Boettiger, Jr., the second husband of FDR's daughter
Anna. The back of the watch is engraved "Franklin Delano Roosevelt
with Loyalty, Respect and Affection, January 30, 1945." FDR died
ten weeks later on April 12, 1945. The watch was worn regularly by
FDR during the last two months of his life, including to the Yalta
Conference in February, 1945, and he may have been wearing this wristwatch
when he died on April 12, 1945 at Warm Springs, Georgia. The wristwatch
was obtained from John Roosevelt Boettiger, the son of Anna Roosevelt
and John Boettiger, Jr., and the grandson of FDR and ER.
The Yalta conference in which FDR wore this special Tiffany &
Company wristwatch was held February 4 to February 11, 1945. The major
Allied leaders met at Yalta in the Crimea to plan the final defeat
and occupation of Nazi Germany. It had already been decided that Germany
would be divided into occupied zones administered by United States,
British, French, and Soviet forces. The conferees accepted the principle
that the Allies had no duty toward the Germans except to provide minimum
subsistence, declared that the German military industry would be abolished
or confiscated, and agreed that major war criminals would be tried
before an international court, which subsequently presided at Nürnberg.
The determination of reparations was assigned to a commission. How
to deal with the defeated or liberated countries of eastern Europe
was the main problem discussed at the conference. The agreements reached,
which were accepted by Stalin, called for "interim governmental
authorities broadly representative of all democratic elements in the
population . . . and the earliest possible establishment through free
elections of governments responsive to the will of the people."
Britain and the United States supported a Polish government-in-exile
in London, while the Soviets supported a communist-dominated Polish
committee of national liberation in Lublin. Neither the Western Allies
nor the Soviet Union would change its allegiance, so they could only
agree that the Lublin committee would be broadened to include representatives
of other Polish political groups, upon which the Allies would recognize
it as a provisional government of national unity that would hold free
elections to choose a successor government. Poland's future frontiers
were also discussed but not decided.
Regarding the Far East, a secret protocol stipulated that, in return
for the Soviet Union's entering the war against Japan within "two
or three months" after Germany's surrender, the U.S.S.R. would
regain the territory lost to Japan in the Russo-Japanese War of 19041905,
and the status quo in pro-Soviet Outer Mongolia would be maintained.
Stalin agreed to sign a pact of alliance and friendship with China.
The United Nations organization charter had already been drafted,
and the conferees worked out a compromise formula for voting in the
Security Council. The Soviets withdrew their claim that all 16 Soviet
republics should have membership in the General Assembly. After the
agreements reached at Yalta were made public in 1946, they were harshly
criticized in the United States. This was because, as events turned
out, Stalin failed to keep his promise that free elections would be
held in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Instead,
communist governments were established in all those countries, noncommunist
political parties were suppressed, and genuinely democratic elections
were never held. At the time of the Yalta Conference, both Roosevelt
and Churchill had trusted Stalin and believed that he would keep his
word. Neither leader had suspected that Stalin intended that all the
Popular Front governments in Europe would be taken over by communists.
Roosevelt and Churchill were further inclined to assent to the Yalta
agreements because they assumed, mistakenly as it turned out, that
Soviet assistance would be sorely needed to defeat the Japanese in
the Pacific and Manchuria. In any case, the Soviet Union was the military
occupier of eastern Europe at the war's end, and so there was little
the Western democracies could do to enforce the promises made by Stalin
at Yalta. Truly a one of a kind, historical, and fabulous item from
FDR worn during this last major conference, and featured in many photographs
of the President during this critical period of World War II, a wristwatch
FDR may have also been wearing when he died at Warm Springs, Georgia,
on April 12, 1945.
Perhaps the most intimate relic of Franklin
and Eleanor Roosevelt extant: their original signed handprints complete
with palmistry readings. Also included are the original signed
handprints of the First Family, Vice President, and other notables
in the FDR era in American history. This amazing Roosevelt collection
includes the extraordinary original Roosevelt handprints with full
character sketches from the autographed impressions of the hands of
President and Mrs. Roosevelt by the palmist Mrs. Nellie Simmons Meier.
This unbelievable collection also includes the original autographed
handprints of Roosevelt family members, two Vice Presidents, and others
in the Roosevelt Administration. There are also four letters in the
original signed by Eleanor Roosevelt and one letter in the original
signed by the Secretary to the President, Stephen T. Early, written
in the fall of 1937 to Mrs. Meier, referencing her visit to the White
House, as well as copies of Mrs. Meiers letters back to the
White House. It is said that the fate of the Nation lies in the hands
of the President of the United States. Understandably, then, it may
be in the best interests of the American public to have a true sense
of those hands and what they represent. Mrs. Meiers unpublished
study on the Roosevelts, a copy of the first page of which is also
included in this collection, reads:
Rarely have I looked in
the hands of a family where outstanding characteristics seem to
have been handed down, literally, from father, mother to children.
FDR was aptly curious to have his hands read,
but it was only after First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt scheduled her own
meeting with the noted palmist that the President, as well as his
family and associates, jumped onto the handwagon as well.
The date was February 26, 1937, when palmist Nellie Simmons Meier
arrived at the White House for a private session with Eleanor. By
the time Meier left the White House two and a half hours later, she
had lent her services to ER, ERs daughter-in-law Betsy Cushing
Roosevelt, Franklin, Jr., and his fiancee and even one of the Presidents
personal secretaries. In addition, she had scheduled to return on
March 1, 1937 to perform a reading of the hands of FDR and his political
confidants. All told, Meier took hand stampings of twelve people in
the White House, and it is those twenty four original handprints (right
and left hands, signed) that constitute the fabulous handprint and
palmistry reading collection of the First Family and their intimate
associates as part of this FDR Collection.
Each print appears on a separate piece of 6 3/4 x 7 ½
paper that is dated and signed by its respective subject. FDR and
ER have bestowed their exemplars with beautiful bold pencil signatures
that grade 10 in strength. Accompanying the readings of
the President and the First Lady are Meiers analyses. The 13-page
interpretation of FDRs hands contains the following summary
by Mrs. Meier:
Rarely have I looked at
hands in which the markings showed such a wide range of ideas, such
great vitality and such ease of accomplishment along so many avenues
of physical and mental activity. His palm has a resilience that
shows his versatility and ability to conform to the requirements
of circumstances, environment and people.
The 11-page interpretation of ERs hands
focuses on her civic duty, limitless altruism and appreciation of
the arts. Additional autographed palm prints (without readings) include:
John A. Roosevelt (son), FDR, Jr., (son), a copy of the prints of
James Roosevelt (son), Betsy Cushing Roosevelt (daughter-in-law),
Ethel P. DuPont (daughter-in-law), Melvina Thompson Scheider (Eleanors
personal secretary), John Nance Garner (Vice President in FDRs
first two terms), Marietta Rheiner Garner (wife of Vice President
John Nance Garner), Alben Barkley (United States Senate Democratic
leader from Kentucky and Vice President in Harry S. Trumans
Administration), Harold L. Ickes (Secretary of the Interior), Paul
V. McNutt (Indiana Governor and Philippines High Commissioner), Frederick
VanNuys (Indiana Senator), and Robert M. LaFollette, Jr. (Wisconsin
Senator). There are also several original newspaper clippings concerning
these noted personalities, obviously saved by Mrs. Meier to accompany
the handprints of these famous men and woman.
Also accompanying these one of a kind handprints are five typewritten
letters, three of which are on official White House stationery, which
pertain to the use of Meiers readings in her future publications.
Four are signed by ER and one is signed by FDRs secretary Stephen
T. Early. The first letter, dated August 17, 1937 on Val-Kill Cottages,
Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York stationery pertains to the delivery
of the readings by Mrs. Meier. The second letter, dated August 24,
1937 on White House Washington stationery signals ERs approval
of the palmistry readings, and ER writes:
I am returning the carbon
copy that you sent me and I see nothing in it that needs to be changed.
However, Mrs. Scheider thinks that from the way you have written
your sentence it might be supposed that I did not actually write
all the things which I dictated to her, and perhaps you could explain
that every word is dictated and does come out of my head even though
I did not actually write it.
The third letter, dated September 8, 1937
on Val-Kill Cottages, Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York stationery
indicates ERs interest in FDRs character sketch, and ER
writes: I shall be interested to get the Presidents sketch.
The fourth letter, dated October 7, 1937 on White House Washington
stationery, from Hyde Park, New York, has most interesting content.
The Presidents secretaries
are very much disturbed because they do not think it would be advisable
while the President is still in the White House, for your material
to appear either in your book or in the file of the Library of Congress./
I have told them that the Presidents understanding with you
was, as I remember it, that nothing would appear until after he
had left the White House and not until after he had edited and approved
what you were writing./ There is nothing in your analysis which
I find objectionable of course, but I can see that it might cause
a great deal of comment if it were to appear while my husband is
still in the White House.
Stephen T. Earlys follow-up letter to
Mrs. Meier, dated October 11, 1937 on White House Washington stationery,
reaffirms ERs earlier letter. Mr. Early writes to Mrs. Meier:
I find that you are under
a misunderstanding of the Presidents position with reference
to the use of the character sketch based upon a study of his hands.
Your courtesy in submitting your manuscript is greatly appreciated
but I must advise you that the President did not previously and
is unable now to give permission to publish this material in any
form./ The Presidents position all along has been that no
part of the material referring to him could be released in any form
while he is in public life nor after his relinquishment of his public
duties, except through specific permission to be granted if and
when circumstances in his judgment warrant. And of course this prohibition
also applies to the deposit of any of the material in question with
the Library of Congress./ I am sure upon reflection you will understand
why it was necessary for the President to impose the strict conditions
which I have outlined above and which conform to the general policy
from which there has been no deviation since he assumed office.
Included in this collection are also Mrs.
Meiers copies of the letters she sent back to the White House
from Tuckaway, her Indianapolis, Indiana home. In response
to ERs letter of October 7, 1937, Mrs. Meier responds:
I can see no reason for
the Presidents secretaries being disturbed since my letter
to the President enclosing the carbon copy left the matter entirely
in his hands, I much regret any worry it may have caused either
you or the President. Most assuredly I will give nothing out for
publication until after I have received the approval of President
Roosevelt, not even to the Congressional Library....Please assure
the Presidents secretaries that I will give nothing to the
public until he has edited and approved what I have written and
given his consent to use it.
To Stephen T. Earlys letter of October
11, 1937, Mrs. Meier responds:
I fully realize President
Roosevelts point of view, occupying as he does the highest
position in our great country, and I also appreciate the widespread
feeling about this topic among those who lack either the intelligence
or the tolerance necessary to make an investigation. I shall, therefore,
wait until after President Roosevelts voluntary retirement
from public office and, after that, his personal authorization to
use these impressions and character analysis.
Therefore, a most intriguing aspect of the
correspondences is that in Mr. Earlys letter and one of ERs
letters to Mrs. Meier, they clearly indicate that the Presidents
handprints and character sketch should not be released to the public
during FDRs tenure in office, and only under consent from Franklin
D. Roosevelt after leaving office.
An amazing and extremely rare and special World War II memento, a United States of America one dollar silver certificate (one dollar bill) series 1935 signed by FDR and several key advisors and aides en route to the historic Teheran Conference of Allied powers via Cairo, Egypt November 22, 1943.
The actual Teheran Conference of November 28 to December 1, 1943 followed FDR's meetings in Cairo with the major Allied war leaders: British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff for the Allied Powers. Franklin D. Roosevelt as President and Commander in Chief boldly signs the verso of the one dollar United States silver certificate , also signed by FDR's "Chief of Staff" Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, FDR's key advisor Harry L. Hopkins, FDR's Naval aide Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, FDR's physician Vice Admiral Ross McIntire, military aide and appointments secretary Major General E. M. "Pa" Watson and several others, including the crew members of the transport plane which flew the Presidential party from Tunis, Tunisia to Teheran, Iran, such as United States Army Major George H. Durno, and members of the Secret Service detail that accompanied the President, such as Robert R. Hastings. On the verso oblong at top of the one dollar silver certificate is the inscription: "Special Mission 22/11/43" under which the signatures follow in various ink styles. FDR writes his full signature two-thirds of the way down on the verso of the one dollar silver certificate in flowing black fountain pen ink.
Here is how FDR's "Chief of Staff" Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy describes this important and "Special Mission" in his book I was There on pages 195-196: "Roosevelt was in high spirits. He was looking forward to his first meeting with Premier Stalin. The President would use a plane when necessary, but a sea voyage was his favorite way of traveling. He had his mess in the captain's cabin where his personal staff – Harry Hopkins, Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, Dr. Ross McIntire, Major General E. M. ‘Pa' Watson, and I – had our meals with him. We usually had an apéritif before dinner and frequently saw a moving picture in the President's quarters immediately afterward. After dinner with Roosevelt, the entire Presidential party boarded a four-engine transport plane and left at 10:30 p.m. for Cairo. Sleeping in the chair of a transport plane was not restful, which is a polite understatement, and I was more than pleased when we landed at 9:30 a.m., Cairo time, November 22, on a British airfield about fifteen miles from the city. We had flown over a portion of the Sahara Desert, which gave one a picture of utter desolation, and then, a couple of hundred miles down the Nile Valley, where the land was green with fertility and humming with industry. My first view of the Pyramids from an altitude of 8,000 feet was disappointing, due to the reduction of their size by distance. When we reached Cairo we found that Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Mme. Chiang were already there and that the Prime Minister and his staff had been in Cairo for two days. We had no doubt that Churchill had used the two extra days to good advantage. The President and a few others of us were quartered at a villa belonging to United States Minister Kirk. We were looking forward to a busy and probably controversial conference. The Prime Minister, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten Hopkins, and I dined with the President the first night at Cairo. The Combined Chiefs came in after the meal and we got down to business quickly. Mountbatten outlined his plans and his needs for the Burma campaign which had been assigned to him at the Quebec Conference held in August, 1943. He made an excellent presentation of his problem, which I believed would be solved by his energy and aggressive spirit." [emphasis added, as the dollar bill was signed by FDR and his special party en route to Cairo on November 22, 1943].
President Roosevelt's official "Log of the President's Trip to Africa and the Middle East/ November-December, 1943" states on pages 20-21: "10:40 p.m.: The President's plane departed El Aouina airport (Tunis) for Cairo. Passengers in the President's plane were: The President, Mr. Hopkins, Admiral Leahy, Admiral Brown, Admiral McIntire, General Watson, Lieut-Comdr. Fox, Secret Service Agents Reilly, Spaman and Fredericks and Steward Prettyman. This plane had two sleeping berths, so the President and Mr. Hopkins turned in soon after their departure from Tunis./ Except for Admiral Leahy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff party had proceeded on to Cairo earlier in the day. Lieutenant Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., U.S.N.R., left his father at the El Aouina airport, to proceed and rejoin his ship at Gibraltar. The MAYRANT had been damaged by enemy bombers at Palermo and. was due to leave Gibraltar soon for a U.S. Navy yard for repairs./ Monday, November 22nd. Enroute Tunis to Cairo, and at Cairo./ 9:35 a.m.: The President's plane landed at Cairo West airport (a Royal Air Force field). This was some two and one-half hours after plane number two of our party had arrived from Tunis, and the late arrival caused some concern at the field as to the President's safety. Two different groups of fighter-planes had been at appointed rendezvous at the scheduled times but each failed to make contact and eventually had to return to their base for refueling. The President's plane, it developed, had detoured southward as far as latitude 28 -00'-00" north and had then turned northward and followed the course of the River Nile up to Cairo. This route took them over the Sphinx and the Pyramids./ The air distance from Tunis to Cairo, over the route flown by the President's plane, was 1851 miles./ The President was met at Cairo West airport by Major General Ralph Royce, U.S.A., Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East, and his Chief of Staff, Brigadier General G. X. Cheaves, U.S.A./ The Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek and their party had arrived in Cairo from Chungking the evening before our arrival (on November 21st.). Prime Minister Churchill and his party also arrived in Cairo on November 21st."
FDR and Churchill met initially in Cairo, Egypt, then continued on to Teheran for the Big Three conference with Premier Josef Stalin of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. As Fleet Admiral Leahy describes first hand above, FDR and his Presidential party reached Cairo early in the morning of November 22, 1943. It was during this important travel in the air that the one dollar silver certificate or "short snorter" was passed around the transport plane on the long flight and signed by the President and his party, consisting of his most trusted aides and advisors. Also present for the Cairo meetings were Generals George C. Marshall, Joseph Stilwell, Claire Chennault, Albert Wedermeyer and Lord Louis Mountbatten (Supreme Allied Commander, SEAC). With little ado, the Combined Chiefs of Staff got down to business on the afternoon of November 22, 1943. The opening days of SEXTANT – the American-British-Chinese phase – saw the Anglo-American staffs in daily session from November 22 to November 26, 1943. The British and Americans clashed over Churchill's continued pleas to attack Southern Europe instead of France, while the British tried to derail what they saw as the American obsession with aiding Chiang in China. On November 27, 1943 FDR and his party continued on to Teheran for the President's critical first meeting with Joseph Stalin, where the Allies cemented their plans for Operation Overlord. The historic and vastly significant international conference at Teheran, Iran, took place between November 28 and December 1, 1943. The conference was the first full face to face meeting between the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, and the Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. The chief discussion centered on the "second front" in wartime Europe. Stalin agreed to an eastern offensive to coincide with the forthcoming invasions of German-occupied France. Though military questions were dominant, the Tehran Conference saw more discussion of political issues than had occurred in any previous meeting between Allied governmental heads. Not only did Stalin repeat his desire that the Soviet Union should retain the frontiers provided by the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939 and by the Russo-Finnish Treaty of 1940, but he also stated that it would want in addition the Baltic coast of East Prussia. Though the settlement for Germany was discussed at length, all three Allied leaders appeared uncertain; their views were imprecise on the topic of a postwar international organization; and on the Polish question the Western Allies and the Soviet Union found themselves in sharp dissension, when Stalin expressed his continued distaste for the London Polish government. On Iran, which Allied forces were partly occupying, they were able to agree on a declaration (published on December 1, 1943) guaranteeing the postwar independence and territorial integrity of that state and promising postwar economic assistance.
The actual declarations from the Teheran Conference read: "THE TEHERAN CONFERENCE/ (United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union) Agreements on War and Peace. December 1, 1943)/ DECLARATION OF THE THREE POWERS/ We-The President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the Premier of the Soviet Union, have met these four days past, in this, the Capital of our Ally, Iran, and have shaped and confirmed our common policy./ We express our determination that our nations shall work together in war and in the peace that will follow./ As to war-our military staffs have joined in our round table discussions, and we have concerted our plans for the destruction of the German forces. We have reached complete agreement as to the scope and timing of the operations to be undertaken from the east, west and south./ The common understanding which we have here reached guarantees that victory will be ours./ And as to peace-we are sure that our concord will win an enduring Peace. We recognize fully the supreme responsibility resting upon us and all the United Nations to make a peace which will command the good will of the overwhelming mass of the peoples of the world and banish the scourge and terror of war for many generations./ With our Diplomatic advisors we have surveyed the problems of the future. We shall seek the cooperation and active participation of all nations, large and small, whose peoples in heart and mind are dedicated, as are our own peoples, to the elimination of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance. We will welcome them, as they may choose to come, into a world family of Democratic Nations./ No power on earth can prevent our destroying the German armies by land, their U Boats by sea, and their war plants from the air./ Our attack will be relentless and increasing./ Emerging from these cordial conferences we look with confidence to the day when all peoples of the world may live free lives, untouched by tyranny, and according to their varying desires and their own consciences./ We came here with hope and determination. We leave here, friends in fact, in spirit and in purpose./ DECLARATION OF THE THREE POWERS REGARDING IRAN/ The President of the United States, the Premier of the U.S.S.R., and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, having consulted with each other and with the Prime Minister of Iran, desire to declare the mutual agreement of their three Governments regarding their relations with Iran./ The Governments of the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom recognize the assistance which Iran has given in the prosecution of the war against the common enemy, particularly by facilitating the transportation of supplies from overseas to the Soviet Union./ The Three Governments realize that the war has caused special economic difficulties for Iran, and they are agreed that they will continue to make available to the Government of Iran such economic assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide military operations and to the world-wide shortage of transport, raw materials, and supplies for civilian consumption./ With respect to the post-war period, the Governments of the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom are in accord with the Government of Iran that any economic problems confronting Iran at the close of hostilities should receive full consideration, along with those of other members of the United Nations, by conferences or international agencies held or created to deal with international economic matters./ The Governments of the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom are at one with the Government of Iran in their desire for the maintenance of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran. They count upon the participation of Iran, together with all other peace-loving nations, in the establishment of international peace, security and prosperity after the war, in accordance with the principles of the Atlantic Charter, to which all four Governments have subscribed./ WINSTON S. CHURCHILL/ J. STALIN/ FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT."
Truly a one of a kind, historical, and fabulous item from FDR during his flight between Tunis, Tunisia and Cairo, Egypt, to stage preparatory meetings for the first Big Three meeting of World War II that followed in Teheran, Iran.
A true and authentic piece of American
history, the original Western Union telegram, received at Miami, Florida
on February 15, 1933 by President-Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt from
President Herbert Hoover, sent from the White House, Washington, D.C.
In superb condition, this Western Union telegram is President
Hoovers first reaction to the assassination attempt on FDRs
life earlier that day by Italian immigrant Guiseppe Zangara! After
learning of this event that could have changed the course of history,
President Hoover used the fastest means then available to communicate
with FDR by sending him a Western Union Telegram, which reads: Received
at Miami, Flo. 1933 FEB 15 PM 11 11/ RXQC1195 24 GOVT=THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON DC/ 15 1106P/ PRESIDENT ELECT FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT=/ MIAMI
FLO=/ TOGETHER WITH EVERY CITIZEN I REJOICE THAT YOU HAVE NOT BEEN
INJURED I SHALL BE GRATEFUL TO YOU FOR NEWS OF MAYOR CERMAKS CONDITION=/
HERBERT HOOVER. It is of great ironic significance that President
Hoover, who sent this Western Union Telegram to FDR, was Zangaras
original target for assassination!
Zangara, an unemployed brick-layer who became an American citizen
on September 11, 1929, found it very difficult to find work during
the Great Depression, and developed a strong hatred of President Herbert
Hoover, whom he blamed for his problems. When FDR defeated Hoover
for the Presidency in 1932, Zangara turned his anger towards the new
President-Elect. On February 13, 1933, Zangara read that FDR was to
visit Bayfront Park on February 15, 1933. Zangara bought a .32 caliber
pistol and joined the crowd. FDR had been enjoying a vacation aboard
Vincent Astor's yacht Nourmahal, arriving at Miami. FDR had earlier
joked that I have told the newspaper boys that if anyone attempts
to interview me or take a photograph of me during the next 10 days
he will be court-martialed and shot at sunrise. As FDR and his
party, which included Chicago Mayor Anton Joseph Cermak (1875-1933),
appeared before the crowd, the President-Elect gave a short speech
from inside the car. Well wishers crowded around the car to see FDR.
At this time Zangara was trying to work his way to the front of the
crowd so he could shoot. Because he was so short, only 5 feet tall,
it was very hard for him to see his target. He climbed on top of an
old unstable wooden chair and started to fire. A woman in front of
him, Mrs. Lillian Cross, a spectator standing next to Zangara, deflected
Zangaras aim by grabbing his arm as he fired his last four shots.
I saw he was trying to kill the President so I caught him by
the arm and twisted it up, Mrs. Cross later told the media.
Zangara managed to fire five bullets and hit five people, as a nearby
photographer joked: Just like Chicago, eh Mayor? Mayor
Anton J. Cermak had been hit in the abdominal area. The bullets also
hit four bystanders, including a mother of five children.
On March 6, 1933, barely two days after FDR was inaugurated the Thirty
Second President of the United States, Mayor Cermak succumbed to his
wound. After he was shot, the Mayor fell out of FDRs car and
called out: The President, get him away! But FDR proved
to be courageous and cool-headed under very difficult circumstances
(behavior he would exhibit upon numerous occasions as President fighting
the Great Depression and World War II), for when he saw that Mayor
Cermak had been hit, he ordered his car to stop and had the Mayor
placed back in the car with him. FDR cradled Cermak in his arms all
the way to the hospital, and before he died Cermak is reported to
have said to the President-Elect, I am glad it was me instead
A wonderful and authentic piece of American
history, the original Postal Telegraph telegram, received at Hyde
Park, New York, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt from Kansas Governor
and Republican Presidential candidate Alfred M. Landon, sent from
Topeka, Kansas. In superb condition, this original telegram, FDR's
first "official" notification from his Republican opponent
of Landon's concession of the 1936 Presidential election to FDR, dated
November 4, 1936, reads: RXH9 36=H TOPEKA KANS 4 1234A/ THE PRESIDENT=/
HYDE PARK NY=/ THE NATION HAS SPOKEN / EVERY AMERICAN WILL ACCEPT
THE VERDICT AND WORK FOR THE COMMON CAUSE OF THE GOOD OF OUR COUNTRY
/ THAT IS THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY/ YOU HAVE MY SINCERE CONGRATULATIONS=/
ALF M LANDON."
In 1936 FDR was renominated by the Democrats without opposition. The
Republicans, strongly opposing the New Deal and "big government"
nominated Alfred M. Landon, Governor of Kansas. Eighty percent of
the newspapers endorsed the Republican party, which was also supported
by conservative Democrats including Alfred E. Smith. Big business
accused FDR of destroying the nation's individualism and threatening
its freedom, but FDR put together a coalition of intellectuals, blue-collar
workers, southern farmers, and urban minority voters, including a
huge number of blacks who shifted to the Democratic party. The end
result: FDR won in another landslide, and Landon won only the states
of Maine and Vermont. "As Maine goes, so goes the nation"
was a hoary axiom of American political culture from 1888 to 1936,
when FDR's Presidential victory against Republican Alf Landon prompted
Democratic National Committee Chairman James A. Farley to quip, "As
Maine goes, so goes Vermont."
Alfred Mossman Landon (1887-1987), Governor of Kansas and Republican
Presidential nominee, known as Alf, was born in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania,
the son of John M. Landon, an oil and natural gas executive, and Anne
Mossman. Landon received a law degree from the University of Kansas
in 1908. In 1915 he married Margaret Fleming, who died in 1918. They
had a daughter. Landon married Theo Cobb in 1930, and they had a son
and a daughter, Nancy Landon Kassebaum, who was elected to the United
States Senate from Kansas in 1978. Although Landon was admitted to
the Kansas bar in 1908, he did not practice law. He worked instead
in banking until 1911, when he became an independent petroleum producer.
He served briefly as a first lieutenant in the army in 1918. After
1936 he began developing business interests in addition to oil production,
becoming a prominent radio station owner-executive by the 1960s. A
shrewd businessman, Landon prospered in his various enterprises, although
he never became wealthy. This was largely because of his abiding concern
with politics, which had been fostered by his politically active father.
Father and son worked in support of Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 presidential
In 1914 Alfred Landon was the Progressive party chairman in Montgomery
County, but he returned to the Republican party, with most other Progressives,
in 1916. In 1922 Landon served as secretary to Governor Henry J. Allen
and in 1924 was an important leader in the independent gubernatorial
campaign of William Allen White against the Ku Klux Klan. Landon was
the organizer of the successful campaign in 1928 to nominate and elect
Clyde M. Reed governor; he himself was chosen chairman of the Republican
state committee. In 1930 conservative Republicans denied Reed renomination
and ousted Landon from the state chairmanship. Landon bounced back
in 1931, leading a well-publicized movement by independent Kansas
oil producers against monopoly and for conservation in their depression-stricken
industry. Dealing with Democrats and Republicans in Kansas and elsewhere,
he demonstrated that he could work effectively with a broad range
Landon was nominated for governor in 1932 as a moderate who could
unite the factionalized Republican party, reduce taxes and expenditures,
and yet maintain essential state services. He ran for election against
the odds, for the Democrats controlled the governorship and seemed
destined to sweep the nation at the polls in November. As Landon remarked,
though, "There are lots worse things than taking a licking, and
one of them is to run away from a fight because it is hard."
He ran an energetic campaign against the respected Democratic governor,
Harry Woodring, and a colorful independent, Dr. John R. Brinkley,
who had gained notoriety for his goat-gland transplantations to restore
male virility. Landon won election with a scant plurality, with 34.8
percent of the votes, apparently having convinced people that Brinkley
was the "great promiser" and Woodring the "greatest
little claimer Kansas has had in a long time."
In 1933, like other American officials, Governor Landon was beset
by the challenges of the Great Depression. A champion of governmental
economy and efficiency, he declared that one "cannot get something
for nothing." Landon advocated action that resulted in further
regulation of banks, insurance firms, trucking companies, and utilities;
more effective conservation of natural resources; protection of farmers
from foreclosures; reform of state and local finances; and reorganization
of the state government. All of these measures were accomplished on
the basis of a balanced state budget. Moreover, Kansas, under his
leadership, obtained proportionately more federal funds than most
Plains states to deal with the hardships of both depression and drought,
which severely struck the area during his governorship. This reflected
Landon's ability often to work successfully with the administration
of Democratic president Franklin D. Roosevelt. This cooperation was
particularly true in the fields of agriculture, conservation, and
unemployment relief. Relying on his own expertise, Landon worked closely
with Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes to develop programs
to cope with distress in the oil industry.
Landon won reelection in 1934, the only Republican governor who did
so that year. In 1935 and 1936 Republican interest in him as a Presidential
candidate grew steadily. This was not surprising, for after the widespread
Democratic victories in the 1932 and 1934 elections there were relatively
few Republican state and federal officeholders. Landon alone of these
officials had an outstanding record, had no connection with the widely
discredited presidency of Herbert Hoover, and occupied the middle
ground between Republican insurgents and conservatives. Other Republicans,
such as Senators William E. Borah of Idaho, Lester J. Dickinson of
Iowa, and Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan and Chicago publisher Frank
Knox, sought their party's presidential nomination. Landon was able,
however, to win the nomination in June 1936 by remaining moderate
on the issues and effectively employing his campaign resources. The
convention delegates chose Colonel Knox as his running mate.
Landon led a divided as well as a depleted party into the 1936 Presidential
election campaign. Some Republicans, ferociously attacking the New
Deal, assumed positions to his right; others endorsed Roosevelt; and
still others remained inactive. Former Democratic presidential nominees
John W. Davis (1873-1955) and Alfred E. Smith, among other members
of their party, endorsed Landon, although they brought few voters
with them. The Kansan ran a vigorous, well-financed, and far-flung
campaign. He had considerable success in reorganizing his party and
reshaping it along more realistic lines. His chief objective was to
champion moderation on the issues, in contrast with what he thought
was Roosevelt's immoderation against business and in developing the
power of the federal government. Landon advocated resource conservation
and the preservation of the family farm. Moreover, he promised to
be fair to the needy and to organized labor. He proposed subsistence
pensions for the elderly, fair and effective regulation of big business,
assistance to tenant farmers, and strict adherence to the Constitution.
He forthrightly denounced racial prejudice and religious bigotry.
On matters of peace and world trade, the Republican nominee vowed
to seek international cooperation. He would also recruit the best
people, regardless of party, to staff the government. Landon emphasized
the need for efficient administration, a balanced budget, and measures
to encourage business expansion in order to bring economic recovery
and provide jobs for unemployed Americans. This was, he said, the
way to counter the record of Roosevelt's New Deal: "Twenty-five
billion dollars spent. Thirteen billion dollars added to the public
debt. Eleven million unemployed left."
Contrary to the favorable public opinion polls of the Literary Digest
(an original copy of which is also part of this FDR Collection), Landon
had little chance of winning the Presidency from Franklin D. Roosevelt,
who was approaching the peak of his popularity. The Kansas governor
had neither name recognition, organization, patronage, record, nor
speaking ability to match the president. Landon was at his best on
issues of minor interest to the electorate at that time, such as opposition
to loyalty oaths and prejudice and promotion of international cooperation,
and on a popular concern like conservation, on which Roosevelt was
equally strong. For the most part Landon's campaign was gallant and
kept the Republican party a viable, if diminished, opposition. Roosevelt
won reelection in a landslide, polling 27,752,869 votes to Landon's
16,674,665 and 523 electoral votes to 8. The Republicans emerged from
the election with only 89 seats in the House of Representatives and
16 in the Senate. The 1936 campaign was heated and often nasty, but
neither the Governor nor the President indulged in vituperation against
each other, as this Landon concession telegram to FDR proves.
Indeed, after the election, whenever Landon visited Washington, FDR
invited him to the White House, where they got along cordially. Although
urged to do so, Landon did not run again for public office or accept
the Republican National Committee chairmanship. He was a vigorous
titular head of his party until 1940 and was given much credit for
its resurgence in the elections of 1938. Landon was instrumental in
the defeat of anti-Semite Gerald Winrod for Kansas's Republican senatorial
nomination in 1938. That year he was also the only nationally prominent
major party politician to defend the right of Socialist leader Norman
Thomas to speak publicly after he had been prevented from doing so
in Jersey City. Moreover, the Kansan spoke out against the Nazi persecution
of Jews and later served on the board of directors and the executive
committee of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Landon
was a trenchant critic of FDR's policies, although he supported the
President on protesting the sinking of the U.S.S. Panay by Japan in
1937 as well as on the Ludlow war referendum resolution in 1938 and
often on defense measures. Indeed, in 1938 Roosevelt named him vice
chairman of the United States delegation to the Inter-American Conference
in Lima, Peru. In 1940 the President apparently considered appointing
Landon Secretary of War, but the Kansan stated publicly that he would
not accept the job unless FDR refused to stand for nomination to a
third presidential term. By 1941 the two men divided increasingly
on foreign policy. The Kansan was not opposed to giving money and
goods to Great Britain in its war with Germany and Italy, but he believed
that Roosevelt was trying to maneuver the United States into the war,
which he opposed and feared would convert the nation into a garrison
Landon remained a significant opposition spokesman during World War
II as an apostle of responsible two-party politics. Landon's influence
declined after the war. He continued to speak out, however, frequently
taking independent positions. Among other things, Landon supported
President Harry S. Truman often on foreign policy, helped to force
the resignation of Republican National Committee chairman C. Wesley
Roberts in 1953, occasionally criticized Senator Joseph R. McCarthy
(1908-1957) and other extreme anti-Communists, opposed right-to-work
legislation, favored international control of nuclear weapons, and,
beginning in 1953, far in advance of any other prominent Republican
or Democrat, advocated American diplomatic recognition of the People's
Republic of China. In 1962 he was a leading supporter of President
John F. Kennedy's trade expansion legislation. Landon also crusaded
regularly over the years against high taxes, inflation, and excessive
government regulation. By the end of the 1950s he was widely recognized
as an elder statesman. Advancing age slowed Landon's political activities
by the late 1960s, but until 1987 he often granted interviews and
issued press statements on the issues facing America. He died in Topeka,
Kansas one month after festivities marking his one-hundredth birthday,
which included a visit from President Ronald Reagan.
To the end Landon remained a remarkably independent political figure,
noted for his integrity and sense of responsibility. This telegram
from Landon to FDR is a true piece of American history in which FDR's
Republican challenger concedes defeat in a gracious and professional
manner which typified Alfred M. Landon's character, from an election
that represented a high-tide of Liberal idealism in FDR's reelection.
A one of a kind item.
In FDR's own hand in its entirety, as President
of the United States, with very special and historical content, an
autograph letter signed, one page, on beige paper without letterhead,
no date, written to Secretary of State Cordell Hull. FDR writes
in his own hand: "Dear Cordell:/ As you know I am very [underlined]
keen about the Roerich Peace Pact and I hope we can get it going via
the Americas'Will you and Henry Wallace talk this over
and have something for me when I get back?/ FDR." Wow! This hand
written letter to his Secretary of State, directing Mr. Hull to coordinate
with FDR's Secretary of Agriculture, Henry Wallace, about a major
international peace and cultural initiative, as well as FDR's initial
thoughts concerning his international strategy to have the peace plan
adopted, is just a wonderful as well as historical letter.
Nicholas Roerich, a Russian born artist, poet, writer and distinguished
member of the Theosophical Society, led an expedition across the Gobi
Desert to the Atlai mountain range from 1923 to 1928, a journey which
covered 15,500 miles across 35 of the world's highest mountain passes.
Roerich was a man of unimpeachable credentials: a famous collaborator
in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, a colleague of the impresario Diaghilev
and a highly talented and respected member of the League of Nations.
Roerich was an esoteric Russian painter, and went to Central Asia
to become a lama. His earliest paintings, filled with Himalayan light,
are in the astonishing Oriental Museum, also known as the Museum of
East and West, in the Russian capital of Moscow, and others at Roerich
societies like the ones in New York City in the United States and
St. Petersburg in Russia. Roerich was credited with introducing the
West to Agharthi and Shambhala.
Nicholas Roerich was also influential in FDR's administration, and
was the pivotal force behind placing the Great Seal of the United
States on the dollar bill. The Roerich Peace Pact, which obligated
nations to respect museums, cathedrals, universities and libraries
as they did hospitals, was established in 1935 and became part of
the United Nations organizational charter. This hand written note
from FDR to his Secretary of State gives perhaps the first indication
of FDR's active support of the Peace Pact, and his strategy to adopt
its principles via hemispheric coordination and cooperation in the
Americas, also consistent with FDR and Hull's "good neighbor"
foreign policy in the hemisphere. Indeed, Secretary of Agriculture
Henry Agard Wallace did sign the Peace Pact representing the United
States of America on April 15, 1935, so FDR's initiative was ultimately
successful. The Preamble to the Peace Pact reads:
"The High Contracting Parties,
animated by the purpose of giving conventional form to the postulates
of the Resolution approved on December 16, 1933, by all the States
represented at the Seventh International Conference of American
States, held at Montevideo, which recommended to the Governments
of America which have not yet done so that they sign the 'Roerich
Pact' initiated by the Roerich Museum in the United States, and
which has as its object, the universal adoption of a flag, already
designed and generally known, in order thereby to preserve in any
time of danger all nationally and privately owned immovable monuments
which form the cultural treasure of peoples,' have resolved to conclude
a treaty with that end in view, and to the effect that the treasures
of culture be respected and protected in time of war and in peace,
have agreed upon the following articles."
Although undated, this hand written letter
from FDR to Cordell Hull was most probably written in 1933 or 1934.
The Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace movement grew rapidly during
the early nineteen thirties, with centers in a number of countries.
There were three international conferences, in Bruges, Belgium, in
Montevideo, Uruguay, and in Washington, D.C. The Pact itself declared
the necessity for protection of the cultural product and activity
of the world, both during war and peace, and prescribed the method
by which all sites of cultural value would be declared neutral and
protected, just as the Red Cross does with hospitals. Indeed, the
Roerich Pact was often called The Red Cross of Culture. The Roerich
Pact was first agreed to by twenty one nations of the Americas and
signed as a treaty in the White House, in the presence of President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on April 15, 1935, by all the members of
the Pan-American Union. It was later signed by other countries also.
FDR's long serving Secretary of State, Cordell Hull (1871-1955) was
a political leader as well as statesman, born in Overton County, Tennessee.
A Tennessee legislator and judge, Democratic National Committee chairman,
United States Representative (1907-1931) and Senator (1931-1933),
he became the longest serving Secretary of State ever under President
Franklin D. Roosevelt (19331944). A strong advocate of free
trade and of the "Good Neighbor" policy with South America
during the 1930s, he early advocated strong support for the Allies,
attended most of the great wartime conferences, and promoted international
cooperation and the United Nations, for which he received the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1945. FDR also asks his Secretary of State to coordinate
the adoption of the Roerich Peace Pact with his Secretary of Agriculture,
later Secretary of Commerce and FDR's Vice President in his third
term, Henry Agard Wallace (1888-1965), was born in Adair County, Iowa.
With his father, Wallace developed the first successful hybrid seed
corn (maize). Appointed Secretary of Agriculture in 1933 by FDR, he
carried out policies mandated by the Agriculture Adjustment Act of
1933 (AAA), a cornerstone of agricultural policy in the early New
Deal. In 1940 he was nominated for Vice President after FDR made it
clear that he wanted Wallace. An active Vice President, he advocated
cooperation with the Soviet Union and economic assistance to underdeveloped
countries. He was dropped from the ticket in 1944 but still campaigned
for Roosevelt. He was named Secretary of Commerce in 1945, but was
later relieved by President Harry S. Truman for his outspokenness
regarding American relations with the Soviet Union. In 1948 he ran
unsuccessfully for President as the Progressive Party candidate.
In 1952 he published Why I Was Wrong, which explained his new
distrust of the Soviet Union. A lifelong fascination with mysticism
and the occult appears to have made Wallace an easy mark for charlatans,
among them a faux-Indian medicine man and opera composer named Charles
Roos, who was given to addressing Wallace as "Poo-Yaw" and
"Chief Cornplanter." Wallace considered Roos a soul mate.
In the 1930s the two men purchased a tract of land together near Taylor
Falls, Minnesota intended for spiritual retreats where they could,
in Wallace's words, "find the religious key note of the new age."
More politically damaging was his friendship and correspondence with
none other than Nicholas Roerich, whose Peace Pact is the topic of
FDR's letter. Wallace eventually gave Roerich a Department of Agriculture
expense account and sent him on a $75,000 expedition to Central Asia
in search of drought resistant grasses. This relationship between
Wallace and Roerich, would negatively influence the former's run for
the Presidency in 1948. This letter, written entirely in FDR's own
hand, referencing a very significant and historical peace pact and
cultural achievement of FDR's Presidency, to his Secretary of State,
referencing his Secretary of Agriculture and his strategy of including
the Americas for adoption of the Pact, is a one of a kind, very special,
and absolutely fantastic item.
A collection of significant historical
value, the Federal Government of the United States of America in all
three branches in the time of the New Deal and FDR's re-election as
President in 1936. This truly one of a kind primary document collection
must be seen to be truly appreciated. There are three major documents
to this collection, each with accompanying matting and backboard,
plus two additional ancillary items. The United States Senate and
House of Representatives documents have been matted and framed in
gold leaf to Smithsonian standards as one large document measuring
an astonishing 39 x 48." The two pieces themselves measure 21
x 31½" and each were originally accompanied by matted
backboard. The backboard of the first piece features original b/w
glossy photographs of FDR and John Nance Garner, FDR's Vice President.
The Garner photograph is also signed by JNG. The first document reads:
"1st/ Re-Elect/ Franklin D. Roosevelt for President Club/ A Club
promoted throughout the United States/ to re-elect President Roosevelt
in 1936/ He brought us out of the depression/ the Benefactor
of Mankind.'" Below this introductory section is the label "United
States Senators" and in two columns that follow are contained
the original signatures of the Senators, most signatures also have
the individual Senators noting the states from which they come. Most
of the members of the world's greatest deliberative body, the United
States Senate, sign this document, including Vice President John Nance
Garner (as President of the Senate), Senators Joseph T. Robinson from
Arkansas, Majority Leader, Harry S. Truman from Missouri, Bennett
Champ Clark from Missouri, Huey P. Long from Louisiana (whose signature
appears along with his successor in the Senate after his assassination,
Allen J. Ellender), David I. Walsh from Massachusetts, Marcus A. Coolidge
from Massachusetts, Carter Glass from Virginia, Harry F. Byrd from
Virginia, Burton K. Wheeler from Montana, James F. Byrnes from South
Carolina, Robert F. Wagner from New York, Royal S. Copeland from New
York, Claude Pepper from Florida, Richard B. Russell from Georgia,
Alben W. Barkley from Kentucky, William Gibbs McAdoo from California,
Thomas Connally from Texas, Theodore F. Green from Rhode Island, Millard
E. Tydings from Maryland, George W. Norris from Nebraska, Patrick
A. McCarran from Nevada, Key Pittman from Nevada, Pat Harrison from
Mississippi, and most of the other members of the United States Senate,
for a total of seventy four original signatures of United States Senators
on one document, in addition to the signatures of the Vice President
of the United States, Secretary of the Senate, and the Senate's Sergeant-at-Arms.
The ultimate collection of Franklin
D. Roosevelt-era Signatures originally on display in 1937
at G.C. Murphy Co. in Washington, D.C.
Absolutely fabulous as an addition to this historic document is the
somewhat faded signature of Lyndon B. Johnson, who was a member of
the United States House of Representatives in the 1930s, so apparently
LBJ signed this document later in its history, perhaps when he himself
became a United States Senator and Senate Majority Leader in the years
that followed. Interestingly, LBJ's signature is adjacent to the signature
of the then-Senate Majority Leader, Joseph T. Robinson from Arkansas.
Perhaps LBJ signed this document even later when he was Vice President
or President of the United States.
After careful study and review of this document, another seeming mystery's
solution can only be the subject of conjecture. Interestingly enough,
on the original large document of Senators' signatures in the bottom
right hand column Senator Claude Pepper from Florida boldly signs
his name. On an original b/w photograph of this piece from 1937 (described
in detail below) the signature appearing where Pepper's signature
now appears was that of Florida Senator Park Trammell. Pepper had
challenged Trammell in the 1934 Democratic Senate primary in Florida.
In the days of one-party politics, nomination in the Democratic primary
was tantamount to election. To the surprise of nearly everyone, Pepper
came within 4,000 votes of winning, and the election was decided by
the corrupt machine politics of Hillsborough County, Florida. It was
widely recognized in political circles that the election had been
stolen from Pepper by Trammell. Pepper's standing within Democratic
Party circles improved when, for the sake of party unity, he did not
protest the outcome. In 1936, a highly unusual turn of events propelled
Pepper into the United States Senate without opposition. Senator Trammell
died and Pepper immediately announced his candidacy for the vacant
seat in what quickly became a crowded field of hopefuls, including
former Governor Carlton. A few weeks later, the state's senior senator,
Duncan U. Fletcher (whose signature appears on this document), also
died. Pepper deftly switched races, and no one challenged him for
Fletcher's seat. It is my opinion that having won election to the
United States Senate in 1936, Pepper came across this document, spotted
the signature of the recently departed Senator Trammell, who Pepper
considered to have earlier fraudulently signed this document since
he, and not Trammell, should have won election as Florida's Senator
in 1934,and he took his revenge upon Trammell by expunging Trammell's
name from this historical document and signing his own name directly
over where Trammell's signature once appeared. Close inspection of
the original document reveals that indeed Trammell's signature has
been neatly erased, light elements of Trammell's original signature
remain, with Pepper's signature boldly penned over the original signature.
A truly fascinating possibility.
Regardless of Senator Pepper's intentions, clearly it is his signature
and not Senator Trammell's that now appears on the original document,
along with the signature of Senator Duncan U. Fletcher, the man who
Pepper replaced in the United States Senate. Below the Senators' signatures
is the signature of the Sergeant-at-Arms of the United States Senate
as well as the Secretary of the United States Senate. Following directly
below the Senators' signatures is the label "The Cabinet"
and in three columns are contained the original signatures of all
ten Cabinet members in the Roosevelt Administration during the mid
1930s: Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, Frances Perkins, Secretary
of Labor (and the first female Cabinet member in American history),
Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, James A. Farley, Postmaster
General, Claude A. Swanson, Secretary of the Navy, Harry H. Woodring,
Secretary of War (Harry H. Woodring replaced George H. Dern upon his
death in 1936), Homer S. Cummings, Attorney General, Daniel C. Roper,
Secretary of Commerce, Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture,
and Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury (Henry Morgenthau,
Jr. replaced William H. Woodin in 1934 after his resignation in 1933
for health reasons). Below the Cabinet signatures, centered at the
bottom of this large sheet full of signatures, is the bold signature
of Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America!
The original backboard of the second piece features an original b/w
glossy photograph of Henry T. Rainey, Speaker of the House of Representatives
in 1933-1934, indicating that this incredible signature project encompassing
all three branches of the Federal Government was initiated well before
the 1936 re-election campaign. Rainey's successors as Speaker of the
House during the time span encompassed in this mammoth signature collection
were Joseph W. Byrns (1935-1936) and William B. Bankhead (1936-1940),
both of whom also sign this document, the former as then-Majority
Leader of the House of Representatives, and the latter as a United
States Representative from Alabama. The time and effort taken to compile
such a roster of American leaders in all three branches of the Federal
Government are also attested by the fact that both President Lyndon
B. Johnson and the "Kingfish," Senator Huey P. Long of Louisiana,
who was assassinated in 1935, also signed the first document. The
second document reads: "1st/ Re-Elect/ Franklin D. Roosevelt
for President Club/ A Club promoted throughout the United States/
to re-elect President Roosevelt in 1936/ He brought us out of
the depression/ the Benefactor of Mankind.'" Below this introductory
section is the label "United States Representatives" and
in four columns that follow are contained the original signatures
of the Congressmen, most signatures also have the individual Congressmen
noting the districts and states from which they come. Most of the
members of the United States House of Representatives sign this document,
including Henry T. Rainey, Speaker of the House, John McCormack from
Massachusetts, William B. Bankhead from Alabama, Joseph W. Byrns from
Tennessee (signed as Majority Leader), Samuel T. Rayburn from Texas,
Arthur H. Greenwood from Indiana (signed as Majority Whip), John D.
Dingell from Michigan, Will Rogers from Oklahoma (the other Will Rogers),
Frederick M. Vinson from Kentucky, later the United States Secretary
of the Treasury and Chief Justice of the United States, Martin Dies
from Texas, the founder of the House Un-American Activities Committee,
and most of the other members of the United States House of Representatives,
for a total of two hundred fifteen original signatures of United States
Representatives on one document.
The backboard of the third piece features an original b/w glossy photograph
of the Supreme Court of the United States, with an 11 x 11" document
with the original signatures of all the members of the Supreme Court.
The third document reads: "The Supreme Court of the/ United States/
During President Roosevelt's Administration/ This Court outlawed many
New Deal laws and produced the famous controversy between the President
and the Tribunal." Directly below this description, which in
all probability was added after the Supreme Court Justices' signatures
were obtained, is the centered signature of Charles Evans Hughes,
Chief Justice of the United States. Below Justice Hughes' signature
are the signatures of the other eight Associate Justices of the Supreme
Court contained in two columns: Willis van Devanter, Louis D. Brandeis,
Pierce Butler, Owen J. Roberts, James C. McReynolds, George Sutherland,
Harlan Fiske Stone, and Benjamin N. Cardozo. Below the Justices' signatures
is the signature of the Clerk of the United States Supreme Court.
Also accompanying these three fantastic pieces is a 17 x 21½"
red, white, and blue colored reproduction of the entire collection
for display purposes, with the United States Representatives document
to the left, with the photograph of Speaker Rainey above the copy
of the signatures, a large photograph and facsimile signature of FDR
in the center, with the Supreme Court document and photograph below
FDR's photograph, and the United States Senate and Cabinet, including
the copy of FDR's signature, to the right, with the photograph of
Vice President John Nance Garner above the copy of the signatures.
Interestingly, the signature of former United States Senator Huey
P. Long, clearly visible below the signature of Senator Carter Glass
from Virginia on the original signed Senate document, is absent from
this ensemble copy! Surrounding the copy of all signatures are the
initials of the "alphabet soup" agencies which defined the
New Deal. Above the signatures in white lettering on blue background
it reads: "In the hands of those who signed this document rests
the future of the American people." Below the signatures in blue
lettering it reads:
"Above are the signatures
of the members of the House of Representatives, United States Senate,
President, Cabinet, and the Supreme Court, who ruled the nation
during its greatest economic and political crisis....While the Country
rocked with uncertainty in the early days of 1933, Congress enacted
the most revolutionary legislation ever placed upon the statute
books...and the Republic emerged from the depression.... However,
the Supreme Court declared many emergency laws unconstitutional,
bringing the President in conflict with the Tribunal, which created
the greatest political controversy since the signing of the Declaration
of Independence. Copyright 1937/ All Rights Reserved/ By Byron W.
An 8 x 10" b/w glossy photograph of these
pieces, along with other FDR materials, shown in a large glass showcase
display, with the etching "G.C. Murphy Co./ Wash. D.C."
at the bottom of the photograph also accompanies this piece. On the
verso of the photograph is the writing "Murphy Store/ Wash DC/
May June 1937." What more can be said of this fantastic set of
documents, other than it is the original collection of signatures
of the entire United States Federal Government, from the President
of the United States, his Cabinet, the United States Senate, the United
States House of Representatives, and the United States Supreme Court,
during the height of the New Deal, and the historic 1936 landslide
re-election of FDR as President of the United States. A truly one
of a kind, totally unique, entirely encompassing, and greatly historical
set of original documents, there is nothing like it in any museum
of FDR, New Deal, or American history.
A very rare document from 1913, 4to.
Completely written in FDR's own hand, his signature in several places,
plus a very rare full signature with his entire middle name: "Franklin
Delano Roosevelt." This document, joined pages on both sides
completely written out by FDR is his original application for Marquis'
Who's Who in America. Piece contains some 40 lines in FDR's own
hand, as well as additional surname signatures where he mentions
his wife, mother, father, and law firm.
In deep blue ink on porous yellow paper, accompanied by a separate
summary of the information from a clerk at Who's Who, 2pp 8vo, of
the form. The instructions on the Who's Who application state: "Kindly
furnish on this sheet the necessary data for a concise personal
sketch of yourself, and return it at your early convenience. The
facts will be arranged in proper form and sent for revision before
they are put into print." FDR responds in his own hand as follows
on the Who's Who application (the application question is typed
and precedes each colon that follows, the response after the question
is in FDR's own hand):
Essentially, FDR writes his own biography,
and signs his full name, including his middle name Delano. The original
Who's Who in America was founded and published by Albert Nelson Marquis
in 1899 to serve as an accurate, concise source of biography for notable
Americans. Marquis wanted to create a reference source that would
reflect America's unique ethic of hard work and success. Significant
contribution to society through achievement or position was the major
criterion established to earn a place in Who's Who. Wealth, notoriety,
or social status alone did not qualify for listing in the absence
of significant socially-relevant behavior. Only a few months after
he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the Woodrow Wilson
Administration, FDR was selected to make application to Marquis for
inclusion in Who's Who in America. The document is date stamped as
being received on July 14, 1913 by A. N. Marquis and Company, indicating
that FDR completed his application within four months of assuming
national office as Assistant Secretary of the Navy (his official appointment
commencing on March 17, 1913, the eighth anniversary of his marriage
to Eleanor Roosevelt). FDR had just been re-elected to a second term
as a New York state senator from the twenty sixth district comprising
Columbia, Dutchess, and Putnam counties (1911-1913). A truly unique,
historical, and significant document where FDR provides, all in his
own hand, biographical and factual information about himself, his
wife, his family, and his personal and professional activities. Significantly,
this may be one of the only documents presently in existence where
FDR signs his full name, including his middle name "Delano!"
FDR biographer Nathan Miller states in a footnote to his 1983 FDR:
An Intimate History (page 102) that signing his middle name Delano
was indeed a rare event. In discussing a letter FDR wrote to his mother
Sara upon commencing his duties as Assistant Secretary of the Navy
in March, 1913, Nathan Miller writes: "This letter is one of
the few...notes written by FDR that is signed with his full name...Try
not to write your name too small, as it gets a cramped look and is
not distinct,' Sara Roosevelt quickly replied. So many public
men have such awful signatures and so unreadable...'" This piece
is a true one of a kind, a biography of FDR written entirely in his
own hand, and signed in his full name Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
"Name in full: Franklin Delano Roosevelt/
Chief Occupation or Profession: LawyerAssistant Secretary
of the Navy, appointed March 17, 1913/ Residence Address: Hyde
Park, Dutchess Co., N.Y./ Business Address: Navy Department, Washington/
Place of Birth: Hyde Park, Dutchess Co., N.Y./ Father's Name in
full: James Roosevelt/ Mother's Maiden Name in full: Sara Delano/
Education, when and where, in detail: Groton School, Groton, Mass;
Harvard University A.B. 1904; Columbia Law School/ Are you Married?
Yes/ If Married, to whom? Anna Eleanor Roosevelt of New York/
Date of Marriage: March 17, 1905/ Military, Political and Civic
Record: Elected to N.Y. State Senate from Dutchess, Columbia &
Putnam Counties 1910, first Democrat for 30 years, Reelected by
increased majority 1912. Resigned March 1913 to accept appointment
as Assistant Secretary of the Navy; Hudson-Fulton Celebration
Commissioner 1909; Plattsburg Centennial Commissioner, 1913/ Director
or Trustee of the following Educational or Public Institutions:
Director 1st Nat. Bank Poughkeepsie; Trustee Laura Franklin Free
Hospital for Children& of Seamen's Institute/ Politics:
Democrat/ Religious Denomination (if any): Protestant Episcopal/
Professional Associations, Learned and Technical Societies, Decorations,
etc.: Member Law firm of Marvin, Hooker, & Roosevelt N.Y.;
Naval History Soc.; N.Y. Historical Society; Holland Society,
etc. etc./ Secret Societies, Fraternities, etc.: ; I.O.O. Fi;
F.A.M./ City Clubs: (N.Y.) City; Harvard; Knickerbocker; Racquet
& Tennis; (Washington) Army & Navy; Metropolitan/ Please
furnish here sufficient data to enable the editor to do complete
justice to your business or professional record, as the case may
be: Practiced law 1907-1910 with Carter, Ledyard & Milburn
N.Y. City; In 1911 formed firm of Marvin, Hooker & Roosevelt/
Name of Rirm or Company and character of business: Marvin Hooker
& Roosevelt LawyersN. Y. City."
In FDR's own hand in its entirety, an
autograph letter signed, three pages (two facing pages), 4to, on
two State of New York Executive Chamber, Albany, New York letterhead
pages, a very interesting and historically significant letter signed
by the newly nominated Democratic candidate for President of the
United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, as Governor of New York, to
Jouett Shouse, written at Hyde Park, New York, July, 1932.
This letter is absolutely amazing, and all in FDR's own hand, indicating
the important personal nature of the communication FDR sought to
make to Jouett Shouse. FDR writes:
Immediately after winning the Democratic nomination
for President, one of FDR's first tasks was to unite the Democrats
for the upcoming electoral battle against President Herbert Hoover
and the Republicans. FDR's bid for the presidential nomination in
1932 was not without opposition, and some members of his own party
worked to impede his political rise. On January 23, 1932, FDR authorized
the Democratic Central Committee of North Dakota to enter his name
in the preferential party primaries, thus formally announcing his
candidacy for President. During the Spring primaries, a Democratic
coalition aimed at blocking FDR's nomination coalesced. Alfred E.
Smith, Roosevelt's predecessor as Governor of New York, announced
that he would be available for the nomination, and was assisted in
his bid by two principal figures: John J. Raskob and Jouett Shouse,
who urged local Democratic organizations not to instruct their delegates
to the convention which candidate to vote for. FDR's team, especially
James A. Farley and Louis McHenry Howe, worked vigorously to combat
the Stop-Roosevelt coalition headed by Shouse, and FDR emerged triumphant.
It was in FDR's acceptance speech after his nomination that he pledged
himself and the American People to a New Deal.
|"Hyde Park/ Sunday/ Dear Jouett/
Two weeks and more ago, when I got your fine telegramI
dictated a letter to you, but in the rush of putting off on
the boat trip it was not sentanyway I would much rather
write you long hand and more personally./ I really do [underlined]
appreciate your good sportsmanship and also your real and fundamental
devotion to the Democratic party through all these years. I
hope you thoroughly know that I have at all times, privately
and publicly praised you for all that you did to lay the necessary
groundwork for the victories in 1930 and the coming victories
this yearWithout that work our party position would be
less clear and the Republican propaganda would have been far
more damaging./ I am not one to hold any rancor towards the
give and take of battle during the pre-nomination campaignand
as you know I was wholly ready to support and work for the nominees
and the party if someone other than myself had been chosenIt
is good to know that your attitude is the sameI know too
that you can and will be of great help in many ways during the
coming 3½ months of activityand I hope much that
you will come up to Albany some day soon at your convenience
to see meI expect to make no extended trip for over a
month anyway/ Let me know when you can come./ Always sincerely,/
Franklin D. Roosevelt."
What an historically important letter, showing the efforts that FDR
was making to mend fences as he secured his power base within the
Democratic party. In the wake of his Convention victory, FDR writes
to Shouse trying to unify the party for the coming campaign. His careful,
measured tone reveals the fragile nature of many of the relationships
within the Democratic party as the election of 1932 drew near, and
FDR's need to have as much support from Shouse as he could possibly
gain, which turned out to be very little help indeed. After all, it
had been sixteen years since the Democrats last won a Presidential
election. Despite FDR's efforts, Shouse continued to confront him.
As president of the American Liberty League, Shouse opposed and attacked
nearly every New Deal measure.
By early 1934, a vice president at DuPont, R. M. Carpenter, was writing
Raskob and Shouse about FDR "seeking to set labor against capital,
buying votes from the poor, attacking corporate wealth and other transgressions."
Funded by the corporate executives at General Motors, Dupont and other
companies, the group secured Democrats Al Smith, and 1924 Presidential
nominee, John W. Davis, on their Board of Directors, with Shouse as
its leader. Meetings were often held at Smith's Empire State Building
Office. Heavily funded by DuPont and other corporations and dominated
politically by Republicans, the group became the anti-New Deal voice
Jouett Shouse (1879-1968) was born in Midway, Kentucky, on December
10, 1879, the son of the Reverend John Samuel Shouse, a Christian
minister, and Anna Armstrong Shouse. He received his education in
the public schools of Missouri and the University of Missouri. Returning
to Kentucky, Shouse served on the staff of the Lexington Herald from
1898 to 1904. He also served as secretary of the Lexington Chamber
of Commerce and the Blue Grass Fair Association and edited the Kentucky
Farmer and Breeder. Shouse went to Kansas in 1911, where he married.
He was elected to the United States Congress from the Seventh Kansas
district in 1915 and served two terms. He was named Assistant Secretary
of the Treasury by Woodrow Wilson, serving from 1919 to 1920. A protegé
and close personal friend of DuPont lawyer John J. Raskob, Shouse
had gained the reputation of a political insider. In 1928, Raskob,
a former director of General Motors, was moved into the chairmanship
of the Democratic National Committee, running Al Smith's ill-fated
Presidential campaign. Not wishing to give up control of the Democratic
party to the political machines or to progressive forces such as FDR,
Raskob brought in Shouse as the executive director of the national
committee, a position he kept from 1929 to 1932, as well as President
of the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment from 1932 to
1933, and President of the anti-FDR and anti-New Deal American Liberty
League from 1934 to 1938. Shouse died in 1968.
This hand-written letter from FDR to Jouett Shouse is of great historical
value, and shows FDR's personal attempts at mending fences with one
of the main power brokers in the Democratic party of the time before
it became the Franklin D. Roosevelt Democratic party.
FDR baseball collection, featuring signed
photographs, American League admission pass, signed FDR baseballs,
and even a baseball bat signed by FDR! An
FDR Baseball collection, featuring signed photographs, Eleanor Roosevelt's
pass to the American League during World War II, several signed
baseballs, and a fabulous FDR signed wooden mini-baseball bat. Besides
the absolute rarity of this baseball collection, what makes this
special FDR collection all the more special is that it is well known
that FDR loved baseball. "Baseball and America have grown up
together. In fact, The Game is such an integral part of our culture
that we often take for granted its deep day-to-day significance
in our lives," noted Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the Board
of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Harold Burr, writing
in Baseball Magazine in 1939, stated that "Roosevelt enjoys
himself at a ball game as much as a kid on Christmas morning. Once
in his field box the present president believes again that there
is a Santa Claus. He gets right into the spirit of the game, munches
peanuts, applauds good plays and chuckles over bad ones." FDR
himself had many memorable quotations about his love of the game
of baseball. For example, during his years as President FDR made
the following statements about baseball, including metaphorical
statements using baseball to illustrate the work of his own Administration:
Several FDR signed baseballs as well as FDR's
1935 picture with Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack, signed
by both, attest to the truth of this wonderful association between
President and baseball. FDR is also noted for his "Green Light
Letter," written by FDR in 1942 to the Commissioner of Baseball,
Kenesaw Mountain Landis, encouraging professional baseball to continue
through wartime. FDR noted that baseball could play an important role
in boosting morale during the nation's time of great challenge. A
fabulous FDR collection in its own right!
"I'd come out more often Clark, but I'm
such a nuisance....If 300 teams use 5,000 or 6,000 players, these
players are a definite recreational asset to at least 20,000,000
of the fellow citizens - and that in my judgment is thoroughly
worthwhile....If I didn't have to hobble up those steps in front
of all those people, I'd be out at that ball park every day....I
have no expectation of making a hit every time I come to bat.
What I seek is the highest possible batting average, not only
for myself, but for my team....I honestly feel that it would be
best for the country to keep baseball going....I'm the kind of
fan who wants to get plenty of action for my money. I get the
biggest kick out of the biggest score - a game in which the hitters
pole the ball into the far corners of the field, the outfielders
scramble and men run the bases....You know how I really feel?
I feel like a baseball team going into the ninth inning with only
eight men left to play."
A large original signed b/w photograph
of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his Cabinet Room at the White
House, surrounded by several notable international members of the
Pacific War Council, meeting with FDR less than four months after
Pearl Harbor, and two months before the Battle of Midway which gave
the United States and her allies the first taste of victory against
the Japanese in World War II. No
wonder all the eminent gentlemen in the photograph, including FDR
himself, look saturnine! A truly historical snapshot of a very critical
moment for the United States, with FDR taking the lead in convening
this meeting of the Pacific War Council to discuss Allied strategy
in the Pacific since the recent and abrupt entrance of the United
States into the war. The photograph measures a full 17 x 10"
and is autographed by FDR above his position in the photograph. The
photograph is date stamped April 2, 1942 on the back of the photograph,
the actual meeting of the Pacific War Council took place at the White
House on April 1, 1942 as confirmed by the FDR Library and Museum
in Hyde Park, NY. The members of the Pacific War Council seated around
FDR in the signed photograph are (from right to left): Harry L. Hopkins,
Alexander Loudon (Netherlands), Hume Wrong (Canada), FDR with full
signature, Lord Halifax (United Kingdom), Herbert Evatt (Australia),
Walter Nash (New Zealand), and T.V. Soong (China). Signature is bold,
matted and framed in gold leaf to Smithsonian standards; a fantastic
and historical piece.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, one page, quarto,
White House Washington letterhead, April 3, 1933, FDR's first month
in office as President of the United States of America! This letter
is written to a very important progressive businessman of the era,
Mr. Edward A. Filene, Esq., concerning research on the establishment
of credit unions in the United States, a very important and historical
topic. FDR writes: "Dear Mr.
Filene:/ Thank you very much for your letter of March 24th,
enclosing advance copies of the research reports. I am delighted to
have them and am talking it over with a number of people./ I do hope
later on we shall have an opportunity to have a further talk about
them./ Very sincerely yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." The credit
union idea is a simple and progressive one: people should be able
to pool their money and make loans to each other. It is an idea that
evolved from cooperative activities in nineteenth century Europe.
Since that time, the idea's guiding principles have remained the same:
(1) Only people who are credit union members should borrow there;
(2) loans are made for "prudent and productive" purposes;
(3) a person's desire to repay (character) is considered more important
than the ability (income) to repay. Members are, after all, borrowing
their own money and that of their friends. These principles still
govern most of the world's credit unions. As the twentieth century
began, the credit union idea surfaced in Canada. Canada's successful
efforts profoundly influenced two Americans: Pierre Jay, the Massachusetts
banking commissioner, and Edward A. Filene, a Boston merchant. The
two men helped organize public hearings on credit union legislation
in Massachusetts, leading to passage of the first state credit union
act in 1909. As a New York State senator, Franklin Delano Roosevelt
sponsored the state's first credit union law and later, as President,
signed the first federal credit union law. This letter from FDR to
Mr. Filene lays the groundwork for this national legislation during
FDR's first weeks in office as President.
Edward A. Filene discovered credit unions in a village in India in
1907. He had stopped in Calcutta and met a government official who
took Filene out into the countryside. There Filene first observed
a village credit union in operation and immediately was interested.
Back home again, he began reading about credit unions to strengthen
his knowledge. In 1920, Roy Bergengren, a poverty lawyer, was hired
by Edward Filene to manage the Massachusetts Credit Union Association
to promote the development of credit unions in that state. Within
a year, Massachusetts chartered 19 new credit unions. Encouraged by
this success, Filene organized and Bergengren managed a national association
to promote credit unions throughout the country: the Credit Union
National Extension Bureau. By 1925, twenty six states had passed credit
union legislation. By 1930, that number grew to 32 states with a total
of 1,100 credit unions. In 1934, FDR signed the Federal Credit Union
Act into law, authorizing the establishment of federally chartered
credit unions in all states. The purpose of the federal law was "to
make more available to people of small means credit for provident
purposes through a national system of cooperative credit." In
the Congressional debate over the Federal Credit Union Act, neither
the Comptroller of the Currency nor the Federal Reserve Board wanted
to oversee federal credit unions. Eventually the Farm Credit Administration
agreed to take the responsibility. Regulatory responsibility shifted
over the years to include bureaus within the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation, the Federal Security Agency, and the Department of Health,
Education and Welfare.
Edward A. Filene was perhaps the ideal American to give the credit
union idea a push. He was a progressive thinker for his time. He had
begun profit-sharing plans for his employees, instituted other novel
fringe benefit programs, was the founder of the "bargain basement"
idea in department store operation, allowed his employees to engage
in collective bargaining and arbitration, established minimum wages
for female workers, and advocated a five-day, 40-hour week. In the
early 1900s, such ideas were revolutionary. Besides his creative approach
to business, Filene was also one of the founders of the United States
Chamber of Commerce.
This letter from FDR to Mr. Filene is a critical indication of the
time and attention the new President was putting into this initiative
for federal legislation establishing credit unions and laid the groundwork
for the passage of the the Federal Credit Union Act in the next year.
This letter is a fabulous and historical correspondence between these
two great progressives, written by FDR to Mr. Filene during his first
month as President.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt responds to
Pearl Harbor and the American declarations of war against Japan
(December 8, 1941) and Germany (December 11, 1941) in a letter of
executive appointment to Albert Wahl Hawkes (1878-1971, President
of Congoleum-Nairn, Inc.) barely a month after the American declarations
of war. A wonderful typed letter signed "Franklin D. Roosevelt,"
Washington, D.C., January 12, 1942, 8vo., on White House letterhead.
A very important letter showcasing FDR's
early executive strategy in waging a two-front war in Europe and Asia.
"I have today by Executive Order established
the National War Labor Board. It will, as you know, be the duty
of this Board to adjust and to settle any labor dispute which
threatens the effective prosecution of the war and which cannot
otherwise be settled. The imperative necessity that production
continue without interruption places upon the Board a grave and
an important responsibility./ I have named you a member of this
board, representative of employers. I believe that you will make
a significant contribution to the nation's war effort./ Copies
of the Executive Order creating the Board, and of my statement
announcing the appointees, are enclosed./ With all good wishes,
I am/ Sincerely yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt."
Albert Wahl Hawkes was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 20, 1878.
In addition to his service for FDR in World War II, he became a U.S.
Senator from New Jersey, 1943-1949. He died in Palm Desert, California
on May 9, 1971.
Following the United States' entry into the war in 1941, President
Roosevelt called a conference of labor, employer and government representatives
with the objective of ending industrial disputes which might hinder
production during the war. By December 23, 1941, three general points
were accepted: 1) there would be no strikes or lockouts; 2) all disputes
would be settled by peaceful means; and 3) the President would set-up
a war labor board to make a final determination on all disputes not
settled by agreement between the parties.
In accordance with the three articles of agreement, the National War
Labor Board was established by Presidential Executive Order on January
12, 1942. President Roosevelt appointed a tri-partite Board with 4
representatives each from the public, industry and labor sectors.
Initially, the NWLB functioned only in Washington, D.C., settling
labor disputes affecting the war effort. Later that year, Congress,
by the Act of October 2, 1942, called upon the President to order
a stabilization program freezing prices, wages and salaries to the
level existing on September 15, 1942. On October 3, 1942, the Presidential
Executive Order No. 9250 delegated some of the administration of wage
and salary stabilization to the National War Labor Board. It extended
the Board's authority over wage earners and salaried employees under
$5,000. The Internal Revenue Service was responsible for the stabilization
of salaries for employees with salaries over $5,000. Agricultural
and railroad workers were also placed under the jurisdiction of other
agencies. The NWLB became part of a comprehensive program of economic
stabilization controlling civilian purchasing power, including prices,
rents, wages, salaries, profits, rationing, and subsidies. The stated
goals were to prevent avoidable increases in the cost of living, minimize
the unnecessary migration of labor from one industry to another, and
facilitate the prosecution of the war.
Established in 1943, the Wage Stabilization Division of the NWLB was
given the responsibility for establishing a system to process all
requests for wage adjustment. Its mandate was to correct maladjustments
and inequities and to eliminate substandards of living. Its initial
guideline was "The Little Steel Formula," as set forth in
an NWLB decision of July 1942. This formula limited wage rate increases
based on changes in the cost-of-living to 15% over rates on January
1, 1941. Wage stabilization brought a huge workload before the National
War Labor Board.
To administer this increased scope of work, it established 12 regional
boards, with the same tripartite representation as the National Board,
and assigned them the authority to make final decisions in labor disputes
and to make rulings in voluntary wage and salary adjustments. The
National War Labor Board worked in conjunction with other government
agencies within the Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division, Conciliation
Service, National Labor Relations Board, and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some records generated by these agencies are also in this collection.
Wage stabilization was also coordinated with the Office of Price Administration,
War Food Administration, War Production Board, War Manpower Commission,
and many more departments.
The National War Labor Board utilized the existing labor relations
structure between unions and employers. Where possible, steps toward
wage settlement started with collective bargaining. In cases of impasse,
the next step was the U. S. Conciliation Service. If impasse continued,
the dispute cases were brought before the Board. By June 1943, the
Regional War Labor Boards were using the bracket principle for making
wage adjustments. Wage brackets were defined as "the sound and
tested going rates of occupational groups within specific labor market
areas." They set the minima and maxima wage rates for key occupations.
They were deemed a sound economic approach for eliminating wage inequities.
The creation of bracket rates speeded up the processing of cases and
reduced the huge backlog of applications for wage adjustments--both
voluntary and disputed cases.
The National War Labor Board terminated its activities by Presidential
Executive Order 9672 on December 31, 1945. NWLB Chairman, Lloyd K.
Garrison, reported to the President on the Board's work over almost
four years of its existence. Up to V-J Day, the Board had settled
17,807 disputes involving 12,300,000 employees. Voluntary application
for wage adjustments to all regions averaged 2,700 a week. This total
was 415,000 applications involving 26,300,000 employees. The Board's
total staff in Washington, D.C. and in twelve regions totaled 2,613
employees at its peak. The same order terminating the NWLB established
the National Wage Stabilization Board, an agency within the Department
of Labor which operated until February 24, 1947. It carried out limited
wage stabilization during the period of reconversion to a peacetime
In FDR's own hand in its entirety, as President of the United States,
with very special and historical content, an exceedingly rare feedback
note to his Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, concerning the Social
Security legislation being crafted.
The directive to Secretary Perkins is written on a 5 x 8" sheet
of paper entirely by FDR in his own hand: "Unemployment insurance
as applied to Colleges' & Universities' employees. This will bankrupt
a large % of the private institutions." Secretary Perkins writes
in her own hand below FDR's feedback: "Written by F. D. Roosevelt
Pres. Of the U.S.A. as memo to me to exempt this from Social Security
Bill. February 27th 1935./ Frances Perkins/ Sec. Of Labor." Attached
to this fabulous and historical note is another note, on 4 x 5"
Department of Labor stationery, also in Secretary Perkins' hand, written
in pencil: "Put with my memorabilia."
Frances Perkins (1882-1965), whose original name was Fannie Coralie
Perkins, was United States Secretary of Labor during the Presidency
of Franklin D. Roosevelt . Besides being the first woman to be appointed
to a cabinet post, she also served one of the longest terms of any
Roosevelt appointee (19331945). A resident of Worcester, Massachusetts
with her family, Perkins graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1902
and for some years taught school and served as a social worker. She
worked briefly with Jane Addams at Hull House in Chicago and then
resumed her studies, first at the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce
of the University of Pennsylvania and then at Columbia University,
where she took an M.A. in social economics in 1910. From that year
until 1912 she was executive secretary of the Consumers' League of
New York. In that position she lobbied successfully for improved wages
and working conditions, especially for women and children. From 1912
to 1917 she was executive secretary of the New York Committee on Safety
and from 1917 to 1919 executive director of the New York Council of
Organization for War Service. She was appointed in 1919 to New York's
State Industrial Commission by Governor Alfred E. Smith, and in 1923
she was named to the State Industrial Board, of which she became chairman
in 1926. Smith's successor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, appointed Perkins
state industrial commissioner in 1929. She was, both before and after
the onset of the Great Depression of the 1930s, a strong advocate
of unemployment insurance and close government supervision of fiscal
When FDR entered the presidency in 1933 he named Perkins secretary
of labor, making her the first woman to serve in a cabinet position.
After the initial controversy of her appointment died away she settled
into a twelve-year term of effective administration of her department.
She pushed for a minimum wage and maximum workweek, a limit on employment
of children under 16, creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps
, and unemployment compensation, all of which were enacted. She helped
draft the Social Security Act and supervised the Fair Labor Standards
Act (1938). When the focus of labor activity shifted in the late 1930s
from government to unions, Perkins played a less visible role. Her
most important work was then the building up of the Department of
Labor, particularly the strengthening of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Two months after FDR's death, Perkins resigned from the Cabinet, but
she remained in government as a United States civil service commissioner
until 1953. From then until her death, she lectured on the problems
of labor and industry. In 1934 she published People at Work,
and The Roosevelt I Knew, a record of her association with
the late president, appeared in 1946. A fabulous letter with interesting
content from the President of the United States to his Secretary of
Labor. A fabulous memo of feedback to Secretary Perkins from FDR in
his own hand regarding the crafting of the Social Security Act as
applied to unemployment insurance for colleges and universities, deemed
important enough by Secretary Perkins that she purposefully saved
FDR's handwritten note to her in her "memorabilia" collection.
A tremendous and historically significant
March 11, 1938 signed letter on White House stationery from FDR
to his Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins on FDR's support of the
Small Claims Court Act, with very special content. FDR writes:
Wow! Frances Perkins (1882-1965), whose original
name was Fannie Coralie Perkins, was United States Secretary of Labor
during the Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt . Besides being the
first woman to be appointed to a cabinet post, she also served one
of the longest terms of any Roosevelt appointee (19331945).
Residing with her family first in Worcester, Massachusetts, Perkins
graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1902 and for some years taught
school and served as a social worker. She worked briefly with Jane
Addams at Hull House in Chicago and then resumed her studies, first
at the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce of the University of
Pennsylvania and then at Columbia University, where she took an M.A.
in social economics in 1910. From that year until 1912 she was executive
secretary of the Consumers' League of New York. In that position she
lobbied successfully for improved wages and working conditions, especially
for women and children. From 1912 to 1917 she was executive secretary
of the New York Committee on Safety and from 1917 to 1919 executive
director of the New York Council of Organization for War Service.
She was appointed in 1919 to New York's State Industrial Commission
by Governor Alfred E. Smith, and in 1923 she was named to the State
Industrial Board, of which she became chairman in 1926. Smith's successor,
Franklin D. Roosevelt, appointed Perkins state industrial commissioner
in 1929. She was, both before and after the onset of the Great Depression
of the 1930s, a strong advocate of unemployment insurance and close
government supervision of fiscal policy.
"My dear Madam Secretary:/ I have your
letter of March fifth in support of the Small Claims Court Act
(S. 1835)./ I was pleased to approve the measure. It will assist
in securing justice for persons having small claims who are financially
unable to retain counsel. It is also a move in the general direction
of simplification of legal procedure./ Very sincerely yours,/
Franklin D. Roosevelt."
When FDR entered the presidency in 1933 he named Perkins secretary
of labor, making her the first woman to serve in a cabinet position.
After the initial controversy of her appointment died away she settled
into a twelve-year term of effective administration of her department.
She pushed for a minimum wage and maximum workweek, a limit on employment
of children under 16, creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps
, and unemployment compensation, all of which were enacted. She helped
draft the Social Security Act and supervised the Fair Labor Standards
Act (1938). When the focus of labor activity shifted in the late 1930s
from government to unions, Perkins played a less visible role. Her
most important work was then the building up of the Department of
Labor, particularly the strengthening of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Two months after FDR's death, Perkins resigned from the Cabinet, but
she remained in government as a United States civil service commissioner
until 1953. From then until her death, she lectured on the problems
of labor and industry. In 1934 she published People at Work,
and The Roosevelt I Knew, a record of her association with
the late president, appeared in 1946. A fabulous letter with interesting
and historical content from the President of the United States to
his Secretary of Labor. A fabulous letter to Secretary Perkins from
FDR regarding the establishment of a major piece of judicial reform
with special implication for persons "who are financially unable
to retain counsel."
In FDR's own hand in its entirety, an autograph
letter signed, a very historical and extremely rare letter dated
January 1, 1913, the first day of FDR's second term as a New York
State Senator on The Senate of the State of New York, Albany/ Franklin
D. Roosevelt, 26th District/ Chairman/ Committee on Forest, Fish
and Game letterhead. FDR writes in his own hand to ill-fated
New York Governor William Sulzer on the Governor's first day in
the Executive Mansion:
FDR employs an interesting writing style
in this letter to the newly inaugurated Governor. Governor William
("Plain Bill") Sulzer was born on March 18, 1863, in Elizabeth,
New Jersey, and died November 6, 1941, in New York City (when FDR
was President, a month before Pearl Harbor). As the Democratic governor
of New York whose first day in office is the date of FDR's letter
to him on January 1, 1913, he was later impeached that year and
removed from office as a result of his quarrel with the Tammany
Hall Democratic political machine. Admitted to the bar in New York
(1884), Sulzer entered politics as a Democrat affiliated with Tammany
Hall. He served in the New York Assembly (18891894) and in
the United States House of Representatives (18951912), and
in 1912 he was elected Governor of New York with the support of
the Tammany organization. Soon after he took office, however, Governor
Sulzer broke with Tammany and endorsed a reform-oriented agenda.
An intraparty fight between Sulzer and Tammany boss Charles F. Murphy
led to Sulzer's impeachment on charges that were ambiguous and referred
to conduct prior to his election as governor. The state senate convicted
him and removed him from office (October 18, 1913), after FDR had
departed the state senate to serve as Assistant Secretary of the
Navy in the Woodrow Wilson Administration. Sulzer's impeachment
and removal from office as Governor has been described as a political
lynching and is widely regarded as a blatant example of the misuse
of the impeachment process for political or partisan purposes. He
was elected to the state Assembly in a special election (November
4, 1913), but did not thereafter hold public office and engaged
in the practice of law until his death. Sulzer was replaced as Governor
by Martin H. Glynn (several correspondences, including a handwritten
letter by FDR, between Governor Glynn and FDR are also part of this
"My dear Governor Sulzer:/ You will discover
as time goes on that I do not give promiscuous endorsements to
office-seekers./ If, however, you want to find a man to be State
Health Commissioner I want to suggest Dr. John C. Otis of Poughkeepsie./
He does not seek the officeBut every man woman and child
in Dutchess County knows his character, ability, and splendid
record in the posts he has filled/ This is short and meant
to be emphatic./ Very sincerely yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt."
As Assistant Secretary of the Navy, FDR watched his home state Democratic
feud with concern. After all, FDR had made a name for himself in
New York politics as a progressive, and come to the attention of
national political figures, in his early battles with Boss Murphy
and Tammany as a New York State Senator from 1911 to 1913. The impeachment
charges against Sulzer fabricated by Boss Murphy and Tammany included
dishonest reporting of campaign funds and a misuse of them for personal
speculations in Wall Street. FDR found "a certain grim, ironic
humor in the spectacle of Tammany seeking to remove a Governor...[for]
violating the election laws." Louis McHenry Howe, FDR's closest
personal and political advisor, cautioned FDR to stay clear of the
battle between Sulzer and Tammany, especially when Sulzer made repeated
appeals to FDR in Washington to intercede on behalf of the Wilson
Administration in his fight against Tammany. There is evidence that
FDR did meet with President Wilson regarding this matter, although
the end came swiftly for Governor Sulzer, without Presidential intercession.
In the aftermath of Sulzer's impeachment and removal from office,
there was a significant backlash in New York against Tammany, and
President Wilson himself suggested the name for a new organization,
entitled the New Democracy, to be formed in New York for the purpose
of capturing control of the state's party machinery, freeing it
of Tammany bossism and making it into a trustworthy instrument of
Wilson Administration power, although given the power of Tammany
at the time, not much came of this effort. FDR, however, did get
favorable press as a result of this political infighting, and became
mentioned in New York newspapers (in "dope" stories) as
a possible progressive candidate for either New York Governor or
United States Senator.
In 1940, when FDR was President, Preston Sturges wrote and directed
The Great McGinty, the first movie in Hollywood history written
and directed by the same person. The movie was based on the true
story of Governor Sulzer. A truly magnificent letter, in FDR's own
hand, written to the new (and short-lived) Governor of New York
as a State Senator on the first day of the new year 1913, FDR's
first day in his second term as a Senator, and Governor Sulzer's
first day as chief executive of New York. A couple months after
he wrote this letter to the Governor, FDR would resign his New York
Senate seat to assume the duties of Assistant Secretary of the Navy
in the Woodrow Wilson Administration. This letter is a true rarity,
especially given the time in which it was composed and the person
to whom it was addressed, all in FDR's own hand.
In FDR's own hand in its entirety, while
a twenty one year old student at Harvard University, an autograph
note signed on Alpha Delta Phi Club stationery, February, 1903, extremely
fine, 6 3/4 x 4 3/4." FDR writes: "Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt
accepts with pleasure Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan's kind invitation for Wednesday
evening, February the eighteenth." Slight toning at top, otherwise
perfect. Research indicates that the engagement that FDR attended
was held on February 18, 1903, and was other notable guests such as
Mr. Henry James were also in attendance.
The Alpha Delta Phi Club stationery employed by FDR has much personal
significance. As a second-year student at Harvard, FDR hoped to follow
his cousin and the President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt
as a member of Harvard's prestigious Porcellian Club. The Porcellian
was the loftiest of Harvard's "final" clubs. The selection
process was rigidly hierarchical. First you had to get into the Institute
of 1770, the oldest and largest club. If you were among the first
70 or 80 of the 100 sophomores accepted, you were taken into Delta
Kappa Epsilon fraternity ("the Dickey"). Then you might
join a "waiting" club, and at last a final club like Porcellian
or Alpha Delta Phi. Your chances improved if you were a "legacy,"
that is, related to a member. By Christmas of 1901 the Institute of
1770 had elected 50 men. FDR was not one of them.
His anxious thoughts were diverted by an invitation to the social
event of the season, seventeen-year-old Alice Roosevelt's coming-out
party at the White House. Two days after Christmas, FDR wrote Harvard's
Dean Briggs, "I have been asked to a dance at the White House
in Washington on Friday January 3rd. As I have only three recitations
on Friday, and none on Saturday, do you think I might go to it? It
would be very kind of you to let me know about it." FDR spent
three days in Washington. He had tea at the White House and returned
for a private talk with TR. FDR enjoyed the dance, reporting to his
mother that "The Washington people weren't in it with the New
Yorkers and from start to finish it was glorious." Returning
to Cambridge, he found he had made both the Institute and the Dickey.
Then came the blow. Despite his ties to TR, despite the fact that
his father James Roosevelt had been an honorary member, and even though
five of the sixteen undergraduate members were Grotonians, FDR was
not among the eight sophomores elected to the Porcellian. Lathrop
Brown, FDR's roommate, would later write that "his not making'
the Porcellian meant only that he was free of any restraining influences
of a lot of delightful people who thought that the world belonged
to them and who did not want to change anything in it." FDR settled
for membership in the next most prestigious club, Alpha Delta Phi,
also known as the Fly Club. FDR also joined the Signet Society, a
haven for students interested in the arts, and the Memorial Society,
dedicated to the preservation of Harvard history. FDR served as librarian
of the Fly, the Hasty Pudding Club, and the newly opened Harvard Union,
and began buying new and rare books for their shelves and his own.
A wonderful and extremely rare and early example of FDR's hand writing
and signature, composed on his Fly Club stationery while a student
A fabulous and historical,
not to mention exceedingly rare 8 x 10" b/w photograph of FDR
and his first Cabinet, taken in the Oval Office of the White House.
The President and his Cabinet are gathered around FDR's desk
for a formal photograph, with FDR seated in the middle at his desk.
In addition to FDR's full signature, Cabinet members signing the
photograph are: Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, Frances Perkins,
Secretary of Labor (and the first female Cabinet member in American
history), Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, James A. Farley,
Postmaster General, Claude A. Swanson, Secretary of the Navy, George
H. Dern, Secretary of War, Homer S. Cummings, Attorney General,
Daniel C. Roper, Secretary of Commerce, and Henry A. Wallace, Secretary
of Agriculture. The only signature missing is that of Secretary
of the Treasury William H. Woodin, seated immediately to FDR's left
in the photograph. It very well could be that because ill health
removed Woodin from the Cabinet before FDR's first year as President
was complete, Woodin may have been absent during the period when
this photograph was signed by FDR and all his other Cabinet members.
The signatures of FDR, Swanson, Dern, Ickes, Wallace, and Perkins
are bold. The signatures of Hull, Cummings, Farley, and Roper are
somewhat faded, but clearly visible under appropriate lighting.
A fantastic signed photograph of the President and his first executive
team as he began his historic tenure as President of the United
This is the group FDR selected as his first team to combat the Great
Depression, and several of these individuals remained during FDR's
long Presidency. Franklin D. Roosevelt was governor of New York,
when the Wall Street Crash in October 1929, created the worst depression
in American history. Roosevelt made strenuous attempts to help those
without work. He set up the New York State Emergency Relief Commission
and appointed the respected Harry Hopkins (not yet in the Cabinet)
to run the agency. Another popular figure with a good record for
helping the disadvantaged, Frances Perkins, was recruited to the
team as state industrial commissioner. With the help of Hopkins
and Perkins, Roosevelt introduced help for the unemployed and those
too old to work. Roosevelt was seen as great success as governor
of New York and he was the obvious choice as the Democratic presidential
candidate in 1932. Although Roosevelt was vague about what he would
do about the economic depression, he easily beat his unpopular Republican
rival, Herbert Hoover. Roosevelt's first act as president was to
deal with the country's banking crisis. Since the beginning of the
depression, a fifth of all banks had been forced to close. As a
consequence, around 15% of people's life-savings had been lost.
By the beginning of 1933 the American people were starting to lose
faith in their banking system and a significant proportion were
withdrawing their money and keeping it at home. The day after taking
office as president, Roosevelt ordered all banks to close. He then
asked Congress to pass legislation which would guarantee that savers
would not lose their money if there was another financial crisis.
On 9th March 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt called a special session
of Congress. He told the members that unemployment could only be
solved "by direct recruiting by the Government itself."
For the next three months, Roosevelt proposed, and Congress passed,
a series of important bills that attempted to deal with the problem
of unemployment. The special session of Congress became known as
the Hundred Days and provided the basis for Roosevelt's New Deal.
The government employed people to carry out a range of different
tasks. These projects included the Works Projects Administration
(WPA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the National Youth
Administration (NYA), Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National
Recovery Administration (NRA) and the Public Works Administration
(PWA). Other schemes adminstered by the Works Projects Administration
included the Federal Writers Project (1935-39) Federal Theatre Project
(1935-39) and the Federal Art Project (1935-43). As well as trying
to reduce unemployment, Roosevelt also attempted to reduce the misery
for those who were unable to work. One of the bodies Roosevelt formed
was the Federal Emergency Relief Administration which provided federal
money to help those in desperate need. Other legislation passed
by Roosevelt included the Agricultural Adjustment Act (1933), National
Housing Act (1934), the Federal Securities Act (1934). In August
1935 the Social Security Act was passed. This act set up a national
system of old age pensions and co-ordinated federal and state action
for the relief of the unemployed. During the 1936 presidential election,
Roosevelt was attacked for not keeping his promise to balance the
budget. The National Labor Relations Act was unpopular with businessmen
who felt that it favoured the trade unions. Some went as far as
accusing Roosevelt of being a communist. However, the New Deal was
extremely popular with the electorate and Roosevelt easily defeated
the Republican Party candidate, Alfred M. Landon, by 27,751,612
votes to 16,681,913.
Letter signed November 19, 1940 on White House
stationery to Joseph Curran, noted labor leader, concerning the
activities of the FBI in investigating his union activities, fantastic
and historically relevant content! FDR writes
"Because of the serious nature of the
allegations contained in your communication of October 19, 1940,
I caused a careful study to be made by both the Department of
Justice and the Department of Labor. You state: members
and officials are being shadowed and hounded by representatives
of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A one hundred page report
of an investigation of the National Maritime Union by the F.B.I.,
which was supposedly pigeonholed, has, in some mysterious manner,
fallen into the hands of certain Congressmen, who, without any
basic reason, immediately read portions of it into the Congressional
Record. The press, which even you will agree, has been extremely
reactionary of late, immediately carried all these fantastic tales
in an effort to discredit our organization in the eyes of the
public.' You ask then that you be given an opportunity to answer
these statements and allegations in an open and impartial hearing.
I am able to say to you that the Federal Bureau of Investigation
has not investigated the National Maritime Union; that no such
one hundred page report which you mention is in existence; neither
has the Department of Justice made available to any Congressmen
any information it obtains by virtue of investigations made by
the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The function of that Bureau
is to conduct investigations of complaints which justify such
action and its records and files are maintained in a strictly
confidential manner. The contents of its reports are not made
public but are for the exclusive guidance of those officials charged
with the responsibility for the enforcement of the nation-wide
laws. Very sincerely yours,/Franklin D. Roosevelt" (very
The history of organizations, as of nations,
is defined by the story of certain individuals. In the case of the
National Maritime Union, indeed, the whole story of the emancipation
of seamen which began in the 1930s, the dormant figure is Joseph
P. Curran. He was born in New York City in 1906. His father died
while Curran was still a very small child. His mother had to take
work as a domestic and boarded young Joe with a German family in
New Jersey. It was a warm family with several children of their
own and they welcomed Joe as one of the family. Formal schooling
had little lure for the boy. He was, in his own words, a "handful"
to the nuns and public school teachers whose classes he attended.
In the sixth grade, Joe abandoned school altogether for a series
of jobs in factories, a brief period of caddying at a country club
and a year's stint at 15 (he lied about his age) in the Life Saving
Service, the forerunner of the Coast Guard.
When he was nearly 16, he took a job as an office boy in New York
City. This, it developed, was a decisive turn in Curran's career.
The office was at 17 Battery Place in New York City, blessed with
a commanding view of the city's harbor and constant traffic of ships.
Joe was fascinated by the scene. He kept gazing out the windows
at the ships entering and leaving the harbor, imagining the far
ports to which they were bound or returning from. Looking out those
windows he made his decision he was not going to go on imagining
what those voyages were like, he would find a way to sail them.
This was 1922. The industry was in a post war depression. There
was no open door for would-be seamen. But young Curran got himself
hired as a "deck boy" by Munson Lines. The "deck
boy" category was a company device for getting sailors at less
than the going rate of $40 to $50 a month. When Curran reported
to the ship, however, it turned out that he hadn't been hired to
sail. All they wanted him to do was the job of removing broken bricks
from the fire box of ships during their stay in port. That wasn't
what Joe was looking for. But through the short-lived pier-side
assignment to a ship, he had his seamen's papers. Next stop was
the government sponsored Emergency Fleet Corporation, which operated
the large "white elephant" fleet, built during the World
War I, but completed too late to serve in the war. Here, Curran
had his first experience with the harpies seamen had to contend
with. Tall, strong and eager to prove himself at a sea-going job,
Curran found it difficult to accept the kickback system. But, as
he said many years later, "I started to get wise very rapidly."
Changing the system would have to wait; his first problem was to
get to sea.
It took several months but at last, in 1923, he got out aboard a
Mallory Transport Company's ship bound for the Mediterranean ports.
The two-and-a-half month voyage turned out to be a rough initiation.
The weather was fierce all the way. Joe spent rainy, snowy days
climbing up and down masts, cursing the food and foul living conditions
- as everyone else in the fo'c'sle did. Yet, for all the discomforts
and hazards that went with it, he soon decided he was going to stay
with the sea. When the ship returned to New York, he recalled
Pride in his skills and a high degree of responsibility
marked Curran's attitude toward his job from his earliest days at
sea. Ashore he could be as wild as any seaman but only a major catastrophe
could keep him from getting back to his ship on time and, regardless
of condition, turning to for his watch. By the same token, he was
impatient with the abuse and corruption that were imposed on seamen
aboard ship and ashore. Shipowners and most skippers could abide
incompetence and irresponsibility in seamen far more readily than
they could a tendency to sound off about rotten conditions. So the
going was often rough for Curran. Once, as his ship was outbound
through Delaware Bay, the crew was served putrid chicken. The ship
was a particularly bad feeder; but this was too much. Who was to
complain who else but Big Joe. Without hesitation, Curran
went to the captain. He didn't just tell the captain about the chicken,
he brought the foul-smelling bird with him and shoved it in front
of the captain's face. The Captain got the message but little good
it did. The crew's mess did not improve and Curran was fired at
the next port.
"I stayed. I stayed because I felt that
I was home. I made another trip and this one wasn't so bad. I
got initiated into the secrets of seamanship. There was an old
sailor on there who took me in hand. I must say that he made a
good sailor of me. I took to it and I am proud to say that I could
splice and handle any and all the gear on the ship as well as
anyone else and better than most."
He kept learning as he sailed. He learned about ships and navigation
and about people and what makes them tick. He sailed on vessels
of all types all over the world, having his share of drama and danger,
adventure and hardship. There was an interlude in which Curran got
a job through what was known as "the slave market" on
a dredge in Southern Florida, reclaiming land that later was the
center of the sensational real estate boom there. Living conditions
and pay on the dredge were sensational compared with those on deep
sea vessels, he remembers. Curran was put in charge of the dredge
operation but that job ended when the dredge's job was done and
he went back to sea. The kid who had been a "handful"
in school developed a thirst for knowledge. On the long voyages
he had plenty of chance to read and his favorite reading was history.
There was little indication in those early years, however, as the
young seaman read how certain individuals affected the course of
history, that he had any sense of mission for himself. He was devoted
to the sea, proud to be a seaman. He had no ambitions beyond the
ships. He would work to master his craft, take no gruff from anybody,
and if a decent break came his way, he'd make the most of it. The
onset of the Great Depression brought a change in Curran's thinking.
It did not bring any personal disaster or personal threat. He had
known hardship and hunger often in the past. He knew the ropes well
enough now to be confident of being able to get along even in the
leanest of times.
But the spectacle of national collapse, the mass tragedy, the breakdown
of the economy made a deep impression on him. Where he had been
content in the certainty that he could make his own way by his wit
and strength in spite of the injustices and oppression of the system,
he now felt a need to take a hand in changing the system that had
created this national tragedy. And the place for him to begin was
on the ships, among his fellow seamen. Joe now began devouring books
on economics, politics, parliamentary procedure and trade union
organization. He became more active in union affairs. He was always
ready to serve as union delegate aboard ship and his shipmates were
glad to elect him to the post. He developed a reputation not only
as an aggressive spokesman but as a wily and effective one. His
reputation grew, not only among seamen but also among the companies
and the ISU shore side officials as well, where he was not regarded
with favor. Under the Presidency of FDR, the growth of the industrial
union movement served as an inspiration to Curran. He saw this as
the wave of the future for workers and resolved to help set his
union on this course. He joined in setting up the rank-and-file
movement in the ISU with this objective. The seeds had been sown.
Curran still had no specific ambitions other than to be a good seaman.
But this now meant doing all he could to make the ISU strong, honest
and effective so it could do the job for seamen that had to be done.
How far he would go couldn't be foreseen, but his role of leadership
in the struggle for seamen's rights was inevitable. Only a suitable
occasion was needed for the beginning.
That occasion was March 1, 1936, the day the S.S. California was
to sail from San Pedro harbor. Curran recalled: "the skipper
came down and asked if we were going to stand by fore and aft to
let go. I was department delegate so I told him our answer: No.'
It was my birthday, I remember. It was sure a milestone for me.
We didn't know what we were starting and maybe it's just as well
or, who knows, we might have had cold feet." What Curran and
his shipmates were starting, as future events proved, was nothing
less than a revolution. It led to the founding of the National Maritime
Union and the eventual ascendency of seamen to first class citizenship.
At a later date a federal judge ruled that Joseph Curran, and nine
other present or former officers of the National Maritime Union,
had to pay as much as $1million in funds they embezzled. The judge
concluded that they had taken the money through unauthorized perquisites
on income taxes, excessive pension and severance payments and unearned
pay in lieu of vacation, so Curran's true legacy as a union crusader
should be evaluated in context of the noted illegal activities he
engaged in. However, at a much earlier time, this letter, a direct
and serious communication regarding the National Maritime Union
and the activities of the Government of the United States of America
(including the FBI) shortly after FDR's groundbreaking third election
as President, is a very significant one.
A rare and wonderful item, given by FDR
to his most intimate advisor and friend, Harry L. Hopkins, presented
to Hopkins on FDR's 60th birthday, the month after American entry
into World War II: A chrome desk flag pole. Inscribed on the base
of the flagpole is the following: "To HLH/ from FDR/ 1/30/42
." Wow! The flagpole itself measures 13" tall, the base
with FDR's inscription measures approximately 3" in diameter,
and the entire flagpole weighs about 9 ounces. The Franklin D. Roosevelt
Library in Hyde Park, New York, has in its collection the identical
flagpole inscribed on the same date to his wife "AER" from
FDR. FDR gave this patriotic gift to his most intimate associates
on his 60th birthday.
Harry Lloyd Hopkins (August 17, 1890-January 29, 1946), was one of
the central New Deal administrators and presidential advisers. He
was born in Sioux City, Iowa, the son of David Aldona Hopkins, a salesman
and merchant, and Anna Picket. Hopkins grew up in modest circumstances.
The family moved frequently during his youth and in 1901 settled in
Grinnell, Iowa. He attended Grinnell College, where he was instilled
with social ideals and Progressive political values of honest government,
public service by experts, and aid to the "deserving" poor.
After graduating in 1912 he entered social work in New York City.
The next year he married Ethel Gross, a social worker. They had three
sons. A daughter died in infancy.
Supported by Dr. John A. Kingsbury of New York's Association for Improving
the Conditions of the Poor, Hopkins rapidly rose as an administrator.
He experimented with work relief and served as executive secretary
of New York's first Board of Child Welfare. During World War I, he
organized civilian relief for the families of servicemen in the Gulf
States Division of the Red Cross, later becoming division manager.
He centralized administration, established clear channels of communication,
and inspired volunteers with confidence and optimism. In 1922 Hopkins
returned to New York; the next year he became president of the American
Association of Social Workers and the following year director of the
New York Tuberculosis Association. Although he remained a Progressive,
he now moved toward decentralization, allowing neighborhoods and agencies
to retain their individuality under an umbrella organization. By the
end of the decade, Hopkins inability to manage money had strained
his marriage, and he had fallen in love with Barbara Duncan, a secretary
at the Tuberculosis Association. He and his wife divorced in May 1931,
and in June he married Duncan.
The unemployment crisis of the Great Depression transformed Hopkins's
career. In 1931 he became director of Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt's
Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, which provided jobs for
New York's unemployed. When Roosevelt became president in 1933, Hopkins
was one of many strong advocates for a federal relief program, which
he believed necessary to save the country from chaos. Congress approved
the program, and Roosevelt chose Hopkins to head the Federal Emergency
Relief Administration (FERA), with $500 million to allocate to states
for direct relief, and Hopkins made headlines by rapidly distributing
money. An unemployment crisis loomed for the winter of 1933-1934,
and Hopkins persuaded President Roosevelt to propose the Civil Works
Administration (CWA) to provide work relief for all able-bodied unemployed
workers. Abandoning casework methods, the CWA hired persons simply
because they were unemployed without investigating whether they otherwise
qualified for relief. Beginning in early November, CWA employed more
than four million workers in two and a half months and undertook hundreds
of projects, varying from constructing airports to cataloguing museums
and decorating post offices. The success of the program convinced
Hopkins that employment should be a right of citizenship, and he became
an advocate of government spending to combat the Great Depression.
After the CWA ended in the spring of 1934, Hopkins continued to urge
the President to expand work relief.
After the fall elections, Roosevelt won congressional approval for
a $4 billion program, which he then saddled with a complex administrative
structure in which Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes headed an
allotments committee that recommended work projects to the president
and Hopkins headed the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which
was to provide the largest amount of relief labor for the projects.
This structure produced a contest for power between Ickes, who favored
heavy construction projects with high outlays for materials and close
supervision from Washington, and Hopkins, who favored light projects
that emphasized high employment and left much to local initiative.
After several months' struggle Roosevelt decided to emphasize Hopkins's
approach and to make the WPA the principal agency for work relief.
Construction projects dominated the WPA's activities, but the agency
also funded local art and music programs. The WPA addressed social
issues that no industrial society has resolved. Although most Americans
favored helping the unemployed and the destitute, many, including
Roosevelt and Hopkins, worried that prolonged relief, even work relief,
would foster dependency. Further, although work relief maintained
the morale and skills of the labor force, it was more costly than
the dole, and WPA spending did little to stimulate employment in basic
industries. Still, the suffering created by the depression was so
great and the political need to meet it so immediate that the value
of the WPA could not be dismissed. Hopkins's achievements put him
in the inner circles of the New Deal. FDR's secretary Louis Howe championed
his programs, as did Eleanor Roosevelt, herself a former social worker.
During 1934 Roosevelt occasionally called upon him to advocate government
programs to aid individuals instead of institutional reforms. As the
importance of the WPA increased, Hopkins moved closer to Roosevelt.
After the president's re-election in 1936, Roosevelt thought seriously
of Hopkins as a successor. Then tragedy struck. In the fall of 1937
Hopkins's wife Barbara died of cancer, leaving him responsible for
raising their young daughter. Soon thereafter Hopkins himself underwent
surgery for stomach cancer. Although he survived, the operation left
him unable to take sufficient nourishment. He nearly died in 1939,
and his poor health doomed his presidential chances and his tenure
as secretary of commerce (1938-1940). After managing FDR's renomination
at the 1940 Democratic National Convention, he resigned from the administration.
By this time World War II had erupted. With France overrun and Britain
facing a German invasion, Roosevelt asked Congress for Lend-Lease
legislation to supply Britain's defense needs, and in early 1941 he
dispatched Hopkins to London. Impressed by Prime Minister Winston
Churchill's energy, courage, and intellect, Hopkins took up the British
cause. Now less a hard-driving administrator than a sympathetic representative,
he became the friend and confidant of Churchill and other British
leaders. Soon after he returned to Washington, Roosevelt assigned
him to organize Lend-Lease. Hopkins also urged the president to take
a more aggressive stance against the Nazis. In July 1941 Hopkins flew
to London to prepare for Roosevelt and Churchill's Atlantic Conference.
Germany had invaded the Soviet Union and, encouraged by Churchill,
Hopkins obtained the president's permission to fly to Moscow to offer
aid. The dramatic trip, made under punishing conditions that threatened
Hopkins's fragile health, opened direct relations with Marshal Joseph
Stalin and prepared the way for a British-American supply mission
to Moscow that fall.
After the United States entered the war in December 1941, Hopkins
played an important role in the mobilization effort. At the Arcadia
Conference in Washington, D.C., he designed a system of allocating
American material among the Allies through the British-American Munitions
Assignments Board, which he headed. By placing the board under the
military chiefs instead of the civilian authorities, Hopkins won the
support of Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, who thereafter
relied on Hopkins as his channel to the President. Meanwhile, he had
built an informal network of Lend-Lease administrators, later known
as "the Hopkins Shop": Edward Stettinius (1900-1949), head
of Lend-Lease; Major General James H. Burns, head of the Army Ordnance
Department; W. Averell Harriman, Lend-Lease representative in London;
and Oscar Cox of the Treasury Department. In early 1942 Lewis W. Douglas,
head of the newly formed War Shipping Administration (WSA), joined
the group. Hopkins used the Hopkins Shop to convey presidential authority
to agencies and businesses and to strengthen the wartime alliance.
In 1942, he emerged as a central figure in foreign policy in his own
right. He strongly supported Marshall's plan for an Allied invasion
of France in 1942 or 1943, but that idea ran aground as the British
and Americans wrangled over strategy. Although disappointed, he resisted
American opposition to the remaining alternative, the invasion of
North Africa. The following year, Hopkins attended the major summit
conferences, where he continued to work for Allied cooperation. He
pressed for maximum efforts to deliver Lend-Lease supplies and supported
Soviet territorial claims to the Baltic states, Byelorussia, and parts
of Poland. Although he had once considered himself a socialist, he
never sympathized with communism; his efforts were shaped by the strategic
importance of the eastern front and the likelihood that the Soviet
Union would emerge as the major postwar power in Europe.
Since the spring of 1940 Hopkins had been living in the White House
with his teenage daughter, Diana, and when he married Louise Macy
in the summer of 1942, the three of them continued to live there.
Relations between Louise and Eleanor Roosevelt grew strained, however,
and the family moved to Georgetown at the end of 1943. Throughout
this time Hopkins's health remained precarious, and his appetite for
alcohol and rich foods strained his inadequate digestive system. He
was hospitalized for weeks at a time and at other times received transfusions.
He had maintained contact with his three sons, all of whom were in
the armed forces. In February 1944 the youngest, Stephen, was killed
on Namur, one of the Marshall Islands. By this time Hopkins had become
hardened to the sacrifices of war. Although shaken by his son's death,
he refused George Marshall's offer to remove his son Robert from combat
zones, saying that the war was "for keeps" and that he wanted
his sons to be "where the going is rough." That spring he
underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic. He returned to work in such
a weakened state that Roosevelt turned to others for advice about
wartime policies, especially Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau.
But Roosevelt soon lost confidence in Morgenthau, largely because
of the controversy surrounding the so-called Morgenthau Plan for the
de-industrialization of postwar Germany, and Hopkins was back in favor.
Hopkins extended the influence of the Hopkins Shop. Stettinius became
Secretary of State, Charles Bohlen became liaison between State and
the White House, and Harriman became Ambassador to the Soviet Union.
Hopkins hoped that these moves would provide the president with expert
advice and systematic preparation for summit diplomacy; after Roosevelt's
victory in the 1944 election, he sought to increase the State Department's
role in policy decisions. These efforts paid dividends at the Yalta
Conference in February 1945. On the American side this was the best
prepared and best staffed of the wartime summit conferences. The United
States arrived with an agenda focused on establishing a postwar United
Nations and establishing a balance of power between Britain, the Soviet
Union, and Nationalist China. Hopkins played an important role in
winning approval for the United Nations, and on other issues he alternately
supported the British and the Soviets, indicating an American desire
to become a postwar broker between its major allies. Hoping to establish
negotiation procedures to realize his objective, he frequently suggested
that the plenary sessions refer issues of detail to the foreign ministers.
During the conference, Hopkins developed pneumonia and returned home
to enter the Mayo Clinic. There on the afternoon of 12 April, he learned
of FDR's death. At once he returned to Washington to confer with President
Harry Truman. Eager to serve but fearful that his poor health and
the new president's desire to choose his own advisers would deny him
the opportunity, he quickly accepted Truman's request to fly to Moscow
to settle issues that had stalled the United Nations conference in
San Francisco. In several meetings with Stalin, Hopkins won important
Soviet concessions. The Moscow mission was Hopkins's last significant
public service. In July he resigned from the government and moved
to New York City, where he mediated labor disputes in the garment
industry. He returned to Washington once to receive the Distinguished
Service Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor. He had planned
to write his memoirs but had scarcely begun when his health again
failed. Worn to a skeletal appearance, he entered a New York hospital
in November 1945. He died several months later.
To many people Harry Hopkins seemed a man of puzzling contrasts. Friends
and coworkers found him honest, steadfast, and courageous; detractors
found him evasive and given to half-truths and ad hominem arguments.
Although personally motivated by high ideals of public service and
self-sacrifice, he often declared that nations are motivated only
by self-interest. Although he professed a desire for order, he was
at his best responding to unforeseen situations and taking responsibility
for problems that resulted from previous decisions. Hopkins shaped
these traits into those of a great public administrator and an expert
negotiator. He had a capacity for understanding opposing positions,
a gift for winning the confidence of others, a keen intellect, and
the ability to reduce complex issues to their essential elements.
These abilities enabled him to understand FDR's goals and methods
and to pursue them with originality, skill, and courage in times of
crisis. An unbelievably wonderful and personal item given as a gift
by FDR to his closest friend and advisor Harry L. Hopkins, on the
President's 60th birthday. A truly one of a kind item.
A very rare item, a White House, Washington
card signed by FDR as President of the United States, 2 x 4"
with a full signature, with the words "White House/ Washington"
consistent with the White House stationery design of FDR's tenure
as President in the upper right of the card. The evident disintegration
in the quality of FDR's signature indicates very strongly that this
was one of the last cards that he signed, FDR's signature is almost
unreadable, with a significant drag in the fountain pen ink at the
end of his signature, this is a very rare signature item from the
President. As Arthur Krock of the New York Times wrote on FDR's
"The impact of the news of the
President's death on the capital was tremendous. Although rumor
and a marked change in Mr. Roosevelt's appearance and manner had
brought anxiety to many regarding his health, and there had been
increasing speculation as to the effects his death would have
on the national and world situation, the fact stunned the Government
and the citizens of the capital. It was not long, however, before
the wheels of Government began once more to turn. Mr. Stettinius,
the first of the late President's Ministers to arrive at the White
House, summoned the Cabinet to meet at once. Mr. Truman, his face
gray and drawn, responded to the first summons given to any outside
Mr. Roosevelt's family and official intimates by rushing from
the Capitol. Mrs. Roosevelt had immediately given voice to the
spirit that animated the entire Government, once the first shock
of the news had passed."
A spectacularly rare
and wonderful overall sized 13 x 14" signed Christmas gift
from Christmas, 1941, a b/w photograph of both FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt,
signed as President and First Lady and distributed in the time of
the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and America's entry into World
War II. The photograph depicts both the President and First
Lady smiling, seated next to each other around a table. FDR is thumbing
through a book lying on the table and ER is knitting as they posed
for the photograph. FDR and ER sign their full names below their
depictions in the photograph, with the caption "Christmas 1941"
conforming itself to the curvature of the table in which FDR and
ER are seated. The picture itself is a wonderful one of FDR and
ER together, and in excellent condition, with vintage signatures
from the President and First Lady. FDR's signature is bold, and
the indentations made by his fountain pen on the photograph are
still clearly visible. ER's signature has faded somewhat over time,
but is still clearly visible. Photographs signed by both FDR and
ER are very rare and hard to find, especially this one given out
as America entered World War II in the days after the attack on
Pearl Harbor. Research indicates that approximately 404 of these
originally signed large Christmas gifts were given out in December,
1941, but very few remain in existence today. The photograph is
still in its original beige paper matte frame as it was given out
in 1941. Although FDR and ER are smiling in this Christmas 1941
photograph, the real story is that the United States of America
had just experienced the worst attack in its history from a foreign
power, and America was gearing up for a long war.
Christmas in Hawaii, 1941. The Christmas lights strung along Nuuanu
Avenue, one of the main shopping districts, have all been torn down
or turned off. The new bikes, wagons and dolls that would have been
Christmas presents were still sitting on docks in San Francisco,
shoved aside as the weapons and supplies of war were shipped to
Honolulu. In San Francisco, the first shipload of evacuees from
Hawaii landed on Christmas Day. Some of the women were new widows,
others didn't know what happened to their husbands. Each morning
on the ship, they rolled bandages and dressings for the gravely
wounded from Pearl Harbor who were aboard. For most on Oahu, Christmas
was a military-ordered work day. It was a time of deep worry and
fear. No one wanted to be the target of another Japanese attack.
"Men who in the normal course of their lives would be at home
sharing the yule spirit of gladness, were working tirelessly for
victory or preparing to secure it with their lives," the Honolulu
Star-Bulletin said in a front-page Christmas Day commentary. First
at Nuuanu Cemetery and then at other sites, the military buried
more than 2,500 young men killed in Japan's Dec. 7, 1941, surprise
attack on Pearl Harbor. Local gardens gave up their red poinsettias
and hibiscus for small bouquets on each grave. Even as they grieved,
civilians feared another invasion by Japan; indeed, enemy submarines
were sporadically shelling island ports and harbors. Within a month
of the attack, 20,000 Army and Navy dependents and 10,000 island
women and children left Hawaii, fearing for their safety. The Matson
freighter Lahaina was set ablaze by a submarine on Dec. 11, and
its lifeboat did not reach Maui until Dec. 21. Another Matson freighter,
the Manini, had been sunk by a torpedo. By Christmas, all islanders
over age 6 were being fingerprinted. As early as 1:30 p.m. Dec.
7 a mere 5-1/2 hours after the attack printing presses
had begun churning out military-issued civilian ID cards. It was
a contingency the U.S. military had planned but feared: The cards
were to be used to identify dead in case of another attack.
At Pearl Harbor, a massive salvage operation was under way. The
first order was to free sailors trapped in capsized ships. With
divers guided by men tapping on the ship's hulls, the last man was
rescued Dec. 9, two days after the bombing. Damaged ships with functioning
weapons were stripped or repaired. The Pearl Harbor dry docks ran
around the clock, working so fast that two cruisers the Honolulu
and the Helena were back at sea and steaming for larger repair
yards in California by the first week in January. On land, in less
than a week, the Army extended the Bellows Field runway from 2,200
to 4,900 feet long enough for the largest bomber of the day
to land. The military's speed was not limited to construction and
repair; it also swiftly moved to control Hawaii's civilian population.
Territorial Gov. Joseph Poindexter surrendered Hawaii to the military
after talking to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. John Burns, a
police captain in charge of the espionage bureau at the time of
the attack and later Hawaii's governor, once recalled that a sobbing
Poindexter called Robert Shivers, the FBI agent in charge, asking
for help to preserve the Territory's own form of law. "That
was amazing to me a little bit that the guy who was governor was
crying and asking Shivers whether he should go along with the Army
. . . he didn't particularly want to do it," Burns said later.
The military powers meant the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights
were no longer in effect in Hawaii: The military handed down all
the laws. Much of the reason for martial law was the military's
fear that Japanese citizens and Americans of Japanese ancestry would
help the enemy. Just days before Christmas, farmers next to West
Loch were ordered to leave their farms by sundown. The order was
later modified to give them two days. Move from Iwilei, the Japanese
were told, or be shot by the military police. About 1,441 local
Japanese were eventually interned: they were first sent to a hastily
created detention center at Sand Island, where they were called
prisoners of war.
After the war, with censorship lifted, federal magistrate Judge
J. Frank McLaughlin, condemned the military's action. "Gov.
Poindexter declared lawfully martial law but the Army went beyond
the governor and set up that which was lawful only in conquered
enemy territory namely, military government which is not bound by
the Constitution. And they ... threw the Constitution into the discard
and set up a military dictatorship." Both military commanders
at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, Lt. Gen. Walter Short and
Adm. James Kimmel, had been relieved of duty. Washington officials
blamed the two for not being prepared for the attack, but later
documentation showed that possible warnings of a Japanese attack
were stuck in Washington, D.C., and never sent to Kimmel and Short.
But military preparation did not cover everything. In the darkness
of the morning after the attack, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
roared onto Punahou Schools' campus and seized it for a military
camp. Debate at the time swirled that the Army actually was targeting
the University of Hawaii, but turned one block early, winding up
at Punahou. At 5 a.m. Dec. 8, Punahou president Oscar Shepard recounted,
"The director of the cafeteria and dining room was called by
the Army and ordered to provide breakfast for 750 men and was told
that the facilities were being taken over, including school supplies."
A truly rare, wonderful, and historical item.
Franklin D. Roosevelt. Typed Letter Signed.
One page, very historical content, The White House, Washington,
August 24, 1939, one week before the beginning of World War II in
which FDR mentions the impending international conflict! FDR
writes to his old friend Duncan G. Harris, Esq, of New York City:
FDR is writing about his last getaway
before the beginning of World War II on September 1, 1939, mentioning
the fact that the "international situation" made it impossible
for the President to continue his vacation into Mahone Bay, Nova
Scotia. This letter is related to another letter written by FDR
to Mr. Harris several years earlier, just after FDR was first inaugurated
President of the United States. The reference to Mahone Bay relates
to an expedition FDR undertook in 1909, when 27-year old FDR became
interested in the treasure and tales of Oak Island, Nova Scotia.
Tales of the "Money Pit" had spread all over Canada, including
Campobello Island, the summer home of FDR. His group raised $5000
and Roosevelt, Duncan G. Harris, Frederick Childs and Albert Gallatin
sailed from New York on August 18, 1909. Their expedition included
diving suits (which proved impractical) and test drillings at one
hundred and fifty feet found the same cement-like material. Samples
of it submitted to Columbia University were reported to be man-made.
FDR's work on the island was brief but his interest continued for
many years. In August, 1939, while he was visiting Halifax, Nova
Scotia, he privately devised a plan to anchor his battleship off
Mahone Bay and see the work then being conducted by Erwin T. Hamilton.
Hamilton was informed of the secret scheme and had a sedan chair
ready to carry the President up the hill to the site of the shaft.
News of the imminent outbreak of war in Europe reached Roosevelt
before he left Halifax and he was obliged to return immediately
to New York, as FDR directly states in his letter to Mr. Harris.
Interestingly, Duncan G. Harris was also one of the defendants when
the Justice Department filed the antitrust suit against the United
States film industry on July 20, 1938, in FDR's second term as President.
A terrific and historical personal letter relating to the outbreak
of World War II in the days immediately preceding the initiation
of the world conflict.
"Dear Duncan:/ It was good to get
your note at Halifax last Monday and I sincerely hope you have
not had as much fog as we had. I planned to go into Mahone Bay
but the fog delay and ther international situation made it impossible./
I am delighted to see those Popular Mechanics' stories,
and I am much interested in Gilbert Hadden's expedition. I do
hope he succeeds./ What a grand crew you had with you. I wish
I could have joined up./ As ever yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt."
A fabulous and very
historical four page signed letter with addenda dated February 7,
1941, on White House stationery, to FDR's former law partner Basil
O'Connor, docketed to the law firm of O'Connor & Farber on February
8, 1941. FDR makes arrangements to sell his remaining personal property
in Warm Springs, Georgia! FDR writes:
Attached to this two
page letter to Doc O'Connor is a two page addendum, entitled "Memorandum
of Cost of Land Bought By Franklin D. Roosevelt At Warm Springs,
GA." Listed are fifteen properties, including dates of purchase,
property descriptions, and amounts of purchase, forming a very detailed
analysis of FDR's activities in the 1920s acquiring land in Warm
Springs, Georgia. Doc O'Connor evidently gave this document serious
attention and study, for there are several notations and checkmarks
in Doc's own hand on the margins of the letter and addenda from
FDR indicating that Doc was attempting to verify the information
that FDR provided him in the letter and addenda. A wonderful document
of great personal significance to FDR, the document that led to
the final disposition of FDR's personal stake in his properties
at Warm Springs, which would all thereafter become part of the Georgia
Warm Springs Foundation which FDR founded to combat polio. The Center
is in Warm Springs, Georgia, about 40 miles northeast of Columbus;
established in 1927 by Franklin D. Roosevelt for the treatment and
care of polio patients. This lengthy signed document, with several
words in FDR's own hand, with attachments, is a most significant
item in which the President, inaugurated just a couple weeks earlier
for an historical third term, tends to important personal affairs.
One can imagine that FDR a year or so earlier was planning to use
these first weeks after the ending of his second and last term in
office, to enjoy his properties in Warm Springs, Georgia and Hyde
Park, New York. It may very well be the case that due to the outbreak
of war in Europe and Asia, the imminent entry of America into what
would become known as World War II ten months to the day after this
letter is written to Doc O'Connor, and the fact that FDR would have
at least four more years in the White House, led him to decide to
transfer his remaining Warm Springs properties to his beloved Foundation
at no benefit to himself financially, similar steps he would also
take in giving the Government of the United States much of his Hyde
Park property. A very significant, personal letter relating to an
important aspect of FDR's life and attempted recovery from polio,
the disposition of his properties in Warm Springs, Georgia, and
the transfer of his property at cost of decades earlier to the Georgia
Warm Springs Foundation.
"Dear Doc:-/ I enclose a list of my purchases
of land at Warm Springs, taken from my checkbook, together with
the dates of purchase. I am willing to sell this land to the Georgia
Warm Springs Foundation or the Meriwether Reserve, Inc., for the
original purchase cost to me./ I am willing to see such portion
of it as the Foundation may be able to afford at this time, and
to hold the balance for a reasonable time until the Foundation
is able to pay for it./ In regard to the title to three of the
pieces of property on this list, check should be made by you./
1. I cannot from memory place the Colbert property of three acres,
for which I paid $3,000 on May 12, 1926. It may be part of the
Foundation property already but I cannot be certain./ 2. The Smith
property, purchased on August 11, 1927 for $3,000, is, I think,
the triangle northwest and across the main highway from the pool,
already sold to Foundation [, already sold to Foundation'
written in FDR's own hand]./ 3. The Shepherd cottage, purchased
Feb. 23, 1928 for $3,000, is, I think, near Georgia Hall and has
already been deeded to the Foundation./ Two other items call for
explanation. The item of March 25, 1927, for the building of the
access road from the Farm to the Knob, at a cost of $1,950.58,
was a necessary expenditure to give the patients access to the
Knob. It was, as you know, used for many years before the recent
scenic highway was built./ The item of farm equipment from F.
B. Doyle, purchased on July 30, 1927 at a cost of $500.00, was
in effect a part of the purchase price of the Doyle farm and buildings
purchase on December 31, 1927, and if the Foundation buys this
farm it would receive this equipment, or newer equipment which
has replaced it./ I would suggest purchase at this time of the
following property which is all on the mountain and is continuous
property, with the exception of the Hudson lot on the way to the
Knob. I list this property by dates and have made a check against
the items in this copy:/ [Seven properties, dates, and monetary
amounts which total $9,639.23 are then listed]./ Excluding the
items which I have questioned above, there would still be left
the following for future purchase by the Foundation:/ [Five properties,
dates, and monetary amounts which total $8,707.66 are then listed]./
Always sincerely,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt."
A very important and exceedingly rare
and personal letter written by Eleanor Roosevelt on December 12, 1956,
a letter to her children written eleven years after FDR's death, signed
"Anna Eleanor Roosevelt," her full name, an extremely rare
ER signature. In her letter to her children ER promises that she will
not interfere with any agreement they make selling the story of the
life of their father, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. ER writes:
"Dear Anna, James, Elliott, Franklin,
Jr., and John [in order of birth]./ I understand that you contemplate
that some time in the future you will enter into an agreement
with a producer to sell your rights to the story relating to your
father's life and your participation in it in the form of a play,
motion picture, TV or radio story, or some similar production.
If you do so within my lifetime, I want you to know that I shall
bring no action relating to the production resulting from any
agreement you might make or to its exhibition, either for violation
of any right of privacy which I may have or for libel with respect
to any script which you approve. I am writing this to you not
in the sense of a statement of expectation or of intention, but
with the full intent that this promise shall run in favor of the
producer with whom you enter into an agreement and shall be enforceable
by him./ In making this promise to you, I do not mean to imply
that I am also promising to assist the author and/or producer
in writing the story or otherwise. Nor do I mean to imply that
I will not have anything to do with the producer and his staff./
I realize that it will not be feasible to prepare a worthwhile
production without securing from those who have had an intimate
role in your father's life the true flavor and perspective of
his various activities. It would be carrying modesty to foolish
excess for me not to recognize that the contribution which I could
make would at least be desirable. Unfortunately, such consulting
services probably would require a considerable amount of my time.
It does, therefore, seem proper to me that if the author and/or
producer should want to call upon me for services, you should
arrange for some fair payment to be made to me./ With love,/ Anna
Eleanor Roosevelt [signed]/ (Anna Eleanor Roosevelt)/ Mrs. Franklin
WOW! The first important full scale production
relating to Franklin D. Roosevelt's life was Dore Schary's play,
Sunrise at Campobello, which was filmed in 1960. A very personal
and interesting letter from ER to her five children, absolving them
of her interference in their rights to tell the story of Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, with an extremely rare full signature employing
her first name Anna. A truly unique and special letter from Eleanor
Roosevelt to her children regarding her husband and their father,
and the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The FDR American Heritage Center Museum
in Worcester, Massachusetts and the FDR American Heritage Center Special
Collection in Quincy, Massachusetts feature some of the most unique and
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