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Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Speech – Inscribed and Signed by FDR – in the “Missy” LeHand Archive
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No realistic American can expect from a dictator’s peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion–or even good business. Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors.

The Missy LeHand Archive, comprising some 1,400 pieces, is the most important grouping of original documents still in private hands from such a central figure in FDR’s political and personal life. In conjunction with Glenn Horowitz Booksellers, we are offering the archive, intact, directly from Ms. LeHand’s heirs.

Highlights of the archive include more than forty signed Presidential Addresses, mainly rare Press Release printings from the day the speeches were delivered in 1937-1941. In addition to the Four Freedoms Speech, this group includes his first Inaugural Addresses, his December 1940 “Arsenal of Democracy” speech, fireside chats, and other historic addresses.

Missy’s official papers long ago moved to the FDR Library in Hyde Park; this collection constitutes the personal letters, signed books, photos and documents she received from her boss. The FDR Library in Hyde Park has working drafts of a number of these speeches, and official printed copies, but does not have signed copies of most. In fact, for many of the addresses here, it is literally impossible for a better FDR association copy to come on the market, ever.

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT. Printed Document Signed, Press Release, January 6, 1941. Inscribed “‘Another’ for M.A.L.” 7 pp., Offered as part of The FDR - Marguerite A. “Missy” LeHand Archive.

Inventory #25712       PRICE ON REQUEST

FDR’s Four Freedoms Speech - 1941 State of the Union Address Excerpts:

Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” (p2)

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.” (p7)

Historical Background

During the 1930s, many Americans believed that our involvement in World War I had been a mistake. World War II began in September 1939. By December 1940, Europe was largely dominated by Adolf Hitler and Germany’s Nazi war machine. Only Great Britain and its worldwide empire stood against Germany, Italy, and Japan. On January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented his eighth State of the Union Address, spelling out his own Four Freedoms. Combatting isolationist policies, FDR insisted that America needed to support universal values, not just for moral reasons, but for the security and safety of the country. He pointed out that Hitler and other dictators, despite their promises, would never support true freedoms. On December 7, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor proved him right.

The Office of War Information, created in 1942, used the Four Freedoms speech to rally public support. In 1943, Norman Rockwell created a series of four oil paintings, each based on one of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms. Rockwell’s paintings, together with essays by prominent intellectuals, appeared as covers for consecutive issues of The Saturday Evening Post, the most widely read magazine in the nation. The paintings became Rockwell’s most popular, and they became the highlight of a touring exhibition that encouraged the sale of war bonds, raising over $132 million.

Although Roosevelt’s speech was broadly popular, anti-war opponents criticized it as simply a justification for Roosevelt’s New Deal social programs, which many conservatives opposed, at least until Pearl Harbor. From that point on, the Four Freedoms would resonate for decades. It became part of the charter of the United Nations, and was incorporated into the preamble of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.


Full Text of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Annual Message to Congress, January 6, 1941


Excerpts from other signed Speeches in the FDR – Missy LeHand Archive:

I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope—because the Nation, seeing and understanding the injustice in it, proposes to paint it out. We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country’s interest and concern.... The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.... Overwhelmingly, we of the Republic are men and women of good will; men and women who have more than warm hearts of dedication; men and women who have cool heads and willing hands of practical purpose as well. They will insist that every agency of popular government use effective instruments to carry out their will. Government is competent when all who compose it work as trustees for the whole people.

— Second Inaugural Address, January 20, 1937

Democracy has disappeared in several other great nations—disappeared not because the people of those nations disliked democracy, but because they had grown tired of unemployment and insecurity, of seeing their children hungry while they sat helpless in the face of...weakness through lack of leadership in government. Finally, in desperation, they chose to sacrifice liberty in the hope of getting something to eat. We in America know that our own democratic institutions can be preserved and made to work. But in order to preserve them we need to act together, to meet the problems of the Nation boldly, and to prove that the practical operation of democratic government is equal to the task of protecting the security of the people. Not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our Government to give employment to idle men. The people of America are in agreement in defending their liberties at any cost, and the first line of that defense lies in the protection of economic security. Your Government, seeking to protect democracy, must prove that Government is stronger than the forces of business depression.

— Fireside Chat Address Discussing Plans to combat the Depression, April 14, 1938

We do not have to go to war with other nations, but at least we can strive with other nations to encourage the kind of peace that will lighten the troubles of the world, and by so doing help our own nation as well.... But there is a vast difference between keeping out of war and pretending that this war is none of our business.

— State of the Union Address, January 3, 1940

Perception of danger to our institutions may come slowly or it may come with a rush and a shock as it has to the people of the United States in the past few months. This perception of danger has come to us clearly and overwhelmingly; and we perceive the peril in a world-wide arena.... Some indeed still hold to the now somewhat obvious delusion that we of the United States can safely permit the United States to become a lone island, a lone island in a world dominated by the philosophy of force.... The Government of Italy has now chosen to preserve what it terms its ‘freedom of action’ and to fulfill what it states are its promises to Germany. In so doing it has manifested disregard for the rights and security of other nations.... On this tenth day of June, 1940, the hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor.

— University of Virginia Speech Denouncing Italy’s Attack on France, inscribed “Spades is Spades,” June 10, 1940

Adolf Hitler never considered the domination of Europe as an end in itself. European conquest was but a step toward ultimate goals in all the other continents. It is unmistakably apparent to all of us that, unless the advance of Hitlerism is forcibly checked now, the Western Hemisphere will be within range of the Nazi weapons of destruction.... The Nazi world does not recognize any God except Hitler; for the Nazis are as ruthless as the Communists in the denial of God. What place has religion which preaches the dignity of the human being, the majesty of the human soul, in a world where moral standards are measured by treachery and bribery and fifth columnists? Will our children, too, wander off, goose-stepping in search of new gods?

— Fireside Chat Explaining Proclamation of an Unlimited National Emergency, May 27, 1941


The FDR - “Missy” LeHand Archive - Documenting What Was Arguably Roosevelt’s Closest Personal Relationship Between 1920 and 1941, also Includes:

- Sixty-seven signed and inscribed books from FDR, many of them rare first editions. Examples: Mr Smith meet Mr Cohen. Introducing your Jewish Neighbor. 1940, inscribed “MAL from FDR Sept 13, 1943.” 1933 Inaugural Address, inscribed by FDR to MAL. 1935 Veto Message. Democratic Book 1936. Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, 1942, includes Day of Infamy speech, inscribed “For Missy with a great deal of love from Franklin D. Roosevelt Christmas 1942.” Eleanor Roosevelt. Signed book, It’s Up to Women, 1933, inscribed “My dear, much love and I hope you won’t be bored. Eleanor Roosevelt.Why Pay Taxes. 1937, Home Library Foundation, signed by FDR.

- Unique vote-tally sheet with FDR’s handwritten notes, inscribed and signed “To Marguerite with love from FDR – Thursday & all night on Friday – June 30-July 1, 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt.” A tally sheet used by FDR to record delegate votes.

- 300 photos of FDR, LeHand, and their circle, many of them otherwise unknown, candid shots of FDR relaxing at Warm Springs in his bathing trunks, exposing his normally concealed legs;

- 30 signed and inscribed photos of FDR to LeHand;

- a small archive relating to the crucial visit of Britain’s King and Queen of Great Britain to America in June 1939, just before the War;

- fourteen FDR letters to LeHand after she left the White House following her 1941 stroke, displaying a rare and remarkable example of concern which he showed for few other people;

- Missy’s own letters to her family;

- correspondence to Missy, and later to her family, from key members of Roosevelt’s circle, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes (providing information about FDR’s decline in health in mid-1944), and Ambassador to the Soviet Union and France William C. Bullitt (with whom LeHand was romantically involved for many years);

- over 700 invitations to LeHand for Inaugural ceremonies, White House functions, and diplomatic receptions;

- Additional signed speeches not mentioned above: Roosevelt’s “The Happy Warrior” speech nominating Governor Al Smith at the Democratic National Convention in Houston.

- Memorandum of Joseph Kennedy to FDR, February 18, 1935, describing his plans to close the stock exchanges if necessary following the Supreme Court’s gold case rulings.

Marguerite Alice “Missy” LeHand (1896-1944) was born in upstate New York and grew up in a working-class suburb of Boston. She graduated from high school in 1917, passed the Civil Service exam, and moved to Washington to serve briefly as a clerk in the Navy Department during World War I. Three years later, she became a secretary with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s unsuccessful vice-presidential campaign. In 1921, Roosevelt hired her as his personal secretary. When Roosevelt spent the winter on his houseboat off the Florida coast, LeHand acted as hostess, and accompanied him to Warm Springs, Georgia, for his physical therapy. Based in part on her own experience (at the age of fifteen, rheumatic fever damaged her heart) she opposed his running for Governor of New York. After he won, though, she moved into the governor’s mansion and continued as his secretary. When Roosevelt became President in March 1933, LeHand became the first woman to serve as a presidential secretary. Living in the White House, she managed Roosevelt’s daily business and was treated as part of the family. Observers differed on whether her relationship with the President was platonic. In June 1941, LeHand collapsed at a White House dinner party and had a paralyzing stroke two weeks later. Roosevelt paid her medical bills and even provided for her in his will. After a visit to Warm Springs for physical therapy, she returned briefly to the White House in early 1942 before going to live with her sister in Massachusetts. When she died in July 1944, the President issued a statement that “she was utterly selfless in her devotion to duty,” words that appear on her gravestone. Eleanor Roosevelt attended her funeral.


Additional Historic Background: a New York Precursor to FDR’s Four Freedoms

In 1935, in the depths of the Depression, the next World’s Fair was planned with the hope that it would lift spirits and businesses. The New York World’s Fair opened on April 30, 1939, the 150th anniversary of George Washington’s first inauguration as President. The biggest consumer revolution sparked by the fair was the introduction of television. With the looming threat of war in Europe, the Fair also had a particular interest in showcasing Latin American nations, to combat American prejudice. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua and the Pan American Union were among the 60 countries represented. The fair, running through October 1940, celebrated Four Freedoms—religion, speech, press, and assembly—a prescient focus on many fronts.

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