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Presidents and Elections

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First Edition of FDR’s Committee for Civil Service Improvement Report, Signed by Three Supreme Court Justices

[FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT] [SUPREME COURT], Signed Book. Report of President’s Committee on Civil Service Improvement. [Washington, D.C.]

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This presentation copy to William H. McReynolds, the Liaison Officer for Personnel Management, is signed by all the committee members, including the chairman, Justice Stanley Reed, Justice Felix Frankfurter, Justice Frank Murphy, Attorney General Robert H. Jackson, Leonard D. White, General Robert E. Wood, and Cooper Union President Gano Dunn.

Item #22512, $3,500

Registration for FDR’s Customized
1936 Ford Phaeton—Signed as President

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Document Signed as President.

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Roosevelt’s Ford Phaeton was customized with special hand controls that allowed the polio-stricken president to drive under his own power without using his legs. The car is now at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum.

Item #24243, ON HOLD

FDR Signs Souvenir Books to Raise Money for Democratic National Committee

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Signed copy of The Democratic Book 1936. Illustrated, original presentation morocco gilt, with original illustrated wrappers bound in; copy #1531 of 2500, with limitation page signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt; cover gilt stamped “Bethlehem Steel Company Library.” 384 pp., 11 ¼ x 14 ½ x 1 ⅝ in.

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President Roosevelt signed 2,500 copies of illustration of the White House, which are bound into a souvenir book of the 1936 Democratic National Convention and sold for $250 to address a campaign deficit.

Item #24881, $3,000

An Anti-FDR Broadside
Offering a Government Auction of New Deal Tenets

[FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT], Broadside. Auction Sale / I will offer for sale to the highest bidder, at the White House (near / the empty Treasury Building), no place, [c. 1936]. 11½ x 5 3/8 in., on orange paper.

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Item #22817, $650

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Program - Given to the Wife of His Vice President

[JOHN NANCE GARNER. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT], “Official Program of the Inaugural Ceremonies Inducting into office Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States, John N. Garner, Vice President of the United States, March 4, 1933.” Presentation copy with gold embossed inscription to Mrs. John N. Garner (whose biography appears on page 21). Washington DC: Ransdell Incorporated, 1933. First Edition. Quarto, deluxe flexible leatherette binding, gold embossed with title and presidential seal. Copy 17 Signed by Cary T. Grayson, Chairman, General Inaugural Committee, and inscribed by the program committee chair: “To the Vice President-elect with/the affectionate regard of J. Fred Essary.” Scarce edition given as gifts to distinguished guests. Fine.

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Item #24114, $1,750

Herbert Hoover - Rare Signed Inaugural Address

HERBERT HOOVER, Printed Document Signed, March 4, 1929. A rare large-print copy of his inaugural address. 21 pp., 9 x 12 in.

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We have emerged from the losses of the Great War and the reconstruction following it with increased virility and strength. From this strength we have contributed to the recovery and progress of the world. What America has done has given renewed hope and courage to all who have faith in government by the people.

Item #24848, $2,750

Franklin Roosevelt Combats Anti-Catholicism in 1928 Presidential Election

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to William H. Higgs, on “Democratic National Committee” stationery, New York, September 1, 1928. 1 p.

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It is an interesting fact that about 95% of the opposition to him in Democratic circles is due to the religious issue and not in the final analysis to prohibition or any other political issue before the American public...

Roosevelt challenges a long-time Democratic campaigner to consider whether his preference for Republican Herbert Hoover is due to a prejudice against Alfred E. Smith’s Catholicism.

Item #24491, $2,750

Franklin Roosevelt Orders Books on Naval Battles, New York, and Ladies

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Autograph Notes filling out bookseller’s printed postcard order form, October 28, 1924, 1 p.

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Both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were avid readers. With this postcard, the future president orders three books from Pierce & Scopes, Booksellers and Importers, in Albany, New York.

Item #24496, $1,250

Harding’s Return to Normalcy – and Isolationism – after World War I

WARREN G. HARDING, Typed Letter Signed as President, to Senator Joseph Medill McCormick, Washington, D. C., August 29, 1921. With autograph emendations in two different secretarial hands. 8 pp.

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Key political circular from the first-year Republican President written to influence off-year elections in New Mexico and other places. Harding justifies, and praises, the rapid postwar dismantling of America’s military by Congress, while backhandedly criticizing the inattention of his predecessor – Woodrow Wilson – to the peacetime transition. “Vast expenditure without proper consideration for results, is the inevitable fruit of war.”

Item #21124, $2,600

Herbert Hoover Drafts Note, and Fredtjof Nansen Sends Letter to Vladimir Lenin, Trying to Get Lenin to Accept Food Aid for Starving Russians During the Russian Civil War

HERBERT HOOVER, Autograph Note, undated [April, 1919]. Cover sheet: “Draft note (undated) / Dr. Nansen to Lenin in / Mr. Hoover’s handwriting.” 1 p., 8¼ x 10½ in. #24849 With FRIDTJOF NANSEN, Typed Letter Signed, to VLADIMIR LENIN, Paris, France, April 17, 1919. 4 pp., 8¼ x 10¾ in. This compound letter includes Nansen’s proposal for Russian relief to the Big Four allied leaders, their response, and his proposal to Lenin. It is a remarkable compilation of the prospects for and obstacles to efforts to ease Russian suffering.

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The Government and peoples whom we represent would be glad to cooperate, without thought of political, military or financial advantage, in any proposal which would relieve this situation in Russia.

To combat starvation in Europe during World War I, President Woodrow Wilson created the United States Food Administration by executive order. Under the direction of Herbert Hoover, it became one of the most efficient and successful governmental initiatives in American history. More than 5 million Russians died of starvation before food aid was allowed in 1921.

Item #24850, $8,500

Theodore Roosevelt Advocates American Entry into World War I and Revisits His Foreign Policy Maxim:
“Speak softly and Carry a big stick”

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Printed Document with Autograph Endorsement Signed and 42 corrections in Roosevelt’s hand. “Address Delivered to the Illinois State Bar Association.” Chicago, Ill., April 29, 1916. With Roosevelt’s note at the top of the first page: “Dear Mr. McCh’ny [MacChesney?], Here is the speech, with a few merely verbal corrections, sincerely, Theodore Roosevelt.” 8 pp., 7 x 24 in. (the last page is 7 x 8 in.).

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The complete text of an address by Theodore Roosevelt at a dinner given in his honor at the Hotel La Salle, Chicago, by the Illinois Bar Association on April 29, 1916. These proof sheets were sent to TR for his approval, and returned with 42 autograph corrections in pencil.

“I once used the phrase, to sum up our proper foreign policy:— ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’  There was a good deal of laughter over that phrase. But it expresses a pretty sound policy all the same. Remember, that I was President seven years and a half and that I never spoke with wanton harshness of any nation. I always spoke softly, I was always just as nice and polite as any man could be. But I carried a big stick!”

Evoking applause and laughter, Roosevelt also references the need for national preparedness considering the world situation, referencing Pancho Villa and Mexico, Germany and the war in Europe, the sinking of the “Lusitania,” and the need for national unity, paraphrasing Lincoln, “nowadays America can not endure half hyphenated and half not.”

Item #24383, $55,000

Woodrow Wilson Protests the Sinking of Lusitania & Threatens to Break Diplomatic Relations – About a Year Before America Enters WW I

WOODROW WILSON, Signed Pamphlet. Address of the President of the United States Delivered at a Joint Session of the Two Houses of Congress, April 19, 1916.Washington, D.C., ca April 19, 1916. Bound in blue cloth boards with titled spine with several blank leaves. Spine cracked but binding intact, very minor marginal tear to title page, other pages lightly toned with a light vertical crease but clean overall. 7 pp., 5¾ x 9 in.

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Item #24100, $2,500

Theodore Roosevelt Commissions a Captain

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Document Signed as President. Commission for John J.A. Clark as Captain in the Philippine Scouts. Washington, D.C., September 19, 1908. 1 p., 21 x 16 in.

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Item #22949, $1,500

Racist, Anti Roosevelt Drawing and Note

RACISM. [THEODORE ROOSEVELT], Drawing. 1p, 5 x 6¼ in.

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Item #22331, $2,500

Ex-President Grant ALS re: Railroads & Building New Markets in Mexico for the U.S.

ULYSSES S. GRANT, Autograph Letter Signed, to [John P.] Jones. [Mexico City] [April 24, 1881]. 2 pp., 4½ x 6¾ in.

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After James Garfield’s election, opposing factions of the Republican Party jockeyed to have their favorite candidates appointed to Cabinet and other patronage jobs. Garfield remained unmoved about his choices, even ignoring appeals by his own vice president, Chester Arthur. While in Mexico City, Grant criticized the sitting president’s choices in a letter sent via Nevada Senator John P. Jones. Two days after receiving the letter, Garfield wrote Grant a blistering response, stating he would appoint whom he wanted. The following day, New York Senators Conkling and Platt resigned in protest and Vice President Arthur was banished from Cabinet meetings. The Grant-Garfield controversy played out in the press for months, ending only after Garfield was assassinated in July.

Item #23291, $5,000

Opposing “the Democratic Silver Scheme”

JAMES A. GARFIELD, Manuscript Letter Signed, to Samuel B. Ruggles, Washington, D.C., August 12, 1876. 2 pp., 5 x 8¼ in.

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Representative James Garfield writes to Samuel Ruggles, a New York lawyer, Canal Commissioner, and businessman regarding monetary policy.

Item #22564.01, $1,500

Discontent with Gilded Age Presidential Politics
and the Influence of “the negro vote”

WILLIAM BEACH LAWRENCE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Henry Anthony. Newport [R.I.], November 25, 1872. 4 pp.

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A detailed, despairing letter on campaign politics after the reelection of Ulysses S. Grant. Lawrence observes the humiliating defeat of Democrats and “Liberal Republicans” – who united behind Horace Greeley because of corruption in the Grant administration – in the Election of 1872. Lawrence laments the elevation of personality over merit and virtue in elections, an observation which resonates today. He also expresses concern about how newly enfranchised African Americans tended to vote.  “The negroes are naturally disposed to support those who are in power & whom they invest with superior dignity, on account of the possession of power. …the extraordinary denouement of the Cincinnati Convention has placed in bold relief the mode most unsatisfactory to an intelligent people, by which party conventions are constituted & which are readily made, the instruments of the vilest partisan combinations, carried on by men without character & without principle.

Item #20020, $950

“Our Colored Brother” Comes Up to Bat
with the 15th Amendment

[FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT], Print. “The Great National Game” from the graphic newspaper “Punchinello.” New York, N.Y., April 23, 1870. 16 pp. 9 x 13 in.

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This full-page engraving, “The Great National Game,” satirizes the recently-passed constitutional amendment granting African-American men the right to vote. The baseball motif, popularized in presidential politics, depicts a black man with stereotyped features holding a bat labeled “15th amendment” about to hit a ball stylized with the stars and stripes. The image caption heralds the arrival of African Americans to full political rights “Our colored brother: Hi Yah! Stan back dar; its dis chiles innins now.’ ”

Item #21739, $2,500

Andrew Johnson puts his seal on North Carolina and Florida’s ratification of the 14th Amendment (Equal Protection).

ANDREW JOHNSON, Document Signed as President. July 11, 1868. Ordering Secretary of State to Affix the Seal of the United States to Johnson’s Proclamation announcing ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment by North Carolina and Florida. 1 p.

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Item #24686, PRICE ON REQUEST

Pierce Urges His Young Nephew Studying at Princeton:
“Do Not for a Day Relax Your Labor”

FRANKLIN PIERCE, Autograph Letter Signed to Frank H. Pierce, his nephew. Concord, N.H., September 6, 1866. 2 pp.

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Former President Franklin Pierce worries that young Frank Pierce – like most undergraduates – is occupying himself with things other than his studies at Princeton.

Item #21116, $4,500
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