3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor
Dallas, Texas 75219-3941
Fax: (214) 409-1425
Auction Name: 2019 December 14 Historic Flags of World War II Signature Auction - Dallas
Lot Number: 42004
Shortcut to Lot: HA.com/6224-42004
Pearl Harbor: A Historic Original Record of the Behind-the-Scenes Developments at the White House Prior to FDR's Famous Address to Congress Announcing the Attack.
This early record was typed by Myrtle Bergheim, assistant to President Roosevelt's secretary Grace Tully on the same blue-ribbon typewriter Tully used to type the first draft of the Declaration of War to Congress. It is marked "Original - File" by Tully in pencil, and carries several pencil edits by Tully. Also included in the lot is an example of the subsequent release reflecting Tully's edits. The original is also marked "U. R.", believed to stand for "Urgent Release", as is the final text which is marked "11:20 P.M."
The document details a 9 PM meeting with FDR by legislative leaders, briefing them about the current situation before the President's legendary address to a joint session of Congress the following day. "It should be emphasized that the message to Congress has not yet been written and its tenor will, of course, depend on further information received between eleven o'clock tonight and noon tomorrow. Further news is coming in all the time." During the conference, it notes, Roosevelt also received word from General MacArthur that the Japanese were also bombing American positions in the Philippines.
The release stressed that, at this early stage, other information received "had not yet been verified and which... had to be classified as rumor [but that] doubtless very heavy losses [had been] sustained by the Navy [and the] Army in the Island of Oahu."
This document is remarkably evocative of the somber and anxious mood in the White House during the earliest hours of December 7, 1941. Doubtless, Myrtle Bergheim recognized its poignant significance and saved it, along with various other paper items related to her war years which are included with this lot (among the more interesting: a two-page list of "People to appear on Platform at War Memorial").
This is surely one of the most significant Second World War artifacts Heritage has presented, and a prize for any institutional buyer or advanced WW II collector.