Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Autograph Letter Signed as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
    -Friday [1913-1920]. Washington, D.C. Two pages (both front pages of a folded lettersheet). 7" x 9.25". Assistant Secretary of the Navy letterhead.
    -To: Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo.
    -Single original fold flattened, pen slowly runs low on ink as letter progresses- signature light, else fine.

    A letter written while FDR was Wilson's Assistant Navy Secretary to Wilson's Treasury Secretary (and son-in-law). He writes (in full): "Dear Mr. McAdoo, I am asking Mr. Dunham to speak to you as he is returning to N.Y. on the same train. As you remember he was the Secretary of the Wilson Conference last spring & you can trust him to the limit - Incidentally he understands the local N.Y. City situation & knows 'Who is Who.' Lawrence Dunham has the regard & confidence of a whole lot of us who are working along the same line. Very sincerely..." The person referred to in the letter is Lawrence B. Dunham, a deputy police commissioner in New York City at the time. McAdoo, a two-time hopeful for the Democratic Party presidential nomination himself, would play a pivotal role in Roosevelt's 1932 nomination by throwing all forty-four California delegates to Roosevelt on the fourth ballot, thus starting the chain reaction that would obtain the party nomination for FDR.


    More Information:

    The extended description below was supplied by the consignor. We are making it available to our web bidders who are interested in more in-depth research and broader historical perspective. Please note that presentation (i.e. framing), lot divisions, and interpretations of condition and content may occasionally differ from our descriptions. Assertions of fact and subjective observations contained in this description represent the opinion of the consignor. These remarks have not been checked for accuracy by Heritage Auctions, and we assume no responsibility for their accuracy; they are offered purely to allow the bidder insight into the way the consignor has viewed the item(s) in question. No right of return or claim of lack of authenticity or provenance based upon this extended description will be granted.

     

    In FDR's own hand in its entirety, an autograph letter signed, two pages (facing pages), quarto leaf joined at the center vertical fold, on The Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Washington letterhead stationery, designed by FDR himself with a four-star printed admiralty flag at upper left, no date other than "Friday" [in the Woodrow Wilson Administration]. Written to Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo (1863-1941), who was also the first chairman of the Federal Reserve Board from 1917-1919, son-in-law of Woodrow Wilson, chief financier of America's involvement in World War I, and the person who played one of the most pivotal roles in FDR's nomination for President at the 1932 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  Mr. McAdoo was himself denied the Democratic nomination during the 1924 convention in Madison Square Garden, New York City, thanks to his rivalry with Governor Al Smith on one hundred two ballots that year (John W. Davis became the compromise candidate who went down to defeat at the hands of Calvin Coolidge).  Eight years later, during the 1932 convention, in order to foil the attempt by Al Smith and his chief lieutenant John Jacob Raskob at renomination (Smith had been the 1928 Democratic candidate for President, suffering glorious defeat to Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover), McAdoo, a delegate from California, who was himself later elected to the United States Senate in 1932, dramatically announced on the convention floor the switch in California delegation votes from John Nance Garner to FDR, on the fourth ballot (the 2/3 rule being in effect at the time): "California came here to nominate a President," McAdoo declared when his turn to speak finally came, "she did not come here to deadlock this convention. California casts forty-four votes for Roosevelt!" Upon hearing this significant turn of events, FDR slumped back in his chair, and with a characteristic grin stated in a pleased voice "Good old McAdoo!" McAdoo's pronouncement that historic moment began the chain reaction ending in Roosevelt's successful nomination for President in 1932.  Almost two decades earlier, in this letter written entirely by his own hand, FDR pens: "Dear Mr. McAdoo, I am asking Mr. Dunham to speak to you as he is returning to N.Y. on the same train. As you remember he was the Secretary of the Wilson Conference last spring & you can trust him to the limit - Incidentally he understands the local N.Y. City situation & knows ‘Who is Who.' Lawrence Dunham has the regard & confidence of a whole lot of us who are working along the same line. Very sincerely, Franklin D. Roosevelt." In very fine condition. Lawrence Boardman Dunham (1882-1959) was a lawyer, businessman, deputy police commissioner of New York (1914-1922), staff member of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial (1915-1928), director of the Bureau of Social Hygiene (1928-1934), secretary to Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (1933-1934), and justice of the Domestic Relations Court of New York City (1934-1942). Letter is matted and framed in gold leaf to Smithsonian Institution preservation standards. A truly rare and fantastic piece.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 382

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 June 7 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 November 14-16 Space Exploration Auction Featuring The Armstrong Family Collection Part IV - Dallas
    2019 November 14-16 Space Exploration Auction Featuring The Armstrong Family Collection Part IV - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $2,566,538