DescriptionFranklin D. Roosevelt: Typed Letter Signed as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
-February 14, 1914. Albany, New York. One page. 7" x 6.5". Letterhead trimmed off.
-To: New York Governor Martin H. Glynn.
-Top and bottom of sheet trimmed, a fine example of FDR's signature.
FDR writes to the governor regarding Adelbert M. Scriber of Monticello, Sullivan County, a candidate for membership on the Workman's Compensation Commission. Though he points out that he usually does not recommend those who ask for favors, he does urge Glynn to consider Scriber for membership.
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A wonderful and historically significant signed letter, dated February 14, 1914, to the Honorable Martin H. Glynn, Governor of New York (a handwritten letter to Governor Glynn from FDR is also part of this collection). FDR writes: "My dear Governor:/ I am told that Adelbert M. Scriber, of Monticello, Sullivan County, and the proprietor of the principal paper there, is a candidate for membership on the Workmen's Compensation Commission and I have been asked to speak a good word for him. Of course, you know many applications are made to me to recommend people to your careful consideration. I have almost invariably, with one or two exceptions, refused to do this, as I feel you are more than capable of picking the best man for yourself and are in a much better position to know the best men under all the complicated local conditions than I am. I want, however, to urge Mr. Scriber on your attention, as I have known him personally for some time and have a somewhat clear idea of the political conditions in Sullivan County. I think Mr. Scriber's appointment would very much strengthen our party generally in that section and I do not believe there would be any serious opposition from any quarters to his appointment./ Sincerely yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." The top and bottom of the sheet, which measures 6 ½ x 7," are trimmed, with no letterhead present, and there are some clerical markings in the margins, with FDR's words "Workmen's Compensation Commission" underlined in pencil, but this letter to Governor Glynn represents a superb FDR signature, rare in this early date. Adelbert Marvin Scriber (1865-1948), also known as Adelbert M. Scribner, of Monticello, Sullivan County, New York was born in Livingston Manor, Sullivan County, New York on January 5,1865. An active Democrat and newspaper publisher (as FDR mentions in his letter to Governor Glynn), Scriber also served as a Presidential Elector for New York in 1936, a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from New York in 1944. He died in Monticello, Sullivan County, New York, August 13, 1948. The political background at the time FDR wrote this letter to Governor Glynn makes it all the more interesting. In the closing weeks of 1913 (a couple months before FDR wrote this letter) there began to appear in the press political "dope" stories mentioning FDR as a possible candidate for either Governor of New York or United States Senator in 1914. For example, the highly conservative New York Sun on December 10, 1913 described FDR in flattering terms and predicted that he would receive Woodrow Wilson administration support for one or the other of the highest elective offices in New York if Governor Glynn (installed in 1913 after the impeachment and removal from office of his predecessor Governor William Sulzer) failed in office to be independent of Tammany Hall. While FDR denied publicly and privately that he had any intention of running for office in 1914, he did nothing to discourage speculations by others regarding his immediate political future. FDR made no attempt to achieve a working accord with Tammany, as he might easily have done. Instead, he tried to obtain Presidential approval from Wilson of a contemplated foray by him into New York's political jungle war. As it turns out, FDR did finally declare himself a candidate for United States Senator from New York in August, 1914, suffering his first, one of only two electoral defeats–the other being his ill-fated 1920 campaign as the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate. In this case, FDR lost the Democratic primary on September 28, 1914 to James W. Gerard–receiving 76,888 votes to his opponent's 210,765 votes! It was a humiliating defeat, but FDR managed to hide his chagrin from the public and even from his family and friends. According to FDR, the race had been "worthwhile" because it had "paved the way"–presumably for ultimate Progressive Democratic victory. In the general election on November 3, 1914, both Gerard (for United States Senate) and Glynn (for New York Governor) were overwhelmingly defeated in a Republican electoral year rife with Democratic intraparty feud in New York. Martin H. Glynn was born on September 17, 1871, to Martin and Ann Glynn, Irish immigrants who had settled in the mill town of Valatie, New York. His Irish ancestry was a matter of considerable pride to the future governor, and in later life he would make important contributions to his parents' homeland. Graduating from Valatie's public high school, Glynn went on to attend Fordham University graduating with top honors in 1894 at the age of twenty three. He later studied at Albany Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1897. He served as Valatie Postmaster, in the United States House of Representatives, as New York State Comptroller, as Lieutenant Governor of New York, and was installed as Governor of New York in 1913 after the impeachment and removal of Glynn's predecessor, Governor William Sulzer. Impressive as his political career was, Martin H. Glynn was also highly regarded as a journalist. Writing first for the Hudson Weekly Record and the Hudson Evening Register, he became a reporter for the Albany Times-Union in 1896. Eventually he rose to become the Times-Union's owner and publisher. From his position at the helm of the Times-Union, Glynn built a reputation as one of the premiere editorialists of the time. Calling upon his extensive knowledge of the arts and sciences, as well as his first-hand familiarity with the political world, Glynn turned out an impressive body of editorial writing. He was also in great demand as a public speaker. Whether speaking to a fraternal organization, a scholarly society, a professional association, or simply to his fellow citizens, he was noted for his ability to charm and inspire. Substantial as these accomplishments were, however, they pale in comparison with Glynn's most important achievement. Martin H. Glynn came to be known as the "Father of the Irish Free State." All was chaos and bitterness in 1921 when the former Governor went to Europe and held conferences with Eamonn D. DeValera, Michael Collins, and Arthur Griffith, leaders in Ireland, and then consulted Premier David Lloyd George of Great Britain. These conferences led to a meeting of both sides, to suspension of hostilities and agreement on which was laid the foundation of the Irish Free State. Martin H. Glynn died by his own hand. As recorded in Dominick C. Lizzi's Governor Martin H. Glynn: Forgotten Hero, Glynn suffered all of his adult life from chronic pain caused by a spinal injury sustained in his youth. Returning from Boston after an unsuccessful attempt to relieve his great suffering, Glynn took his own life on December 14, 1924. This letter from FDR to Governor Glynn, a clear attempt by FDR to promote his political friends and allies and stay connected to New York politics at a time when he sought to simultaneously advance his own political career, albeit prematurely, is a true treasure, and also highlight's FDR's early commitment and support to the workmen's compensation issue, which he also championed in 1912 during his first and brief political tenure as a New York State Senator. As a State Senator in 1912 FDR actively supported a workmen's compensation bill, and also personally investigated the work hazards of Adirondack iron mines, and strove to establish improved safety standards for them. FDR later gave strong testimony at a legislative hearing in favor of the complete package of thirty two bills which the Factory Investigating Commission proposed. A very historic and significant letter, especially when the myriad of personal, political, and sociological factors which serve as background to this February 14, 1914 letter to from FDR to Governor Glynn are examined.
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