Description

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Typed Letter Signed as President.
    -July 13, 1937. Washington, D.C. One page. 7" x 9". On White House letterhead.
    -To: Reverend H. G. Schwegler, Louisville, Kentucky.
    -Smoothed fold, light soiling, very good.

    FDR writes "Every man and woman who leads a full life learns sooner or later the lesson that adversity is not always an unkind teacher. Indeed most of us have found spiritual strength and restored courage by traveling over rough roads. I am sure the lessons which come to us individually will be brought home to you and your congregation collectively when you rededicate the rehabilitated fabric of Memorial Lutheran Church on July twenty-fifth. I send to you and through you in the members of the congregation my hearty greetings. I know that out of all of the misfortune and sacrifices caused by the flood, your congregation still faces the future with new zeal and determination." One of the worst floods in American history left more than 60 percent of Louisville under water and without power during the cold weeks at the end of January and beginning of February 1937. Over 200,000 had to evacuate their homes; some 200 died.


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    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.

     

    A wonderful and inspirational typed letter signed "Franklin D. Roosevelt," Washington, D.C., July 13, 1937 8vo, on The White House Washington letterhead, to Dr. H. G. Schwegler of the Memorial Lutheran Church in Louisville, Kentucky, related to their efforts to overcome the devastating flood that hit Louisville in the winter of 1937. FDR writes: "Dear Dr. Schwegler:/ Every man and woman who leads a full life learns sooner or later the lesson that adversity is not always an unkind teacher. Indeed most of us have found spiritual strength and restored courage by traveling over rough roads./ I am sure the lessons which come to us individually will be brought home to you and your congregation collectively when you rededicate the rehabilitated fabric of Memorial Lutheran Church on July twenty-fifth. I send to you and through you in the members of the congregation my hearty greetings. I know that out of all of the misfortune and sacrifices caused by the flood, your congregation still faces the future with new zeal and determination./ Very sincerely yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." The winter of 1937 was especially severe over the entire nation. Unusual snows fell in the Northwest and blanketed the country for many days. But it was in the East that tragedy really struck. Heavy and protracted rains fell steadily for weeks, feeding the many tributaries that flow into the great Ohio River which drains the large area west of the Appalachians. Gradually the level of the river passed the flood stage. Large populations living on the banks of the Ohio noted this with no little apprehension and alarm, yet they saw no sign of abatement in the flood of water that sought outlet down the valley. Day by day the waters continued to rise. Dikes and levees were strengthened, but the people knew that a break-through need occur at only one point to allow the water to fan out and flood the vast areas of farmland and even the cities that had been built along the river. The result was one of the worst floods in American history, which began in the Ohio River Valley in late January 1937.  And of all the cities along the Ohio, Louisville was the worst hit.  Over 19 inches of rain during January left more than 60 percent of the city under water and without power during the cold weeks at the end of January and beginning of February 1937. The present Old Louisville neighborhood did not escape.  Only the higher portions of Third Street and the high ground around Central Park escaped the waters. FDR, perhaps drawing courage from his own personal adversities battling poliomyelitis and its aftermath, is able to speak poignantly and courageously in his letter to Dr. Schwegler and the people of Louisville, Kentucky, recovering from the devastating flood. Over 200,000 had to evacuate their homes; some 200 died. Thoroughfares became canals as heat, light and drinking water failed across the area. The city showed remarkable calm, courage and solidarity in those darkest of days, and recovery was achieved in record time. The next year, in 1938 FDR stopped by the city to congratulate the people personally on their accomplishment and to stump for Alben Barkley in his own epic struggle against Happy Chandler in the 1938 senatorial campaign. A wonderful and heartfelt letter from FDR to the victims of the devastating 1937 Louisville, Kentucky flood.



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    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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