Description

    Hoover to FDR re: assassination attempt, "I rejoice that you have not been injured."

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Herbert Hoover as President Telegram Regarding FDR Assassination Attempt and Anton Cermak Clipped Signature.
    -February 15, 1933. The White House, Washington, D.C. One page. 8" x 6.5". Signature, 3" x 1.25".
    -Browning as expected and folds, both items very fine condition.

    This extremely historic Western Union telegram reads "RXQC1195 24 GOVT=The White House WASHINGTON DC/ 15 1106P/ PRESIDENT ELECT FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT=/ MIAMI FLO=/ TOGETHER WITH EVERY CITIZEN I REJOICE THAT YOU HAVE NOT BEEN INJURED I SHALL BE GRATEFUL TO YOU FOR NEWS OF MAYOR CERMAKS CONDITION=/ HERBERT HOOVER." Naturalized Italian immigrant Giuseppe Zangara found it very difficult to find work during the Great Depression, and developed a strong hatred of President Herbert Hoover, whom he blamed for his problems. When FDR defeated Hoover for the Presidency in 1932, Zangara turned his anger towards the new president-elect. On February 13, 1933, Zangara read that FDR was to visit Miami's Bayfront Park on February 15, 1933. Zangara bought a .32 caliber pistol and joined the crowd. As FDR and his party, which included Chicago Mayor Anton Joseph Cermak (1875-1933), appeared and started to fire. A woman in front of him, Mrs. Lillian Cross, a spectator standing next to Zangara, deflected Zangara's aim by grabbing his arm as he fired his last four shots. "I saw he was trying to kill the President so I caught him by the arm and twisted it up," Mrs. Cross later told the media. Zangara managed to fire five bullets and hit five people, as a nearby photographer joked "Just like Chicago, eh Mayor?" Mayor Anton J. Cermak had been hit in the abdominal area. The bullets also hit four bystanders, including a mother of five children. On March 6, 1933, barely two days after FDR was inaugurated the Thirty Second President of the United States, Mayor Cermak succumbed to his wound. Zangara was charged with murder and after being found guilty was sentenced to death in the electric chair at the Florida State Penitentiary. When he heard his sentence he yelled at the judge, "You give me electric chair. I no afraid of that chair! You're one of capitalists. You is crook man too. Put me in electric chair. I no care!" Giuseppe Zangara was executed on March 20, 1933. The Hoover telegram was obtained directly from an acquaintance of the person who bought the home in Berea, Ohio where FDR advisor Raymond C. Moley was born and raised. Moley accompanied FDR during this fateful trip, and even interrogated the would-be presidential assassin, Giuseppe Zangara, in his jail cell for several hours.


    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.

     

    A true and authentic piece of American history, the original Western Union telegram, received at Miami, Florida on February 15, 1933 by President-Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt from President Herbert Hoover, sent from The White House, Washington, D.C. In superb condition, this Western Union telegram is President Hoover's first reaction to the assassination attempt on FDR's life earlier that day by Italian immigrant Guiseppe Zangara! After learning of this event that could have changed the course of history, President Hoover used the fastest means then available to communicate with FDR by sending him a Western Union Telegram, which reads: "Received at Miami, Flo. 1933 FEB 15 PM 11 11/ RXQC1195 24 GOVT=The White House WASHINGTON DC/ 15 1106P/ PRESIDENT ELECT FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT=/ MIAMI FLO=/ TOGETHER WITH EVERY CITIZEN I REJOICE THAT YOU HAVE NOT BEEN INJURED I SHALL BE GRATEFUL TO YOU FOR NEWS OF MAYOR CERMAKS CONDITION=/ HERBERT HOOVER." It is of great ironic significance that President Hoover, who sent this Western Union Telegram to FDR, was Zangara's original target for assassination! Zangara, an unemployed brick-layer who became an American citizen on September 11, 1929, found it very difficult to find work during the Great Depression, and developed a strong hatred of President Herbert Hoover, whom he blamed for his problems. When FDR defeated Hoover for the Presidency in 1932, Zangara turned his anger towards the new President-Elect. On February 13, 1933, Zangara read that FDR was to visit Bayfront Park on February 15, 1933. Zangara bought a .32 caliber pistol and joined the crowd. FDR had been enjoying a vacation aboard Vincent Astor's yacht Nourmahal, arriving at Miami. FDR had earlier joked that "I have told the newspaper boys that if anyone attempts to interview me or take a photograph of me during the next 10 days he will be court-martialed and shot at sunrise." As FDR and his party, which included Chicago Mayor Anton Joseph Cermak (1875-1933), appeared before the crowd, the President-Elect gave a short speech from inside the car. Well wishers crowded around the car to see FDR. At this time Zangara was trying to work his way to the front of the crowd so he could shoot. Because he was so short, only 5 feet tall, it was very hard for him to see his target. He climbed on top of an old unstable wooden chair and started to fire. A woman in front of him, Mrs. Lillian Cross, a spectator standing next to Zangara, deflected Zangara's aim by grabbing his arm as he fired his last four shots. "I saw he was trying to kill the President so I caught him by the arm and twisted it up," Mrs. Cross later told the media. Zangara managed to fire five bullets and hit five people, as a nearby photographer joked "Just like Chicago, eh Mayor?" Mayor Anton J. Cermak had been hit in the abdominal area. The bullets also hit four bystanders, including a mother of five children. On March 6, 1933, barely two days after FDR was inaugurated the Thirty Second President of the United States, Mayor Cermak succumbed to his wound. After he was shot, the Mayor fell out of FDR's car and called out "The President, get him away!" But FDR proved to be  courageous and cool-headed under very difficult circumstances (behavior he would exhibit upon numerous occasions as President fighting the Great Depression and World War II), for when he saw that Mayor Cermak had been hit, he ordered his car to stop and had the Mayor placed back in the car with him. FDR cradled Cermak in his arms all the way to the hospital, and before he died Cermak is reported to have said to the President-Elect, "I am glad it was me instead of you." Reportedly, Zangara believed that capitalists were to blame for not punishing his father, who caused him to have a "burning stomach." His stomach caused him constant agony for over half his life, and he never knew why. After arresting Zangara, physicians examined him and discovered severe ulcers as the cause of his chronic pain. Zangara was put on trial and sentenced to 84 years for injuring bystanders during his attempt to kill FDR. When Cermak later died, Zangara was charged with murder and after being found guilty was sentenced to death in the electric chair at the Florida State Penitentiary. When he heard his sentence he yelled at the judge, "You give me electric chair. I no afraid of that chair! You're one of capitalists. You is crook man too. Put me in electric chair. I no care!" Guiseppe Zangara was executed on March 20, 1933. On the day of execution, Zangara walked to the electric chair unaided and, as reported, without fear. He yelled and cursed at the guards. After a shroud was placed over his head, he screamed, "Lousy capitalists! No picture! Capitalists! No one here to take my picture. All capitalists lousy bunch of crooks. Go ahead. Push the button!" The guard pulled the switch and Zangara was no more. He had no family or friends present, and his unclaimed remains were buried in an unmarked grave at the prison. On February 15, the date of the assassination attempt, President Herbert Hoover responded to this major event and sought immediate communication with his successor by sending this Western Union telegram directly to FDR. This major historic item was obtained directly from the acquaintance of the person who bought the home in Berea, Ohio where FDR advisor Raymond C. Moley was born and raised. Moley accompanied FDR during this fateful trip, and even interrogated the would-be presidential assassin, Guiseppe Zangara, in his jail cell for several hours after the assassination attempt that ultimately took the life of Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak. According to the source of this historic document, "it was up in the rafters of a long deteriorating garage that is leaning way to one side, an eyesore for years to the neighbors in that Berea neighborhood who tried and tried to have it razed. There was a wooden crate that had been broken into by mice, squirrels and raccoons who at one time or another had all built nests in the papers and books inside. Because of its placement in the crate, the telegram survived. When I emptied everything out of there, fully one quarter of the crate was filled with finely-chewed pieces of wood and newspaper." The Western Union telegram is in excellent condition, a one of a kind item.





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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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