Description

    FDR's final check register and the last check he ever signed!

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Archive of Forty-Seven Checks Signed and his Final Check Register.
    -A black leather Guaranty Trust Company of New York check register book that begins with check number 44 and ends with check number 189. In addition, there are two blank checks that would have been check numbers 190 and 191. All of the checks before number 178 (dated April 9, 1945) have been removed from the register as they were tendered, cashed, canceled, and returned to FDR. Check numbers 178 through 189, a total of twelve checks, are filled out but are unsigned and remain attached to the register, as do the two unnumbered checks. Register is mostly in the hand of FDR's personal secretary, Grace G. Tully with additional notations in Roosevelt's holograph.
    -Guaranty Trust Company of New York bank statement pages dated October 31, 1944, December 30, 1944, January 30, 1945, February 28, 1945, March 31, 1945, April 12, 1945, June 30, 1945, and July 14, 1945. Interestingly, the April 12th statement shows his bank checking account balance as $8,037.14 on the day of his death. The final statement, July 14th, has attached to it a paid check for this same amount signed by executors Basil O'Connor and Henry T. Hackett to close the account.
    -Canceled, and returned hand-numbered checks, all signed by Roosevelt: #s 6, 34-44, 46-56, 59-62, 75, 79-80, 82-85, 87-90, 92-93, 95-97, 135, 167, 170, and the last check he signed- 177. Dates range between September 2, 1944 and April 9, 1945.

    This unbelievably important and historically significant archive presents a rare and comprehensive study of Roosevelt's signature through the last six months of his life as well as an amazing opportunity to examine his personal spending habits. At the end of the check register book, Grace G. Tully notes a deposit for FDR's salary of $4,866.65 on April 9, 1945, and a corresponding check written that day, which FDR signed, to transfer $1,800 to Eleanor Roosevelt's account. This was the last check that FDR signed in his life, as the next twelve checks, which are numbered seriatim, are unsigned.

    The checks from FDR's personal bank account during the last six months of his life detail both his professional as well as personal contributions. For example, FDR signs checks to the Democratic National Committee and the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation, Dutchess County Historical Society, the Foreign Policy Association, and the American Legion, to name a few. On the personal front, for example, the President signs checks to his sons FDR, Jr. and John Aspinwall Roosevelt for their allowances - both of whom were at this time United States Navy officers in World War II, as well as payments concerning FDR's utility, country club, fraternal associations such as the Free Mason's Holland Lodge, and pharmacy bills, to interesting personal affairs such as a check written on December 7, 1944, the third anniversary of Pearl Harbor, to Father Flanagan of Boys Town, and astonishingly FDR's last Christmas gift to his wife - a check also written on December 7, 1944 for $1,000 to Anna Eleanor Roosevelt for her Christmas present in 1944, endorsed by ER as "Anna Eleanor Roosevelt" on the verso of the check. There is also a check written to the New York State Tax Commission on January 5, 1945 for $52.50 to cover an "error" FDR made in his 1942 state tax returns, a check written to the Union Pacific Railroad Company on March 5, 1945 to cover his grandchildren's train tickets to attend his fourth and final inauguration as President of the United States, a check written to the American Red Cross on March 5, 1945 for the 1945 War Fund, a check written to FDR's cousin Margaret "Daisy" Suckley who was with FDR at the time of his death in Warm Springs, Georgia, to reimburse her for her payment to the "masseur, Harry Lenny," otherwise known as Harry Setaro, the former boxer and "hand healer" (a faith healer) who actually attended to FDR at Daisy's urging several times in the President's final months, to a check that remained unsigned (symbolically as it would turn out) written to cover FDR's upcoming attendance at the Jefferson Day Dinner on April 13, 1945, the speech FDR was working on to deliver to this Democratic dinner when he died the day before, in which his final line written in his own hand was "the only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith." There is even a check FDR signed on November 14, 1944 for a collar for his famous little Scottie dog Fala!


    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.

     

    An unbelievably significant one of a kind signature archive relating to FDR: the President's last check register book and numerous signed checks from FDR's personal checking account with the Guaranty Trust Company of New York – from the final six months of FDR's life, inclusively covering the period from October 5, 1944, to the Estate of Franklin D. Roosevelt following his death on April 12, 1945. Most significantly in this historical treasure trove is the last check FDR ever signed, dated April 9, 1945, just three days before his death at Warm Springs, Georgia, one of forty seven total checks in this wonderful archive signed by FDR, with other notations in FDR's own hand, and a number of unsigned checks made out the last two days before his death on April 12, 1945. The check register book contains notable descriptions of the checks written on FDR's personal bank account written in FDR's own hand and in the hand of the President's personal secretary, Grace G. Tully. This fabulous and large signed archive of FDR is therefore a detailed account of the President's final six months of personal financial transactions, as well as one of the most comprehensive continuous studies of FDR's signature during this critical period of time, preceding his historic fourth and final election as President of the United States, to three days before his death. At the end of the check register book, Grace G. Tully notes a deposit for FDR's salary of $4,866.65 on April 9, 1945, and a corresponding check written that day, which FDR signed, to transfer $1,800 to Eleanor Roosevelt's account.  This was the last check that FDR signed in his life, as the next twelve checks, which are numbered seriatim, are unsigned. The checks from FDR's personal bank account during the last six months of his life detail both his professional as well as personal contributions. For example, FDR signs checks to the Democratic National Committee and the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation, Dutchess County Historical Society, the Foreign Policy Association, and the American Legion to name a few. On the personal front, for example, the President signs checks to his sons FDR, Jr. and John Aspinwall Roosevelt for their allowances – both of whom were at this time United States Navy officers in World War II, as well as payments concerning FDR's utility, country club, fraternal associations such as the Free Mason's Holland Lodge, and pharmacy bills, to interesting personal affairs such as a check written on December 7, 1944, the third anniversary of Pearl Harbor, to Father Flanagan of Boys Town, and astonishingly FDR's last Christmas gift to his wife – a check also written on December 7, 1944 for $1,000 to Anna Eleanor Roosevelt for her Christmas present in 1944, endorsed by ER as "Anna Eleanor Roosevelt" on the verso of the check. There is also a check written to the New York State Tax Commission on January 5, 1945 for $52.50 to cover an "error" FDR made in his 1942 state tax returns, a check written to the Union Pacific Railroad Company on March 5, 1945 to cover his grandchildren's train tickets to attend his fourth and final inauguration as President of the United States, a check written to the American Red Cross on March 5, 1945 for the 1945 War Fund, a check written to FDR's cousin Margaret "Daisy" Suckley who was with FDR at the time of his death in Warm Springs, Georgia, to reimburse her for her payment to the "masseur, Harry Lenny," otherwise known as Harry Setaro, the former boxer and "hand healer" (a faith healer) who actually attended to FDR at Daisy's urging several times in the President's final months, to a check that remained unsigned (symbolically as it would turn out) written to cover FDR's upcoming attendance at the Jefferson Day Dinner on April 13, 1945, the speech FDR was working on to deliver to this Democratic dinner when he died the day before, in which his final line written in his own hand was "the only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith." There is even a check FDR signed on November 14, 1944 for a collar for his famous little Scottie dog Fala! This magnificent FDR personal signature archive from the last six months of the President's life includes a black leather Guaranty Trust Company of New York check register book measuring 7 x 8 ½," with a calendar from 1943 to 1945, and a disclaimer written on the inside front cover: "To the Depositor/ Caution/ The Guaranty Trust Company of New York has delivered this checkbook with the understanding that care be exercised on the part of the holder in the keeping thereof to avoid a misuse of the checks by one having no right to them. This is for our mutual protection." FDR's last check register book has fifty pages of register entries, forty six of which have the checks detached, most of which are also part of this unbelievable archive cancelled and returned to FDR or after April, 1945 to the Estate of Franklin D. Roosevelt. There are twelve checks still attached to the check register book made out but not signed by FDR, the last of which is a check dated April 11, 1945 to pay 1942, 1943, and 1944 taxes regarding the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. There are two additional completely blank checks to close out FDR's last check register book. The check register book is embossed on the cover with the seal of the Guaranty Trust Company of New York. FDR writes out in his own hand the check register entry for check number 94, a $35 payment dated December 18, 1944 to Daisy Bonner, his cook at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia, for three weeks salary. The major portion of this magnificent FDR archive is composed of the following: thirty six cancelled checks that originated from the register book, all signed by FDR; eleven cancelled checks from the month before the register began, all signed by FDR; twelve checks dated April 11, 1945, that were filled out but unsigned; two checks that were not filled out; original Guaranty Trust Company of New York bank statements for the period of time covered by the check register book addressed to the Honorable Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House; and one final check signed by D. Basil "Doc" O'Connor and Henry T. Hackett as executors of the Estate of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the very check which was used to close FDR's personal Guaranty Trust Company of New York bank account, as represented by the check register book on July 11, 1945, three months after FDR's passing. More specifically, this one of a kind FDR archive from the last six months of his life is composed of the following items in addition to the black leather Guaranty Trust Company of New York check register book: the check register book begins with check number 44 and ends with check number 189. In addition, there are two blank checks that would have been check numbers 190 and 191. All of the checks before number 178 (dated April 9, 1945) have been removed from the register as they were tendered, cashed, cancelled, and returned to FDR. Check numbers 178 through 189, a total of twelve checks, are filled out but are unsigned and remain attached to the register, as do the two unnumbered checks; Guaranty Trust Company of New York bank statement pages dated October 31, 1944, with twenty seven cancelled checks, numbered 6, 34-44, 46-56, and 59-62, all signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, attached;  Guaranty Trust Company of New York bank statement pages dated December 30, 1944, with sixteen cancelled checks, numbered 75, 79-80, 82-85, 87-90, 92-93, and 95-97, all signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, attached; check number 135 written to Kate Jennings, signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and signed on the verso by James Roosevelt;  Guaranty Trust Company of New York bank statement pages dated June 30, 1945, with three cancelled checks, numbered 167, 170 and 177, all signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, enclosed; Guaranty Trust Company of New York bank statement pages dated January 31, 1945; Guaranty Trust Company of New York bank statement pages dated February 28, 1945; Guaranty Trust Company of New York bank statement pages dated March 31, 1945; Guaranty Trust Company of New York bank statement page sent to the Audit Department upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, most probably sent in lieu of an April 30, 1945 statement, and listing FDR's account balance on the day of his death, April 12, 1945, as $8,037.14; one unnumbered check dated July 11, 1945, signed by Basil O'Connor and Henry T. Hackett as executors of the Estate of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Deceased, which was used to close the account represented by the check register book on July 11, 1945, with its attached statement page; and an envelope, held together with a vintage paperclip, used by Guaranty Trust Company of New York to mail materials to the Estate of Franklin D. Roosevelt. This is just an unbelievable and wonderfully historically rare archive of the accounting of the last six months of FDR's life through his personal finances, including a one of a kind uninterrupted signature study of FDR's last half year, including forty four signed checks by the President of the United States, as well as the final check he ever signed on April 9, 1945, just three days before his death in Warm Springs, Georgia on April 12, 1945.



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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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