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    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Photograph Signed as New York Governor.
    -June 24, 1930. Black and white, 6.75" x 9".
    -Toned around the margins, not affecting the image. Very good.

    A beautiful photograph featuring FDR placing the New York State Medal of Valor around the neck of Admiral Richard E. Byrd upon Byrd's return from his first Antarctic expedition. The photograph was taken in conjunction with a parade of honor in Albany presided over by Governor Roosevelt. Roosevelt has signed the photograph "Franklin D. Roosevelt/ Albany/ June 24th/ 1930".

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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 black and white 7x 9" photograph of FDR holding the Distinguished Flying Cross around the neck of Admiral Richard E. Byrd, in which FDR inscribes the photograph: "Franklin D. Roosevelt/ Albany/ June 24th/ 1930." This photograph was taken in conjunction of a parade in honor of Admiral Byrd, presided over by Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, both of whom are dressed formally, Admiral Byrd in his dress whites, and FDR in a morning coat with white waistcoat. A very rare photograph inscribed and signed by FDR in 1930. Richard Evelyn Byrd was born into one of Virginia's First Families. A descendent of William Byrd II of Westover Plantation (founder of Richmond, Virginia), his brother was Harry Flood Byrd who became a Governor of Virginia and United States Senator. Richard E. Byrd attended the University of Virginia before financial circumstances inspired his transfer and graduation from the United States Naval Academy. He learned to fly in World War I during his tour with the United States Navy. He developed a passion for flight, and pioneered many techniques for navigating airplanes over the open ocean including drift indicators and bubble sextants. His expertise in this area resulted in his appointment to plan the flight path for the United States Navy's 1919 transatlantic crossing. Of the three flying boats that attempted it, only Albert Read's aircraft the NC-4 completed the trip; becoming the first ever transatlantic flight. On May 9, 1926, Byrd and Floyd Bennett attempted a flight over the North Pole. They claimed to have achieved the pole, however subsequent evidence from their diaries and mechanical analysis of their plane confirmed by the Norwegian-American aviator and explorer Bernt Balchen has cast significant doubt on their claim. Nonetheless, this trip earned Byrd widespread acclaim, enabling him to secure funding for subsequent attempts on the South Pole. Byrd and three other, Bernt Balchen, Bert Acosta, and George Noville, flew the ‘America' from New York City on June 29th, 1927, to Paris on July 1st, 1927. In 1928, Byrd began his first expedition to the Antarctic involving two ships and three airplanes. A base camp was constructed on the Ross Ice Shelf and scientific expeditions by dog-sled, snowmobile, and airplane began. Photographic expeditions and geological surveys were undertaken for the duration of that summer, and constant radio communications were maintained with the outside world. After their first winter their expeditions were resumed and on November 29, 1930 the famous flight to the South Pole was launched. Byrd, along with pilot Bernt Balchen co-pilot/radioman Harold June and photographer Ashley McKinley flew the Floyd Bennet to the South Pole and back in 18 hours, 41 minutes. They had difficulty gaining altitude, and had to dump empty gas tanks as well as their emergency supplies in order to achieve the altitude of the Polar Plateau. However, the flight was successful, and entered Byrd into the history books. After a further summer of exploration, the expedition returned to America on June 18, 1930, and occasioned the ceremony being depicted in this signed FDR photograph of FDR and Byrd less than a week later. Byrd undertook three more expeditions to the South Pole from 1933–1935, 1939–1941 and 1946–1947. On the first, in 1934, he spent five winter months alone operating a meteorological station, Advance Base, from which he narrowly escaped with his life after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning from a poorly-ventilated stove. Unusual radio transmissions from Byrd finally began to alarm the men at the base camp, who then attempted to go to Advance Base. The first two trips were a failure due to darkness, snow, and mechanical troubles. Finally, Dr. Thomas Poulter, E.J. Demas and Amory Waite arrived at advanced base, where they found Byrd in poor physical health. The men remained at advanced base until October 12 when an airplane from the base camp picked up Dr. Poulter and Byrd. The rest of the men returned to base camp with the tractor. The third culminating expedition, Operation Highjump, was the largest Antarctic expedition to date. Byrd also commanded Operation Deep Freeze, which established permanent Antarctic bases at McMurdo Sound, the Bay of Whales and the South Pole in 1955, accompanied by Andrew Van Mincey, for whom Mincey Glacier is named. By the time Richard Byrd died on March 12, 1957, he had amassed twenty-two citations and special commendations, nine of which were for bravery and two for extraordinary heroism in saving the lives of others. As well he earned the Medal of Honor, the Congressional Life Saving Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Flying Cross, the Navy Cross and three ticker-tape parades. However, Byrd was reportedly very modest about these achievements, preferring to dwell on the substance of his adventures, and the stories of those that had gone awry. A terrific and historic photograph with a boldly penned full signature from FDR honoring Admiral Richard E. Byrd.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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