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    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Presidential Appointment Signed by FDR and Harry L. Hopkins.
    -November 4, 1939. Washington, D.C. 20" x 16".
    -Appointment of Carroll L. Wilson of Massachusetts as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce.
    -Minor toning, else fine.

    This official document signed by FDR and Secretary of Commerce Harry L. Hopkins appoints Carroll L. Wilson of Massachusetts Special Assistant to the Secretary. Includes a golden seal of the Department of Commerce affixed at lower left, above Hopkins' signature. Carroll L. Wilson was a Professor of Management at the Sloan School and first Mitsui Professor in Problems of Contemporary Technology at MIT. Wilson devoted much of his career to seeking solutions to important global problems through the application of scientific, engineering, economic, and political analyses to programs of action. The underlying goal of his work was the improvement of relations among countries and the strengthening of their institutions and people.

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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.


    President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Mr. Carroll L. Wilson, of Massachusetts, "Special Assistant to the Secretary," in this case Secretary of Commerce Harry L. Hopkins, by FDR as President, and co-signed by Harry L. Hopkins as Secretary of Commerce, November 4, 1939. The official document, with the Seal of the Department of Commerce of the United States of America, is in pristine condition, with an original FDR signature. The document reads: "Franklin D. Roosevelt/ President of the United States of America/ To all who shall see these Presents, Greeting:/ Know ye, That reposing special trust and confidence in the Integrity, Diligence, and Discretion of Carroll L. Wilson of Massachusetts/ I do appoint him/ Special Assistant to the Secretary/ and do authorize and empower him to execute and fulfil the duties of that Office according to law, and to have and to hold the said Office, with all the rights and emoluments thereunto legally appertaining, during the pleasure of the President of the United States for the time being, and until the end of the next session of the Senate of the United States and no longer./ In testimony whereof, I have caused these Letters to be made Patent, and the Seal of the Department of Commerce of the United States to be hereunto affixed./ Done at the City of Washington this fourth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and sixty-fourth./ Franklin D. Roosevelt/ By the President:/ Harry L. Hopkins/ Secretary of Commerce." FDR's signature is a bold original, as is the signature of Secretary of Commerce Harry L. Hopkins. Carroll L. Wilson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate of 19'32, was a Professor of Management at the Sloan School and first Mitsui Professor in Problems of Contemporary Technology at MIT. Wilson devoted much of his career toward seeking solutions to important global problems through the application of scientific, engineering, economic, and political analysis to programs of action. The underlying goal of his work was the improvement of relations among countries and the strengthening of their institutions and people. Wilson's early career encompassed a number of academic, government, and industrial positions including: Special Assistant to Secretary of Commerce Harry L. Hopkins; Assistant to the President of MIT, Karl Taylor Compton; Vice President and Director of National Research Corporation; first General Manager of the Atomic Energy Commission; President of Climax Uranium Company; and Vice President and General Manager of Metals and Controls Corporation. As a member of the MIT faculty, he designed and directed many international programs. Harry Lloyd Hopkins (August 17, 1890-January 29, 1946), was one of the central New Deal administrators and presidential advisers. FDR was grooming Harry L. Hopkins to be his successor at the time of Mr. Carroll L. Wilson's appointment as a special assistant to Mr. Hopkins by giving him the "business-friendly" cabinet post of Secretary of Commerce. Hopkins was born in Sioux City, Iowa, the son of David Aldona Hopkins, a salesman and merchant, and Anna Picket. Hopkins grew up in modest circumstances. The family moved frequently during his youth and in 1901 settled in Grinnell, Iowa. He attended Grinnell College, where he was instilled with social ideals and Progressive political values of honest government, public service by experts, and aid to the "deserving" poor. After graduating in 1912 he entered social work in New York City. The next year he married Ethel Gross, a social worker. They had three sons. A daughter died in infancy. Supported by Dr. John A. Kingsbury of New York's Association for Improving the Conditions of the Poor, Hopkins rapidly rose as an administrator. He experimented with work relief and served as executive secretary of New York's first Board of Child Welfare. During World War I he organized civilian relief for the families of servicemen in the Gulf States Division of the Red Cross, later becoming division manager. He centralized administration, established clear channels of communication, and inspired volunteers with confidence and optimism. In 1922 Hopkins returned to New York; the next year he became president of the American Association of Social Workers and the following year director of the New York Tuberculosis Association. Although he remained a Progressive, he now moved toward decentralization, allowing neighborhoods and agencies to retain their individuality under an umbrella organization. By the end of the decade, Hopkins'‘ inability to manage money had strained his marriage, and he had fallen in love with Barbara Duncan, a secretary at the Tuberculosis Association. He and his wife divorced in May 1931, and in June he married Duncan. The unemployment crisis of the Great Depression transformed Hopkins's career. In 1931 he became director of Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt's Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, which provided jobs for New York's unemployed. When Roosevelt became president in 1933, Hopkins was one of many strong advocates for a federal relief program, which he believed necessary to save the country from chaos. Congress approved the program, and Roosevelt chose Hopkins to head the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), with $500 million to allocate to states for direct relief, and Hopkins made headlines by rapidly distributing money. An unemployment crisis loomed for the winter of 1933-1934, and Hopkins persuaded President Roosevelt to propose the Civil Works Administration (CWA) to provide work relief for all able-bodied unemployed workers. Abandoning casework methods, the CWA hired persons simply because they were unemployed without investigating whether they otherwise qualified for relief. Beginning in early November, CWA employed more than four million workers in two and a half months and undertook hundreds of projects, varying from constructing airports to cataloguing museums and decorating post offices. The success of the program convinced Hopkins that employment should be a right of citizenship, and he became an advocate of government spending to combat the Great Depression. After the CWA ended in the spring of 1934, Hopkins continued to urge the President to expand work relief. After the fall elections, Roosevelt won congressional approval for a $4 billion program, which he then saddled with a complex administrative structure in which Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes headed an allotments committee that recommended work projects to the president and Hopkins headed the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which was to provide the largest amount of relief labor for the projects. This structure produced a contest for power between Ickes, who favored heavy construction projects with high outlays for materials and close supervision from Washington, and Hopkins, who favored light projects that emphasized high employment and left much to local initiative. After several months' struggle Roosevelt decided to emphasize Hopkins's approach and to make the WPA the principal agency for work relief. Construction projects dominated the WPA's activities, but the agency also funded local art and music programs. The WPA addressed social issues that no industrial society has resolved. Although most Americans favored helping the unemployed and the destitute, many, including Roosevelt and Hopkins, worried that prolonged relief, even work relief, would foster dependency. Further, although work relief maintained the morale and skills of the labor force, it was more costly than the dole, and WPA spending did little to stimulate employment in basic industries. Still, the suffering created by the depression was so great and the political need to meet it so immediate that the value of the WPA cannot be dismissed. Hopkins's achievements put him in the inner circles of the New Deal. FDR's secretary Louis McHenry Howe championed his programs, as did Eleanor Roosevelt, herself a former social worker. During 1934 Roosevelt occasionally called upon him to advocate government programs to aid individuals instead of institutional reforms. As the importance of the WPA increased, Hopkins moved closer to Roosevelt. After the president's re-election in 1936, Roosevelt thought seriously of Hopkins as a successor. Then tragedy struck. In the fall of 1937 Hopkins's wife Barbara died of cancer, leaving him responsible for raising their young daughter. Soon thereafter Hopkins himself underwent surgery for stomach cancer. Although he survived, the operation left him unable to take sufficient nourishment. He nearly died in 1939, and his poor health doomed his presidential chances and his tenure as secretary of commerce (1938-1940). After managing FDR's renomination at the 1940 Democratic National Convention, he resigned from the administration. By this time World War II had erupted. With France overrun and Britain facing a German invasion, Roosevelt asked Congress for Lend-Lease legislation to supply Britain's defense needs, and in early 1941 he dispatched Hopkins to London. Impressed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill's energy, courage, and intellect, Hopkins took up the British cause. Now less a hard-driving administrator than a sympathetic representative, he became the friend and confidant of Churchill and other British leaders. Soon after he returned to Washington, Roosevelt assigned him to organize Lend-Lease. Hopkins also urged the president to take a more aggressive stance against the Nazis. In July 1941 Hopkins flew to London to prepare for Roosevelt and Churchill's Atlantic Conference. Germany had invaded the Soviet Union and, encouraged by Churchill, Hopkins obtained the president's permission to fly to Moscow to offer aid. The dramatic trip, made under punishing conditions that threatened Hopkins's fragile health, opened direct relations with Marshal Joseph Stalin and prepared the way for a British-American supply mission to Moscow that fall.  After the United States entered the war in December 1941, Hopkins played an important role in the mobilization effort. At the Arcadia Conference in Washington, D.C., he designed a system of allocating American materiel among the Allies through the British-American Munitions Assignments Board, which he headed. By placing the board under the military chiefs instead of the civilian authorities, Hopkins won the support of Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, who thereafter relied on Hopkins as his channel to the President. Meanwhile, he had built an informal network of Lend-Lease administrators, later known as "the Hopkins Shop": Edward Stettinius (1900-1949), head of Lend-Lease; Major General James H. Burns, head of the Army Ordnance Department; W. Averell Harriman, Lend-Lease representative in London; and Oscar Cox of the Treasury Department. In early 1942 Lewis W. Douglas, head of the newly formed War Shipping Administration (WSA), joined the group. Hopkins used the Hopkins Shop to convey presidential authority to agencies and businesses and to strengthen the wartime alliance. In 1942, he emerged as a central figure in foreign policy in his own right. He strongly supported Marshall's plan for an Allied invasion of France in 1942 or 1943, but that idea ran aground as the British and Americans wrangled over strategy. Although disappointed, he resisted American opposition to the remaining alternative, the invasion of North Africa. The following year, Hopkins attended the major summit conferences, where he continued to work for Allied cooperation. He pressed for maximum efforts to deliver Lend-Lease supplies and supported Soviet territorial claims to the Baltic states, Byelorussia, and parts of Poland. Although he had once considered himself a socialist, he never sympathized with communism; his efforts were shaped by the strategic importance of the eastern front and the likelihood that the Soviet Union would emerge as the major postwar power in Europe. Since the spring of 1940 Hopkins had been living in The White House with his teenage daughter, Diana, and when he married Louise Macy in the summer of 1942, the three of them continued to live there. Relations between Louise and Eleanor Roosevelt grew strained, however, and the family moved to Georgetown at the end of 1943. Throughout this time Hopkins's health remained precarious, and his appetite for alcohol and rich foods strained his inadequate digestive system. He was hospitalized for weeks at a time and at other times received transfusions. He had maintained contact with his three sons, all of whom were in the armed forces. In February 1944 the youngest, Stephen, was killed on Namur, one of the Marshall Islands. By this time Hopkins had become hardened to the sacrifices of war. Although shaken by his son's death, he refused George Marshall's offer to remove his son Robert from combat zones, saying that the war was "for keeps" and that he wanted his sons to be "where the going is rough." That spring he underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic. He returned to work in such a weakened state that Roosevelt turned to others for advice about wartime policies, especially Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau. But Roosevelt soon lost confidence in Morgenthau, largely because of the controversy surrounding the so-called Morgenthau Plan for the de-industrialization of postwar Germany, and Hopkins was back in favor. Hopkins extended the influence of the Hopkins Shop. Stettinius became Secretary of State, Charles Bohlen became liaison between State and The White House, and Harriman became Ambassador to the Soviet Union. Hopkins hoped that these moves would provide the president with expert advice and systematic preparation for summit diplomacy; after Roosevelt's victory in the 1944 election, he sought to increase the State Department's role in policy decisions. These efforts paid dividends at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. On the American side this was the best prepared and best staffed of the wartime summit conferences. The United States arrived with an agenda focused on establishing a postwar United Nations and establishing a balance of power between Britain, the Soviet Union, and Nationalist China. Hopkins played an important role in winning approval for the United Nations, and on other issues he alternately supported the British and the Soviets, indicating an American desire to become a postwar broker between its major allies. Hoping to establish negotiation procedures to realize his objective, he frequently suggested that the plenary sessions refer issues of detail to the foreign ministers. During the conference, Hopkins developed pneumonia and returned home to enter the Mayo Clinic. There on the afternoon of April 12, 1945 he learned of FDR's death. At once he returned to Washington to confer with President Harry S. Truman. Eager to serve but fearful that his poor health and the new president's desire to choose his own advisers would deny him the opportunity, he quickly accepted Truman's request to fly to Moscow to settle issues that had stalled the United Nations conference in San Francisco. In several meetings with Stalin, Hopkins won important Soviet concessions. The Moscow mission was Hopkins's last significant public service. In July he resigned from the government and moved to New York City, where he mediated labor disputes in the garment industry. He returned to Washington once to receive the Distinguished Service Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor. He had planned to write his memoirs but had scarcely begun when his health again failed. Worn to a skeletal appearance, he entered a New York hospital in November 1945. He died several months later. To many people Harry Hopkins seemed a man of puzzling contrasts. Friends and coworkers found him honest, steadfast, and courageous; detractors found him evasive and given to half-truths and ad hominem arguments. Although personally motivated by high ideals of public service and self-sacrifice, he often declared that nations are motivated only by self-interest. Although he professed a desire for order, he was at his best responding to unforeseen situations and taking responsibility for problems that resulted from previous decisions. Hopkins shaped these traits into those of a great public administrator and an expert negotiator. He had a capacity for understanding opposing positions, a gift for winning the confidence of others, a keen intellect, and the ability to reduce complex issues to their essential elements. These abilities enabled him to understand FDR's goals and methods and to pursue them with originality, skill, and courage in times of crisis. An unbelievably wonderful item, related to the great academician Carroll L. Wilson, and to FDR's closest friend and advisor Harry L. Hopkins.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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