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    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Theatre Program Signed as President.
    -January 25, 1942. Washington, D.C. 7" x 9.5".
    -Light aging, else very fine.

    "Watch on the Rhine". Roosevelt's bold signature is in the top margin. This National Theatre production celebrated FDR's "Diamond Jubilee Birthday Celebration" and served as a March of Dimes fundraiser.

    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 signed program booklet for "President Roosevelt's Diamond Jubilee Birthday Celebration" held at the National Theatre, Washington, D.C. on Sunday Evening, January 25, 1942. FDR boldly signs his full name at the top of the program booklet. This booklet is essentially a playbill for the command performance of "a new play by Lillian Hellman" entitled "Watch on the Rhine" which was "voted by New York Drama Critics Circle as the best play of the 1940-1941 season." On the inside of the booklet is a synopsis of scenes and cast and staff credits. The Diamond Jubilee program booklet, with red, white, and blue edges, measures 7 ¼ x 9 ¼ and is in pristine condition, with no stains or stray marks of any kind. This Diamond Jubilee celebration of FDR's 60th birthday is also held in the first full month of American participation in World War II, January, 1942. In 1934, FDR's close friend and former law partner Basil O'Connor began raising funds for the treatment of polio by organizing fund raising dances each year in honor of the President's Birthday. The first Birthday Ball raised over $1 million dollars. FDR then urged O'Connor to found The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which by 1938 became known as The March of Dimes. The March of Dimes was the first successful partnership between public volunteers and scientists organized in a drive to find a cure for a devastating disease. The March of Dimes raised funds to provide better medical care and treatment facilities for polio sufferers throughout the United States. Most significant of all, through the work of thousands of ordinary Americans inspired by FDR's initiative, the March of Dimes provided the millions of dollars needed to fund the long, difficult, and ultimately successful search for a polio cure. On April 12, 1955, on the tenth anniversary of FDR's death, Dr. Jonas Salk announced that a polio vaccine he had developed was now ready for use by the general public. Five years later, Dr. Albert Sabin announced the development of the oral vaccine. FDR's leadership in the establishment of the Warm Springs Foundation and the creation of the March of Dimes had finally triumphed over the disease that he himself had struggled with for half of his adult life. The featured production the evening of the President's Diamond Jubilee Birthday Celebration in January, 1942 was "Watch on the Rhine" for which FDR signs the program booklet. Given America's recent entry into World War II, this production had very special significance. "Watch on the Rhine" is a powerful and moving play by one of America's most celebrated and infamous writers, Lillian Hellman.  Set just outside Washington, D.C. on the eve of World War II, "Watch on the Rhine" reveals the intrigue which occurs when a secure American family is faced with the intrusion of Nazism in their own home.  A story of family and hope, this is Lillian Hellman's warning that America could no longer remain isolated from Europe and ignore the rise of fascism.  Told in compelling human terms, the play is an eloquent and stirring tribute to the brave men and women who, despite all odds, struggled early on to stem the tide of fascism that was soon to spread throughout Europe and the world. No doubt that FDR, as the new war President who had struggled with Congress for years regarding the revisions of neutrality legislation and aid to the Allies, was attentive for this evening's performance in his honor.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 527

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