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    Description

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Typed Letter Signed "F.D.R." as President.
    -February 13, 1940. Washington, D.C. One page. 7" x 9". On White House letterhead.
    -To: Honorable Herbert Bayard Swope, New York City.
    -Fold and diagonal crease, light toning, else very good.

    Roosevelt thanks Bayard for a note regarding an address to the Youth Congress. Enclose, too, is Bayard's penciled draft of his letter to the president and a file copy of the finished letter. Herbert B. Swope (1882 - 1958) introduced the "Op-Ed" page to American newspapers.


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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.

     

    Letter signed February 13, 1940 on The White House Washington stationery, one page (conjoining leaves), to Herbert Bayard Swope. FDR writes: "Dear Bayard:/ Thanks much for that message you sent me. I am delighted to know that you think so well of the address to the Youth Congress./ With every good wish./ Always sincerely,/ FDR." FDR refers in this letter to his February 10, 1940 thirty three minute address to the delegates of the National Youth Congress meeting in Washington, D.C. Accompanying this letter are two pieces. The first is a 4 x 11" pencil draft in Swope's own hand on letterhead in red lettering: Herbert Bayard Swope/ Chairman/ State Racing Commission, of his February 10, 1940 letter to FDR which brought th e President's reply. Swope's original letter states: "PERSONAL/ Your excursion into homiletics contained good advice not merely to the Youth Congress but other loose thinking groups. It was sound, timely and helpful. Affectionate regard,/ BAYARD." The second item accompanying FDR's letter to Swope is a typed copy of Swope's original letter on 8 ½ x 11" bond. Herbert Bayard Swope (1882-1958) was a  journalist who became famous as a war correspondent and editor of the New York World. After graduation from high school, Swope spent a year in Europe before going to work as a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He later went to the Chicago Tribune, then the New York Herald and the New York Morning Telegraph, with short periods of employment at the New York World, which he finally joined full-time in 1909. He remained with the paper  until 1929, with an interruption for service in World War I. After serving as a crime reporter for the World, Swope became a war correspondent, reporting from Germany early in World War I. He came to be recognized as an authority on Germany. His articles, collected in the book Inside the German Empire (1917), won him a Pulitzer Price in 1917. Swope came back from Germany in 1915 to become city editor of the World, but he returned to the front in 1916. When the United States entered the war in 1917, he was commissioned in the U.S. Navy and made assistant to Bernard Baruch on the U.S. War Industries Board. He returned to the World in 1920 as executive editor and, in that role, concentrated on building up a page devoted to columnists opposite the editorial page. In that period, ending with his retirement in 1929, the paper won three Pulitzer Prizes. In retirement Swope served the U.S. government in various advisory roles and was chairman of the New York State Racing Board for 11 years, starting in 1934. During and shortly after World War II, from 1942 to 1946, he served as a consultant to U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson. Swope had a critical role in causing FDR to use the famous "Happy Warrior" phrase in his June, 1924 nomination speech for Al Smith at the Democratic National Convention in Madison Square Garden. FDR's nominating speech at the convention marked his return to the political arena after his August, 1921 paralysis from poliomyelitis. Widely regarded as the most memorable speech of the 1924 convention for the Democrats, FDR originally didn't want to use the phrase "Happy Warrior" in nominating Al Smith for President. As recounted by one of Smith's closest advisors, Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, who originally placed the phrase in the nominating speech, "So I took Herbert Bayard Swope, the editor [of the New York World] with me to Roosevelt's place up the Hudson so that we could work it out. Swope made the mistake of the century. He picked up Roosevelt's speech, turned to me and said, ‘Joe, this is awful. It's dull. It won't do.' And he flung it on the floor. Then he picked up my ‘Happy Warrior' speech. ‘This is great, Frank,' he said to Roosevelt. ‘You've done it just the way it ought to be.' Well, Roosevelt damn near went through the roof. We fought and fought. Finally I told him, ‘Frank, I have this message from the Governor [Smith]: Either you give this speech or you don't nominate him." FDR gave the speech, with his own editing, and FDR's stirring effort, his first major appearance using his leg braces and crutches, marked his return in full force to the Democratic Party and national politics. As noted by FDR biographer Nathan Miller in FDR: An Intimate History (page 205), after FDR finished his nominating speech, "The lid blew off the Garden and the cheering lasted for an hour and thirteen minutes. Connoisseurs of political oratory universally agreed that it was by far the best speech of the convention. Following this display of courage and eloquence, Roosevelt was probably more popular than any of the candidates, and most observers believed the image of the ‘Happy Warrior' better suited him than Smith."



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    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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