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    FDR writes to an old friend (and Times reporter) a week after accepting the call to run for governor of New York.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Typed Letter Signed with Holograph Correction as New York Gubernatorial Candidate.
    -October 8, 1928. New York City. One page. 7.25" x 10.5". Franklin D. Roosevelt personal stationery.
    -To: W. A. Warn c/o NY Times
    -Folds, light toning, else fine.

    FDR writes, in full, "My dear Warn:/ It was delightful to me to get your telegram when I was down in Warm Springs last week, and I appreciate your thought in sending it./ As you know, this is a very sudden turn of affairs to me. Do come around and let me have a talk with you as an old friend, not in your official capacity./ Sincerely yours..." Alfred E. Smith, the incumbent governor of New York was nominated by the Democratic Party to run for president in 1928. He personally asked Roosevelt to run as his successor. It took Eleanor's help, but FDR finally consented to run on October 1, 1928. Smith lost the national election by a landslide (not even carrying his native state) but Roosevelt won the first of his two terms as New York governor.

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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 fabulous and historic letter in which Franklin D. Roosevelt writes to W. A. Warn, a reporter for The New York Times, breaking the news of his recent acceptance of the Democratic nomination for Governor of New York. This is a very rare letter because of the date in which it was written, and to a reporter friend of FDR working for the nation's largest and most influential newspaper. Composed on his personal stationery from 49 East 65th Street, New York City, on October 8, 1928, corrected in FDR's own hand, within the first week of his decision to run for Governor of New York, FDR writes: "My dear Warn:/ It was delightful to me to get your telegram when I was down in Warm Springs last week, and I appreciate your thought in sending it./ As you know, this is a very sudden turn of affairs to me. Do come around and let me have a talk with you as an old ["old" written in by FDR in his own hand] friend, not in your official capacity./ Sincerely yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." At the 1924 Democratic National Convention, a grim-faced FDR dragged himself laboriously to the podium on crutches and placed New York Governor Alfred E. Smith's name in nomination for the Presidency of the United States. In 1928, when FDR again nominated Smith for president, he "walked" to the podium without crutches, one hand holding a cane and the other clutching his son's arm. It was an important personal triumph, signaling his readiness to resume an active political career, which he did more quickly than even he had expected. After months of resisting pressure from Smith and other party leaders to run for governor of New York, he finally agreed on October 1, 1928, after a concerted effort launched by Governor Smith, Edward J. Flynn, Herbert H. Lehman, John Jacob Raskob, Robert F. Wagner, and Tom Lynch, and most notably his wife Eleanor Roosevelt, who had the task of reaching FDR, who purposely had secluded himself while he was in Warm Springs, Georgia. FDR took ER's telephone call from a Manchester, Georgia drugstore, and then ER handed the telephone to Governor Smith – "Hello, Frank..." –  who finally convinced FDR to run for Governor of New York in his stead while he was the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. To win the Presidency Smith had to carry his native New York, then the most populous and influential electoral state. To that end, Smith and his Democratic lieutenants, some of which would become fierce political enemies in the years to come, thought FDR most suited to bringing New York Democrats, especially from upstate New York rather than just from the big cities, to the voting booths, not only casting a vote for FDR for Governor, but also Smith for President. Once decided in the affirmative, FDR campaigned energetically and buoyantly, partly to dispel the persistent rumors of weakness and poor health. Although Smith lost his home state to Herbert Hoover in the Presidential contest by 100,000 votes, Roosevelt won his own race by a narrow margin. FDR's four years as Governor coincided with the first three and a half years of the Great Depression. More quickly than most other political leaders, he concluded that the economy would not recover on its own and "that there is a duty on the part of government to do something about this." Roosevelt pushed for a series of modest reforms that included measures to develop public electric power, lower utilities rates, and reduce the tax burden on New York farmers. Later he also created a state agency to provide relief to the unemployed and began calling for national unemployment insurance and other government programs to assist the jobless. A wonderful letter by FDR written to a friend and major newspaper reporter just as he began his emergence back to elected office in 1928, referring to the decision he had just made to run for Governor of New York "a very sudden turn of affairs to me."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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