Description

    Franklin Roosevelt Signed Copy of the D-Day Prayer by President Franklin D. Roosevelt from the White House, June 6, 1944, Here Printed for his Friends at Christmastide 1944. This copy of FDR's D-Day Prayer was given to Archibald MacLeish. This very special and rare volume is multicolored with a slipcase, and the D-Day Prayer contained within on four pages is in fancy script. FDR inscribes on the flyleaf: "For Archie MacLeish/ Christmastide 1944/ from Franklin D. Roosevelt."

    The book and its accompanying slipcase measures 7" x 10". Following the D-Day Prayer is, "One hundred copies of this book have been printed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the U.S. Government Printing Office at Washington December • Nineteen hundred and forty-four./ This copy is number 34." The slipcase is lightly faded, but the book is in fine condition.

    FDR's famous D-Day Prayer was originally entitled "Let Our Hearts Be Stout," and was written by FDR himself as Allied troops were invading German-occupied Europe during World War II. The prayer was read to the Nation on radio on the evening of D-Day, June 6, 1944, while American, British and Canadian troops were fighting to establish beachheads on the coast of Normandy in France. The previous night, June 5, the President had also been on the radio to announce that Allied troops had entered Rome. The spectacular news that Rome had been liberated was quickly surpassed by news of the gigantic D-Day invasion, which began at 6:30 a.m. on June 6. By midnight about 57,000 American and 75,000 British and Canadian soldiers had gotten ashore. Allied losses on D-Day included 2,500 killed and 8,500 wounded.

    Archibald MacLeish gave up a legal career in 1923 and decided to tour Europe. During this period he published several books of poetry and two plays. MacLeish worked as editor of Fortune Magazine (1929-1938) but continued to write poetry. Conquistador (1932) won the Pulitzer Prize and his Frescoes for Mr. Rockefeller's City (1933) was described by one critic as campaign poetry for Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. MacLeish also joined the League for Independent Political Action. The group promoted alternatives to a capitalist system they considered to be obsolete and cruel. In August 1936 MacLeish wrote an article for New Masses where he urged the United States Government to support the republicans in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939 FDR decided to appoint MacLeish as Librarian of Congress. Right wing politicians objected to this proposal and J. Parnell Thomas, a member of the House of Un-American Activities, argued that MacLeish was a Communist. MacLeish, who had been a harsh critic of the American Communist Party for many years, replied, "no one would be more shocked to learn I am a Communist than the Communists themselves." When the vote was taken in the Senate, sixty-three voted for MacLeish (eight voted against and twenty-five abstained) and he was appointed. During the Second World War MacLeish wrote for the New Republic. He was also head of the Office of Facts and Figures

    In November 1944, the month before he gave this inscribed book of the D-Day Prayer to MacLeish, FDR appointed MacLeish as his Assistant Secretary of State for Cultural and Public Affairs. Once again right-wing members of the Senate complained about the appointment of MacLeish. The vote was close with forty-three in favor, twenty-five against, and twenty-eight abstaining. MacLeish's main task was to promote the idea of the United Nations to the American people. However, the job only lasted a few months as Harry S. Truman decided not to reappoint him after the death of FDR on April 12, 1945.


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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.

     

    An exceedingly rare, and fabulous deluxe signed copy of the D-Day Prayer by President Franklin D. Roosevelt from the White House, June 6, 1944, Here Printed for his Friends at Christmastide 1944. This copy of FDR's D-Day Prayer was given to Archibald MacLeish. This very special and rare volume is multicolored with a slipcase, and the D-Day Prayer contained within on four pages is in fancy script. FDR inscribes on the flyleaf: "For Archie MacLeish/ Christmastide 1944/ from Franklin D. Roosevelt." This wonderful and rare text and its accompanying slipcase measure 7 x 10." Following the D-Day Prayer is the inscription, again in fancy text: "One hundred copies of this book have been printed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the U.S. Government Printing Office at Washington December • Nineteen hundred and forty-four./ This copy is number 34." FDR's famous D-Day Prayer was originally entitled "Let Our Hearts Be Stout," and was written by FDR himself as Allied troops were invading German-occupied Europe during World War II. The prayer was read to the Nation on radio on the evening of D-Day, June 6, 1944, while American, British and Canadian troops were fighting to establish beach heads on the coast of Normandy in France. The previous night, June 5, the President had also been on the radio to announce that Allied troops had entered Rome. The spectacular news that Rome had been liberated was quickly surpassed by news of the gigantic D-Day invasion which began at 6:30 a.m. on June 6. By midnight about 57,000 American and 75,000 British and Canadian soldiers had gotten ashore. Allied losses on D-Day included 2,500 killed and 8,500 wounded. Archibald MacLeish was born in Glencoe, Illinois, on May 7, 1892. After graduating from Yale University in 1915, two years later his first book of poems, Tower of Ivory, was published. MacLeish he joined the United States Army in 1917. He served in France as a field artillery officer during the First World War and during the summer of 1918 took part in the 2nd Battle of the Marne. On his return to the United States MacLeish resumed his studies and received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1919 and became a lawyer in Boston. In 1923 MacLeish gave up his legal career and decided to tour Europe. During this period he published several books of poetry including The Happy Marriage (1924), The Pot of Earth (1925), Streets in the Moon (1926), The Hamlet of A. MacLeish (1928) and New Found Land (1930). He also wrote two plays, Nobodaddy and Panic which dealt with the Wall Street Crash. MacLeish worked as editor of Fortune Magazine (1929-1938) but continued to write poetry. Conquistador (1932) won the Pulitzer Prize and his Frescoes for Mr. Rockefeller's City (1933) was described by one critic as campaign poetry for Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. MacLeish also joined the League for Independent Political Action. The group, that included Lewis Mumford and John Dewey, promoted alternatives to a capitalist system they considered to be obsolete and cruel. In August, 1936 MacLeish wrote an article for New Masses where he urged the United States Government to support the republicans in the Spanish Civil War. Along with John Dos Passos, Lillian Hellman and Ernest Hemingway, MacLeish helped to finance The Spanish Earth, a documentary film about the war. MacLeish also joined other left-wing writers in the League of American Writers. Other members included Erskine Caldwell, Upton Sinclair, Malcolm Cowley, Clifford Odets, Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, Carl Van Doren, David Ogden Stewart, John Dos Passos, Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett. MacLeish took a keen interest in world affairs and The Fall of the City (1937), a radio play about the growth of fascism in Europe, obtained a large audience in the United States. In April, 1938 MacLeish published Land of the Free. The book included 338 lines of a poem by MacLeish and 88 photographs by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein and Ben Shahn. Most of the photographs came from the Farm Security Administration project and dealt with issues such as rural poverty and child labor. In 1939 FDR decided to appoint MacLeish as Librarian of Congress. Right-wing politicians objected to this proposal and J. Parnell Thomas, a member of the House of Un-American Activities, argued that MacLeish was a Communist. MacLeish, who had been a harsh critic of the American Communist Party for many years, replied "no one would be more shocked to learn I am a Communist than the Communists themselves." When the vote was taken in the Senate, sixty-three voted for MacLeish (eight voted against and twenty-five abstained) and he was appointed. During the Second World War MacLeish wrote for the New Republic. He was also head of the Office of Facts and Figures. This brought him into conflict with J. Edgar Hoover, who tried to stop him employing left-wing figures such as Malcolm Cowley. Hoover complained that Cowley had been "associated with various Liberal and Communist groups." In January, 1942, MacLeish replied that the FBI agents needed a course of instruction in history. "Don't you think it would be a good thing if all investigators could be made to understand that Liberalism is not only not a crime but actually the attitude of the President of the United States and the greater part of his Administration?" MacLeish was unaware that he was also under investigation by Hoover and the FBI. The agency was particularly interested in his involvement with the League of American Writers and other anti-fascist groups in the United States and his pro-Russian stance after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. MacLeish's FBI file eventually ran to six hundred pages, longer than any other writer in the United States. In November, 1944, the month before he gave this inscribed book of the D-Day Prayer to MacLeish, FDR appointed MacLeish as his Assistant Secretary of State for Cultural and Public Affairs. Once again right-wing members of the Senate complained about the appointment of MacLeish. The vote was close with forty-three in favor, twenty-five against, and twenty-eight abstaining. MacLeish's main task was to promote the idea of the United Nations to the American people. However, the job only lasted a few months as Harry S. Truman decided not to reappoint him after the death of FDR on April 12, 1945. In October, 1952 Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed that MacLeish had belonged to more Communist front organizations than any man he had investigated. Despite coming under increasing pressure, MacLeish bravely defended his left-wing friends during the McCarthyism era. A play about the irrational fear of communism, The Trojan Horse, appeared in 1952. MacLeish was appointed professor of rhetoric and oratory at Harvard University in 1949. Other books by MacLeish include Poetry and Journalism (1958), Poetry and Experience (1961), The Collected Poetry of Archibald MacLeish (1963), The Dialogues of Archibald MacLeish and Mark Van Doren (1964), The Wild Old Wicked Man and Other Poems (1968), The Human Season (1972) and Riders on the Earth (1978). Archibald MacLeish died in Boston on April 20, 1982. What a fabulous, rare, and special item, one of the limited editions of the D-Day Prayer given by FDR to his closest friends and colleagues for Christmas, 1944, the last Christmas FDR would celebrate, given to a staunch liberal and New Dealer, Archibald MacLeish.





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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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