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    Franklin Roosevelt Christmas Gift to House Majority Leader John McCormack, Leather and 14K Gold, Mark Cross Wallet. This beautiful wallet, 3" x 3.75" (3" x 7.5" open) is clearly marked "Mark Cross, England" on the interior. It has a small, 14K gold oval plaque on which is engraved "J. M. from F. D. Roosevelt." The leather shows light to moderate wear, but is still supple. Near fine.

    This wallet is a wonderful symbol of FDR's close relations with the Democratic leadership in Congress. John William McCormack (1891-1980) was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1928. His political skills attracted the attention of Franklin Roosevelt and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. He quickly rose in the house leadership to become House Majority Leader. He served as Speaker of the House (1961-1969) before his retirement in 1971.

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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 one of a kind personal Christmas gift from FDR to House of Representatives Majority Leader (later Speaker of the House), John McCormack of Massachusetts. The gift is a beautiful leather wallet made by the Mark Cross Leather Company of London, England. The wallet is in handsome condition and has a small, 14k gold oval plaque on which is engraved "J. M. from F. D. Roosevelt." A truly wonderful example of FDR's relations with the Democratic leadership in Congress through his giving of a Christmas gift. John William McCormack (1891-1980)was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He served as a Democrat in Congress for over 40 years, from 1928 to 1970, and was Speaker of the House from 1962 to 1970. His skills as a politician and statesman made him an influential figure with respect to committee selection and the shaping of  legislation. A public school graduate who studied law privately, he became a lawyer in 1913 and a power in Democratic politics after he returned from the army in 1918. He served in both the Massachusetts House and Senate (1920-1926) before going mid-term to the United States House of Representatives (1928-1971). A skilled tactician, he was majority leader and minority whip before becoming Speaker of the House (1961-1969), in which positions he proved a loyal supporter of presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, though FDR was the first Democratic president that McCormack's power and influence on Capitol Hill assisted. By late 1940 Great Britain was increasingly unable to pay for and transport the war materials it needed in its fight against Nazi Germany. Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill appealed to President Roosevelt to find a way for the United States to continue to aid Britain. FDR proposed providing war materials to Britain without the immediate payment called for in the Neutrality Act. A bill, assigned the patriotic bill number "1776," was introduced in the House on January 10, 1941, by Representative John McCormack of Massachusetts. After extensive hearings and debate, Congress passed "Lend-Lease" and  President Roosevelt signed the Act on March 11, 1941. After the United States entered the war, Lend-Lease became the most important means for supplying the Allies with military aid. In the mid-1960s, McCormack helped pass through the House a large volume of domestic legislation, including the Great Society anti-poverty bills.  This gift signifies FDR's high esteem for McCormack, and is a one of a kind gift representing the personal and political bond of these two Democratic giants.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 506

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