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    Description

    Franklin Roosevelt White House China Plate. Made by Theodore Havilland, this ornate 6.5" diameter blue and gold trimmed plate bears the initials "FDR". Given to FDR by the citizens from Limoges in 1938. Marked on the reverse, "Au President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, au bon artisan de la Paix, Septembre 1938 Les Limousins Reconnaissants." (Translated: To President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the good architect of peace, September 1938, from the grateful citizens of Limoges.") Excellent condition.

    Obtained from John Roosevelt Boettiger, the son of Anna Roosevelt and John Boettiger, Jr., and the grandson of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Boettiger kept the plate as a small memento, having donated the rest of the very large set to The Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York. The U.S. Park Service, which presides over the home the Roosevelt children used to call 'The Big House,' changes the china around the dining room table periodically, and this set, appears in rotation. During FDR's presidency the set was commonly used at the White House, because of its formality and its donation as a gift of state from the government of France.

    To view the Letter of Provenance from John Roosevelt Boetigger for this lot, please click on this link.


    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 fabulous gift given to FDR as President of the United States: Haviland China. An ornate 6 ½" diameter blue and gold trimmed piece of Theodore Haviland China, with the initials "FDR," which was given to FDR by the French citizens from Limoges. This gift was obtained from John Roosevelt Boettiger, the son of Anna Roosevelt and John Boettiger, Jr., and the grandson of FDR and ER. Imprinted in gold on the verso, in French: "To the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt./ To the good craftsman of Peace./ September 1938, The Grateful Limousins." Ironically in less than two years on June 12, 1940 France would be under the control of Nazi Germany. FDR and ER's grandson John Roosevelt Boettiger wrote to Dr. Joseph J. Plaud on September 23, 2003: "Dear Dr. Plaud:/ I am happy to describe and authenticate the Roosevelt items now in your possession./ This lovely and ornate butter dish of exquisite china I kept as a small memento, having donated the rest of the very large set to The Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York. The U.S. Park Service, which presides over the home we children used to call ‘The Big House,' changes the china around the dining room table periodically, and this set appears in rotation. During my grandfather's presidency the set was more commonly used, because of its formality and its donation as a gift of state from the government of France, at The White House./ The dish, as representative of the larger set, is of distinct historic significance. On its underside, along with its distinguished Haviland provenance, is the following inscription in graceful gold script:/ ‘Au Bon President de la Paix/ Franklin Delano Roosevelt/ 1937'/ The leaders of France knew, in 1937, that Hitler's aims included the domination of the whole of Europe. They also knew, in that year before the active outbreak of war in Europe, that a successful containment of Nazi ambitions for Lebensraum, for what Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain a year later in Munich called ‘peace in our time,' must include an active commitment of the United States. They knew Franklin D. Roosevelt as a man of peace, as perhaps the most effective leader of his nation since Lincoln, and also as a man convinced, against the isolationists of his day, that if one is to secure peace one must be prepared for war./ Those grateful leaders of France not have known in 1937, on the occasion of this gift, that their country would be overrun by Hitler's armies only three years later, nor that the long and costly battle to free France and defeat Germany in the world war to come, would demand the unprecedented leadership of the man they honored. It was leadership whose weight ultimately cost him his life, as the lives of so very many other men and women. But the 1937 inscription upon this plate stood the test of time; for my grandfather died that day, April 12, 1945, in Warm Springs, Georgia, knowing that the battle for a lasting peace, for the United Nations, would be won." Limoges, a major French city, is the capital of Haute-Vienne département and of the Limousin region, south central France, formerly in the province of Limousin, south-southwest of Paris, on the right bank of the Vienne River. Capital of the Lemovices, a Gallic tribe, Limoges was an important Roman center, with its own Senate and currency. Christianity was brought to the town by St. Martial in the third century. Legends of his miracles spread rapidly, and his shrine became a stopping place for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain, one of the most important shrines in Christendom. In the ninth century an abbey was built at the crypt and tomb of St. Martial, very close to Limoges; the settlement that grew around it under the Abbot's control soon rivalled the other city, which was controlled by the Bishop. The two towns were on opposing sides during the Hundred Years' War between England and France (1337–1453) and remained separate until 1792. Until the sixteenth century, Limoges was frequently devastated by fire, plague, and famine. It recovered its former prosperity in the eighteenth century, especially after introduction of porcelain manufacture in the second half of the century. The porcelain factories have been modernized to use natural gas and have developed new production techniques. Uranium is mined in the region. Other industries include the manufacture of leather products, cotton textiles, and machinery. It is a railway junction on the main Paris-Toulouse line and a trade center for stock farming. The two medieval towns, now merged into and overgrown by the modern city, can still be recognized by their narrow winding streets, which are in contrast to the spacious roads of the newer neighborhoods. The thirteenth century cathedral of Saint-Étienne has an elegant, partly octagonal bell tower, typical of the Gothic churches of the region. The church of Saint-Michel-des-Lions has a tower 198 feet high, with a spire surmounted by a big bronze ball; it also has fine fifteenth century stained-glass windows. The eighteenth century Palais de l'Évêché now houses the municipal museum, which has a large collection of old enamels. The Musée National de Céramique Adrien-Dubouché has a collection of ceramics and porcelain. Limoges is the seat of the Université de Limoges, founded 1808; suppressed 1840; reopened 1965 and is a bishopric. A wonderful gift from the free French peoples of Limoges, to the first President of the United States with significant French heritage: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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