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    Description

    The Actual Sheets Upon Which Franklin Roosevelt Lay in Death, From His Warm Springs, Georgia "Little White House". It seems incredible that such an artifact would be privately held, but the documentation which accompanies this item is unimpeachable! After FDR's death, the sheets were retained by the Chief Housekeeper in Warm Springs, Hoke Shipp. In all probability they would at some point have been given to the Warm Springs Museum, had not Hoke become unhappy about the way he was treated by the new Warm Springs management. Accordingly, he retained the sheets until 1985, when they passed into the collection of Raleigh DeGeer Amyx. Each sheet has an embroidered "R" monogram, which was used to differentiate the president's personal sheets from those of the rest of the household, and Hoke Shipp signed the actual sheets, near the monogram, to confirm that these particular sheets were the ones on which the president expired. A handwritten note from Shipp and a copy of a note from longtime White House Secretary and FDR friend, Toi Bachelder, detail the provenance; a 1985 statement by Mr. Amyx provides additional details. The sheets are in excellent condition, and constitute one of the most significant presidential relics in private hands.

    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 truly historic, one of a kind item set related to FDR: the actual bed sheets upon which Franklin Delano Roosevelt died and then lay in death, from his Warm Springs, Georgia Little White House bedroom. It seems incredible that such an artifact would still exist, but the documentation of provenance which accompanies FDR's bed sheets upon which he died is unimpeachable. After FDR's death, the sheets were retained by the Chief Housekeeper in Warm Springs, Hoke "Red" Shipp. In all probability they would at some point have been given to the museum at Warm Springs, had not Hoke become unhappy about the way the new Warm Springs management treated him. Accordingly, he retained the sheets until 1985, when they passed into the collection of Raleigh DeGeer Amyx. Each sheet has an embroidered "R" monogram, which was used to differentiate the President's personal sheets from those of the rest of the household, and Hoke Shipp signed the actual sheets, near the monogram, to confirm that these particular sheets were the ones on which the President had died. Handwritten notes from both Shipp and longtime White House Secretary and FDR friend, Toi Bachelder, detail the provenance, and a 1985 statement by Mr. Amyx provides additional details. The sheets are in excellent condition, and constitute one of the most significant Presidential relics in American history. A handwritten and signed note of provenance dated April 12, 1985, the fortieth anniversary of the death of FDR, from Hoke "Red" Shipp on an engraved The White House card accompanies FDR's bed sheets upon which he lay in death. Red Shipp writes, in his own hand: "To Raleigh Amyx 4-12-85/ The pair of sheets marked with an orange ‘R.' were on the bed of Pres. Roosevelt when he died 40 years ago today./ Hoke S. ‘Red' Shipp [signed]/ Executive Housekeeper/ Georgia Warm Springs Fou." On the verso of The White House card of provenance from Red Shipp is written, again in Shipp's own hand: "cont./ I have signed each sheets near the ‘R.' During the many, the many trips F.D.R. made to Ga. I saw this great man many times./ Hoke S. ‘Red' Shipp [signed]." A second handwritten and signed note of provenance dated April 12, 1985 from Toi Bachelder on an engraved The White House card also accompanies FDR's bed sheets upon which he lay in death. Toi Bachelder writes, in her own hand: "4/12/85/ I have known ‘Red' Shipp since his early days as an employee of the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation in the 1930s. I have no doubt as to the veracity of his statement about these sheets. Each bears an embroidered orange ‘R' on one corner as well as the signature of Red Shipp./ Toi Bachelder/ White House Secretary/ 1933-1967." Like FDR, Toi Bachelder was afflicted with poliomyelitis, and following FDR down to Warm Springs, Georgia in 1925, she began her long and personal relationship with him. Toi visited the natural spa at Warm Springs, Georgia, for its therapeutic waters after hearing about its health benefits after FDR began to visit Warm Springs. On her first night there, in 1925, she met FDR when she was assigned to be his bridge partner. The two struck up an immediate friendship, and she went to work at The White House when he became President. Toi was at Warm Springs when FDR died there on these bed sheets on April 12, 1945, and rode back to Washington, D.C. on the train carrying the President back to the capital. While she continued as a secretary at The White House until the Lyndon Baines Johnson years, it seems unlikely that she ever again enjoyed the close bond with any American President quite like the one she had with FDR, her fellow poliomyelitis survivor. Raleigh DeGeer Amyx provides a further signed letter of information and provenance on his personal Vienna, Virginia stationery, dated April, 1985: "This additional information is provided to further explain my relationship with ‘Red' Hoke Shipp and Toi Bachelder – the providers of the provenance for the sheets from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's deathbed. Because of health reasons, Mr. Shipp could not write a longer letter of provenance./ Ms. Bachelder was one of the first 25 polio test patients at the new Warm Springs Foundation when she was only 13 years old. There she met President Roosevelt, also a polio victim. This acquaintance later led her to a position as a personal secretary for President Roosevelt in The White House. Every trip that the President made to Warm Springs for treatments, or rest, he made sure that Toi's name was on the passenger train list. She continued her work at The White House through President Johnson, when she retired in 1969./ In 1985, Ms. Bachelder expressed to me her desire to visit Warm Springs one more time, and asked if I would accompany her on a road trip. While there, she gave me a personal tour of the Foundation and explained how it was when she was there as a child and how it was when the President made it his ‘little White House.' She introduced me to people that she knew from the Presidential days. One of them was the former Executive Housekeeper, Hoke Shipp. He showed me the sheets from the President's bed, where FDR was carried after his fatal stroke. Shortly after the President's death, Mr. Shipp removed the sheets for cleaning and they remained in his personal possession to this day in 1985. He explained how the sheets were marked with an embroidered ‘R' for Roosevelt, in an orange/red color. This was done for the purpose of separating and identifying the President's linen from the rest of the household. Out of respect for the President, Mr. Shipp always kept the President's linens separate. As the Executive Housekeeper, Mr. Shipp was responsible for the personal care of the President's linens while he was at Warm Springs./ Ms. Bachelder's handwritten note also attests to knowing Mr. Shipp from the early days. She also mentions the initial ‘R' in the corner of the sheets. Mr. Shipp also explained to me why he never donated the sheets back to the Warm Springs Foundation. After the ‘new' regime took over the Foundation, after years of letting it deteriorate, Hoke never felt that his many years of service, from the early 1930s on, was appreciated. He was never consulted by the directors or curators, etc. and was never invited to any special events – in other words, he felt he had been snubbed because of his somewhat lowly position at the Foundation. He was pleased to relinquish his treasure after he heard of my Presidential collection, and upon Ms. Bachelder's recommendation of me." One of the most important relics related to the death of the greatest American President in Warm Springs, Georgia, on that fateful day, April 12, 1945, the actual bed sheets upon which FDR died.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,597

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