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    Chemistry Set Presented to a Dying Boy by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This is a touching story, reminiscent of Babe Ruth's famous hospital visit to a sick boy to present him with an autographed baseball. In June 1933, seven year old Eddie Walts was in a Syracuse hospital gamely fighting a blood disorder which would claim his life two years later. As his eighth birthday approached, he was asked what he would like for his birthday. After much thought, he said a chemistry set.

    It was never disclosed how the nation's First Couple came to know about Eddie, but on his birthday he was surprised to receive his request - hand-delivered from the President of the United States by Eleanor Roosevelt herself! The gift came with FDR's engraved calling card, on which he had written: "With best wishes for a happy birthday from one who knows what it means to lie in bed a long time and hopes you will soon be well-." Roosevelt referred of course to his bout with polio in the early 1920s, which left him with a lifelong empathy for those suffering from debilitating illnesses.

    The event was of course widely covered by the Syracuse newspaper, and a variety of original clippings, many with photos of the lad, accompany this lot. Sadly, some of these report his passing in May 1935.

    Apparently in July 1933, several months after his birthday, Eddie wrote to Roosevelt complaining of having to stay in bed. He received a letter on White House stationery from Missy Le Hand, the president's private secretary, which is also included with this lot: "The President was very glad to get your nice letter and asks me to thank you for writing. He is pleased to know that you liked the chemistry set. While the President is sorry you have to remain in bed he feels that the Doctors know what is best for you and that you should follow their instructions. "

    The chemistry set is in its original 16" wood case. Although it shows its age, it is complete and in very good condition for display.

    Over the years we at Heritage have had the opportunity to present a variety of presidentially-owned relics and artifacts. But none had more charm and appeal than this heartfelt gift from a president who had known suffering, to a young boy lying in a hospital bed.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,456

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