William H. Taft 1917 Typed Letter Signed – Red Cross Content


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27th President.  Typed letter signed (TLS) “Wm H. Taft”, August 28, 1917, personal New Haven, Conn. stationery but sent from Poine-a-Pic, Canada, 8×10.5, to Cornelius Bliss Jr. in New York who was serving on the War Council for the American Red Cross, in full:

I enclose herewith a letter from my sister, Mrs. Dr. William A. Edwards, of Los Angeles, California.  She is much interested in the Red Cross, and she thinks that these three means of saving from waste may be availed of for the benefit of the Red Cross.  She says that the matter has been presented to you orally, as you see.  I don’t know whether such instrumentalities come within the field of action of the Red Cross, but I forward her letter and its enclosures for your consideration.  May I ask you to answer her directly as to what conclusion you reach?

Cornelius Bliss was the war-time head of the Red Cross in the United States.

In very good condition, folds, pencil notation on top, mounting remnants on verso.

Cornelius N. Bliss, Jr., whose father was a member of President McKinley’s Cabinet, was a philanthropist who was also active politically. He participated in the successful presidential campaign of Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. In July 1916, he was named treasurer of the Republican National Committee, and also served as president of the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, President Wilson named Bliss as one of the 13 members of his Red Cross War Council. The next year he became its acting chairman. Bliss also served on the National War Finance Committee which successfully raised a great deal of money for the Red Cross. In 1920 Herbert Hoover sought to tap his skills, experience and connections, and asked him to serve on New York City’s fund-raising committee for disaster aid to Europe.

Afterwards Bliss returned to business and philanthropy on a large scale, operating as a trustee, board member, or president of several organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the Depression, he was one of six men named by New York City Mayor Walker to operate a relief fund, two others being J.P. Morgan and former governor Al Smith. During World War II, he was a chairman of the American Red Cross committee on war activities, and was for a time chairman of the Red Cross.