** FDR WRITES TO ALFRED E. SMITH – UNBELIEVABLE ASSOCIATION **
32nd President. Typed letter signed (TLS) “Franklin D. Roosevelt”, November 23, 1922, “Emmet, Marvin & Roosevelt” law offices stationery, sent from “Hyde Park, Dutchess County”, in full:
Please let me endorse most cordially the application of Mrs. Ella O’Gorman Stanton for the position of Deputy Commissioner of Correction of Health, or as a member of the Parole Board. Mrs. Stanton, as you know, has long been of fine service to the Party, but quite aside from this I consider her splendidly qualified for one of these positions, as she is a tireless worker, has lots of fine common sense and would, I am certain, make good on the job!
Do not bother to acknowledge this.
In 1922, Roosevelt was in an uncertain state in his career. He was stricken with polio only a year earlier and after serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson and running for vice-president on the 1920 Democratic ticket (with James M. Cox), it now seemed extremely doubtful that Roosevelt would be able to re-enter political life at a high level.
It wasn’t long, however, before Roosevelt was again a major figure in public life. “In 1924 he made a dramatic appearance at the Democratic convention to nominate Alfred E. Smith, governor of New York, for president, and he repeated his nomination of Smith at the 1928 convention. Smith, in turn, urged Roosevelt to run for governor of New York in 1928. Roosevelt was at first reluctant but eventually agreed. As he traveled by automobile around the state, Roosevelt demonstrated that his illness had not destroyed the youthful resilience and vitality that had led people such as [Louis McHenry] Howe to predict great political success. He also showed that he had matured into a more serious person, one now with a keen appreciation for life’s hardships” (Britannica).
Roosevelt would, of course, become the governor of New York, succeeding the very man he is writing this letter to, and that would help propel him to the U.S. presidency in 1932.
The first such letter between these two political giants we have ever seen – unbelievable association given Smith’s importance in launching FDR’s bid for Governor of NY which propelled him to the White House and given Smith’s own efforts at becoming President.
Provenance: Sotheby’s Auction House – November 6, 2001.
In fine condition, folds.