Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2006 Issue

Important Signed Documents and Autographs from The Raab Collection

Roose

Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Christmas 1941.


It has been forgotten by most people, but Herbert Hoover was a great humanitarian during and after the First World War. Before America's entrance into that war, Hoover led a program to bring relief to the civilians of Belgium, recently overrun by Germany. Once America entered the war, Hoover was appointed by President Wilson to run a massive program to conserve and distribute food in the U.S. and abroad. It was this outstanding effort by Hoover that made him a revered figure, and ultimately led to his nomination and election as president. Sadly, Hoover is remembered for the disaster of his presidency, the Great Depression, whose seeds were sown long before he entered office, and his anemic response to this tragedy, which left many believing this humanitarian was uncaring. Item 35 is a 1918 letter from Hoover to the Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization, asking their help in his wartime effort to distribute food to those in need. $1,200.

Item 31 is a most interesting letter from President Theodore Roosevelt to mystery writer Melville Post. Post had written a story where one of the elements concerned whether Confederate currency was counterfeit, since at the time it was printed, it was intended to be real money. Roosevelt wrote that he had faced a similar situation as president. Two men had been convicted of passing counterfeit money for using Confederate currency. One appealed, the other did not. The man who appealed was successful in his argument before the Supreme Court and was released; the other was left to languish in prison. Attorney General Philander Knox petitioned Roosevelt to release the second man, since the Supreme Court had ruled the act he committed was not a crime. According to Roosevelt, they argued over the point. As Roosevelt says, "he [Knox] standing for the law and I for rude and primitive justice." The President goes on to say, "My position was that he was undoubtedly a scoundrel and a swindler and morally a criminal, I certainly would not let him out of prison; and that as for saying that I could not keep him in, why, he was in, and that was all there was about it. I think Knox had the best of the argument as regards the law, but I had the final say-so as to the facts and the man stayed for nearly a year longer. I was sorry I could not punish both scoundrels but at least I was able to punish one." Raab notes that this is not only interesting for the view it gives of Roosevelt and his sense that justice should prevail over legal technicalities, but also for his willingness to tolerate cabinet officers who differed with and even argued against his positions. T.R. was secure in his beliefs. $3,700.

We close with two more Roosevelts. Item 38 is a photograph, dated Christmas 1941, of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, signed by both. They were a couple of more Roosevelts equally secure in their beliefs. $5,000.

The Raab Collection may be found online at www.raabcollection.com, phone number 800-977-8333.

Rare Book Monthly

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