Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2006 Issue

Some Fascinating Looks at History from Stuart Lutz

Wright

Orville and Katharine Wright in France, signed by Orville, Wilbur and Katharine.


A year after his election as president, Richard Nixon sent a note of thanks to Roger Lapham, Jr., son of a mayor of San Francisco. This was likely something of a form letter, but is signed "RN." In it, the President states that "I shall do everything I possibly can...to make these years a time of which America as a nation, and we as Americans, can be truly proud." It didn't work out quite as well as the new President hoped. Item 111. $450.

On then eve of the 1960 presidential election, President Harry Truman sent out an appeal to congressmen on behalf of John F. Kennedy. Item 137 is the signed former president's letter to South Carolina Congressman William Jennings Bryan Dorn. In it, Truman notes that Kennedy "was not my first choice for the presidential nomination." However, he sees the Republicans as backward ("could only be expected to continue an 1896 program and this is 1960"). He asks pointedly, "I wonder if you want another 1929?" He also claims, interestingly, "With Nixon in the White House, there will be a complete breakdown in the domestic and foreign affairs of our Government." Nixon lost, but would be elected eight years later, only to see a breakdown unlike the one Truman probably imagined, but a fulfillment of his prophesy nonetheless. $2,250.

Utah Congressman Abe Murdock was not exactly a progressive on women's rights. In 1942 he penned this letter to Utah State Senator Elise Musser. In speaking out against an equal rights amendment, Congressman Murdock writes, "I have continuously and invariably taken the position with them that, instead of a movement such as they were sponsoring, what this country needed, was a movement in just the opposite direction - a movement which would interest the women of the world in the creation and establishment of ideal homes, in the rearing...of children for life...women like my grandmother." Murdock goes on to predict that if women are allowed to compete equally in business, science, and the professions, traditional America "will be replaced by public nurseries." Item 153. $300.

The website for Stuart Lutz Historic Documents is www.HistoryDocs.com, phone number 973-275-9699.

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