Important Autographs and Manuscripts from The Raab Collection
The use of ghostwriters by presidents is a common practice, but few were quite as forthright about it as William Howard Taft. During the campaign of 1908, the editor of "The Independent" asked Taft to write an article for his magazine. He had seen Taft articles in other publications. In his typewritten letter, Taft explains that he is too busy now, but in a handwritten note, Taft bluntly states, "Some of these articles you have seen were written for me. I am afraid I can't write anything." Item 70. $700.
Eleanor Roosevelt wrote a remarkable letter concerning the military to journalist Ada Leverty in 1957. Mrs. Roosevelt is well known for her humanitarian ideals, but probably few would think of her as a prophetic military planner. However, here we find her addressing military strategy at the dawn of the atomic age (today we would say "WMD") with ideas that would be adopted decades later. First, in this era of the draft, she says "the draft is obsolete." Her point is that young men (it was men in her day) are trained for a military role, but just as they become fully skilled, their time is up and they move on. To her it makes more sense that this level of training be provided to those who plan on sticking around awhile. Says Mrs. Roosevelt, "Atomic warfare is quite different and requires a small and highly-trained mobile army." Did Donald Rumsfeld steal her lines? However, to assure that sufficient forces would be available where necessary, she proposes that every young person undergo 3-6 months military training plus summer two-week sessions for ten years, much like the National Guard. "This would mean tremendous military potential," she explains, while not seriously interfering with their lives. Item 86. $900.
Richard Nixon did not endorse a candidate for his party's nomination in 1980 (his endorsement probably would have hurt more than helped), but here is an interesting letter to former Texas Governor John Connally, who was running for the Republican presidential nomination at the time. In it, he passes along a message he received from Iowa Senator Jack Nystrom, who says he is leaning to Connally, but had not yet heard from his committee. Evidently the former President chose to try to help Connolly's campaign at this moment by pointing out the overlooked opportunity to gain additional support. Unfortunately for Connolly, his campaign was not well run, and Ronald Reagan was able to secure the nomination. Item 93. $1,000.
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