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Wilson's Secretary of the Interior congratulates participants in a dramatization of the Continental Congress attended by Cabinet members and the French Ambassador.
Typed Letter signed: "Frank K. Lane" as Secretary of the Interior, 1 page, 7x9. Washington, D.C., 1916 July 1. On official letterhead "To the participants in the McBrien Dramatization of the Continental Congress", in full: "Ladies and Gentlemen: I wish to express my appreciation of your performance of last night. It was so artistic as to elicit the highest praise from all the members of the Cabinet and their wives who were there, and the French Ambassador asked me to convey to you his sincere congratulations upon the high order of talent shown by the performers, their spirit and the sympathetic interpretation given to them by the characters they represented. Such praise is worth having, and gives reward for many days and weeks of study and rehearsal. This Department has already taken a place of its own because of its part in the social life of the National Capital and now adds to its credit a distinctive position for its patriotic spirit. As President of the Home Club I wish also to extend my thanks. I do not know as yet what the net receipts were, but whatever they may prove to be, the value of the performance lies not in the money receipts but in the proof that we are a force for the making of a better city and country. Sincerely yours". Franklin Knight Lane (1864-1921), born on Prince Edward Island, was a newspaper owner in San Francisco when, running as a Democrat, he narrowly lost races for California Governor (1902) and Mayor (1903), in what ways then a heavily Republican state. He served eight years on the Interstate Commerce Commission (1905-1913), investigating abuses by the express companies and successfully recommending to Congress that the US Post Office establish a parcel post. He served in President Wilson's Cabinet as Secretary of the Interior (1913-1920), presiding over creation of the National Park System. It was said of Lane that if he had been born a US citizen, he would have been a serious contender for the Presidency. Apparently, Department of Interior employees had organized a dramatization of the Continental Congress to commemorate the upcoming140th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The French Ambassador mentioned in this letter was Jean-Jules Jusserand who served in Washington from 1902-1925. Normal mailing folds. Lightly toned. Small, pin-sized hole at top edge. Edges lightly worn. Otherwise, fine condition.

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Born: July 15, 1864 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Died: May 18, 1921 in Rochester, Minnesota

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