FREDERICK S. DUESENBERG - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 02/05/1916 - HFSID 285984
Sale Price $4,462.50
FREDERICK SAMUEL DUESENBERG
Frederick Samuel Duesenberg wrote this letter on Duesenberg Motor Company letterhead in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1916. In it, he talks about his family and the engines he was building, including one for Barney Oldfield, the first man to drive a mile a minute in 1903.
ALS: "F. S. D & family" in pencil, 2p, 8¼x10¾, front and verso. St. Paul, Minnesota, 1916 February 5. On letterhead of Duesenberg Motor Company to "Dear George Mrs B. & Mary", the Bird family of San Diego, California. In full, with original spelling and grammar: "Your most welcome letter rec'd several weeks ago and it found me in bed but was about over my pneumonia got out of bed three weeks ago and was out for two weeks & then had a touch of rhuematism & went back to bed for a week & this is my first day up. I havent been out of doors since the middle of Dec. We were sure pleased to get your letter I have spoken of you people so often that Mrs D feels she knows you quite well. We did think of coming out west this winter and should have done so but for the fact that we are so busy getting out motors for various purposes. We are building one for Barney Oldfield at Los Angeles. We are building some motors for the Navy Sea planes for the U.S. & have just received a deposit from Toronto for some 300 H.P. Aeroplane Motors for large weight carrying planes. We expect about $600,000 worth of this firm during 1916. The first one of these is coming thru now. We have had to turn away more that $2,000,000 of motor business as we were too small a concern to take it on but we are incorporating & expect to have ample funds & capacity to take on a lot of extra business. I have been somewhat worried you said you were going out to the ranch soon & the floods you had there must have been fierce was afraid you might be in the path of some and come to grief I hope however that such is not the case. When we come west you may rest assured that we will be more than please to except of your kind & generous offer to house us as long as we care to stay you might tire of this job as we ar stickers. I was sorry that you folks have been down with the grip. everybody here has had it and had it hard. Mrs D. has been my nurse thru my last spell & she is a dandy but has been kept very busy as she did not have a girl this winter and Denny our boy is now 23 mon. old &is a regular cuss to look after as he is the most active kid I ever saw, is into every thing and never gets tired raising the roof but he is good natured and always happy never has had a sick day his hobby just now is to show us how easy the can turn a summer sault. He talks a good bit the last few months but it was rather slow starting. This is Monday the sixth and I am feeling stronger than last Saturday was to have a couple teeth pulled but the doctor is out of town till Thursday so we will wait till then. This is a great place to live but it does get too cold for comfort it has been from 5 to 20 below for 2 weeks steady and one day it was 36 below. We have lots of snow here this winter. I am glad to know Mary gets along so well with her work. it sure come in handy to know a thing or too along that line. Mrs D. is a first Class Steno - and has been of great help to me during my sick spells as I can write letters when the spirit move me and keep the important mail cleaned up. But it has made it harder for Mrs D. as she has been rather busy with writing letters. We havent any pictures just now except a snap shot of Denny which isnt very good will enclose one if I can find one. Hope this finds you all well & happy & write again soon". Handwritten postscript: "The Motor on letterhead was built by us & is used in Disturler IV the worlds fastest motor boat speed 62 miles per hr. on lake Michigan boat owned by Jas A. Pugh." At the upper margin of the first page, Duesenberg has written: "Home address 74 Melbourne Ave. Minneapolis". FREDERICK DUESENBERG and his brother, August, had founded the Duesenberg Company after first building cars for Mason Motors in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1914, Duesenberg cars driven by Eddie Rickenbacker and Willie Haupt finished tenth and thirteenth in the Indianapolis 500. Frederick, the engineering specialist of the two brothers, had patented the Duesenberg motor in 1913, and the two brothers were successful racing activities technical innovations through the 1920s. BARNEY OLDFIELD, mentioned in this letter, was the first race car driver to travel a mile a minute (1903). Lightly creased. Folds, vertical fold just touches the "&" in signature. ½-inch separations at blank right margins at mid-horizontal fold. Minor pencil smudges. Overall, fine condition.
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