PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT - AUTOGRAPH 07/07/1934 - HFSID 283574
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
This unique item is a copy of the guest book from St. Thomas' Government House, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his visit there in 1934. This piece was signed two years before Congress passed the Organic Act, which made residents of the U. S. Virgin Islands American citizens. Accompanied by five photostat pages of St. Thomas' Daily News covering the visit and a letter of authenticity by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
Signature: "1934/July 7/Franklin D Roosevelt/Washington". Unknown signatures on verso. 10¼x13¼. Headed: "Government House/Virgin Islands of United States". Fragile. Lightly toned, stained and creased. Missing bottom right corner. Tears along top, bottom and right edges. Rust stains in top left corner. Rounded left corners. Folded in quarters and unfolded. Separated along folds; separations along horizontal fold and separated. Otherwise in fine condition. Accompanied by: 1) Typed letter signed "Donald R Schewe/(JKL)" as Assistant Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. 1 page, 8x10½, on stationery of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. Oct. 14, 1980. Addressed to Mr. Robert E. Boston, Tulsa, Oklahoma. In full: "Dear Mr. Boston: This is in response to your letter of October 1. The signature of FDR is authentic. We have not been able to establish an association with the President for any of the other individuals whose names appear on the portion of the register which you sent a copy of. Yours sincerely,". Lightly toned and creased. Folded twice and unfolded. Otherwise in fine condition. 2) Unsigned photostat newspaper pages. Green ink notations in unknown hand. 5 pages, 10¾x17 total, 8¾x13¼ images, single-sided pages. Taken from the July 7, 1934 edition of the St. Thomas Daily News, with coverage of Roosevelt's visit to the U. S. Virgin Islands. Lightly toned, stained and creased. Reproduction errors in images, which are blurry in places but legible. Left edge of page 1 is lightly discolored and torn. Folded in half, comes folded. Otherwise in fine condition. Roosevelt visited the U. S. Virgin Islands on July 7 and 8, 1934. During his visit, he toured various projects on St. Thomas and attended a reception at Government House in the town of Charlotte Amalie before leaving to give a speech on St. Croix on July 8. This page was signed when Roosevelt arrived at Government House. Roosevelt was given a blank page all to himself and, in his honor, no one else was allowed to sign it. The Daily News devoted a paragraph to the signing: "Signing his name in the guest book of Government House was a ceremony by itself. In a homely fashion, he said, 'I must sit for this' as he re-tired to the car, took out his glasses, put them on and lighted a cigarette. Then he wrote his name." After Roosevelt's visit, the U. S. began a large program to improve the islands. Swamps were drained, roads and hotels were built, cruise ship tourism was encouraged and education was improved. The islands even played host to 160 Civilian Conservation Corps workers in late 1934. Congress passed the Organic Act of the Virgin Islands in 1936, which organized the U. S. Virgin Islands' government and, more importantly, extended U. S. citizenship to all its residents. Roosevelt (1882-1945, born in Hyde Park, New York) was elected Governor of New York in 1928, succeeding his political patron (and later foe) Alfred E. Smith, whom Roosevelt had nominated as the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1928. Smith lost to Herbert Hoover, whom Roosevelt would himself defeat for the Presidency four years later. Roosevelt, former state legislator, Assistant Navy Secretary and Vice Presidential candidate (1920), served two 2-year terms as New York's Governor before winning the first of an unprecedented four elections to the US Presidency, an office he would hold longer than anyone else (1933-1945).
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