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PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 05/03/1939 - HFSID 280142

He signs a typed 1939 letter on White House stationery to defend the Santee-Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project in South Carolina, blaming opposition to it on "rich absentee landlords ... aided and abetted by the anti-Administration Democrats."

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FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
He signs a typed 1939 letter on White House stationery to defend the Santee-Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project in South Carolina, blaming opposition to it on "rich absentee landlords ... aided and abetted by the anti-Administration Democrats."
Typed letter signed "Franklin D Roosevelt". 2 pages, 6¾x8¾, single-sided pages, on White House stationery. May 3, 1939. Addressed to Miss Gertrude Ely, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. In full: "Dear Gertrude:- Thank you for your note. That Charleston paper, 'The News and Courier,' represents everything that is reactionary in the South. It is the old row between the landed gentry and the field laborers, white and colored - only in this case the landed gentry are not South Carolinians but are Northerners who have bought up the old places and use them for winter sojourns. A few of them, like Nick Roosevelt of Philadelphia, do a good job by raising cattle, etc., but most of them are distinctly rich absentee landlords. Most of the opposition to Santee-Cooper comes from them, aided and abetted by the anti-Administration Democrats. As a matter of fact, it is perfectly reasonable to admit that the success of the Santee-Cooper project cannot be guaranteed. But the fact remains that it will develop power, it will prevent floods, and will, first and last, give a tremendous lot of work. The complaint that it will kill all the ducks from Florida to Maine is silly. As an old-line professional ornithologist, I vouch for this! The thing is not political any more than building a schoolhouse or a bridge or a Boulder Dam or a Grand Coulee is political-and the fact remains that the opposition comes 100% from every non-liberal element in the State of South Carolina. It was approved four years ago - it is under way - it could not be stopped even if I wanted to - and I don't. As ever yours". The Santee-Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project included the construction of dams and flood control along the Santee and Cooper Rivers in South Carolina. It also included the largest land clearing project in United States history, with more than 12,500 workers clearing 177,000 acres of swampland and timberland, mostly for malaria control. The 27-month, $48.2 million project, which included the construction of hydroelectric dams, supplied electrical power for much of rural South Carolina. Private power companies were one of the main opponents to Santee-Cooper; South Carolina passed enabling legislation for the project in 1934, but lawsuits delayed the start of the project until 1939 and went all the way to the Supreme Court. 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). Lightly toned, soiled and creased. Expert restoration to both pages, which had previously been torn into several pieces (tear touching first two letters of signature).

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