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PRESIDENT WILLIAM H. TAFT - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 02/08/1917 - HFSID 27676

JUST TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE UNITED STATES ENTERED WORLD WAR I, FORMER PRESIDENT TAFT INVITES GUN MANUFACTURER ELI WHITNEY TO A MEETING AT THE HOTEL TAFT "TO HELP THE NATIONS SUFFERING FROM THE WAR"

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Condition: lightly creased
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JUST TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE UNITED STATES ENTERED WORLD WAR I, FORMER PRESIDENT TAFT INVITES GUN MANUFACTURER ELI WHITNEY TO A MEETING AT THE HOTEL TAFT "TO HELP THE NATIONS SUFFERING FROM THE WAR"
 
WILLIAM H. TAFT.
Typed Letter Signed: "Wm H Taft", 1p, 6¾x8½. New Haven, Conn., 1917 February 8. To Eli Whitney, Esq., New Haven, Connecticut. In full: "Can you attend an important conference-luncheon with a group of representative men of New England whom I am inviting to meet me Sunday, February 11th, at 2 o'clock, at the Hotel Taft, to consider a large constructive program arising out of the present war? Mr. John R. Mott, together with Mr. Brockman and Mr. Eddy, who have been engaged in conducting the great work in the prison camps of Europe and with the armies of the countries now at war, will meet with us to consider a large and far-reaching program to help the nations suffering from the war and to devise, if possible, some adequate means through the Y.M.C.A. and in other ways of fulfilling our Christian obligation to the nations which are in such need at this critical time. As the meeting is likely to be one of far-reaching importance, I hope that you will without fail plan to be present at the luncheon and the conference following, and that you can send your acceptance." By the time he wrote this letter, Taft had served as the nation's 27th President (1909-1913) and was a Professor of Law at Yale University. Taft was also President of the League to Enforce Peace which was formed in 1915 at a conference at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It worked for a league of nations, a world court and mandatory international conciliation. When the United States entered World War I two months after Taft wrote this letter, the League adopted a "win-the-war" program. Pacifist groups shunned the League, believing that peace could not be obtained through coercion. However, the League was given credit for influencing President Wilson and others to support the formation of the League of Nations. ELI WHITNEY was the inventor of the cotton gin, a machine made to extract seeds from cotton, patented in 1794. After inventing the cotton gin, he went into the firearms business, using his mechanical skills to design a system for manufacturing identical and interchangeable parts for rifles. He operated a successful firearms factory near New Haven, Connecticut until he retired around 1820. His successful firm passed to his son and then to his grandson, the recipient of this letter, and was eventually sold to the Winchester Arms Company. JOHN R. MOTT, American Methodist layman and evangelist, was secretary of the International Committee of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) from 1888-1915. He was Chairman of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions (1915-1928) and of the International Missionary Council (1921-1942) and President of the World's Alliance of YMCAs (1926-1937). Mott was awarded the 1946 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in international church and missionary movements. Lightly creased, soiled at blank margins, ¼-inch tear at blank right edge (all paper intact). Overall, fine condition.

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