"BETTY AND I LOVE THE MAGNIFICENT BOOK—LAST OF THE CALIFORNIOS… BETTY JOINS ME IN WISHING YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR"
FORD, Gerald R. Autograph letter signed. Rancho Mirage, California: December 18, . WITH: Engraved free frank envelope addressed in typescript. WITH: CROSBY, Harry, COPLEY, Helen. Last of the Californios. (La Jolla, California: Copley Books, 1981). Original letterhead leaf (6-1/2 by 8-1/2 inches), manuscript on the recto; original letterhead envelope (4-1/2 by 6-1/2 inches), typescript; tall quarto, original gilt-stamped red cloth, cartographic endpapers, original slipcase. $1500.
Scarce December 1981 autograph letter signed by President Ford on his personal letterhead with embossed gilt presidential seal, entirely penned by Ford, thanking publisher Helen Copley, head of San Diego's Union Tribune Publishing Company and CEO of Copley Press, for her holiday gift of the signed limited first edition of Last of the Californios, with letter reading, "Betty and I love the magnificent book—Last of the Californios. We look forward to reading it more carefully. We are most grateful for your thoughtfulness at Christmastime. Betty joins me in wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Jerry Ford," along with letterhead envelope bearing engraved free frank, addressed in typescript to Copley.
Penned and signed by President Ford on his personal letterhead, containing his gilt-embossed presidential seal, his letter reads: "Dec. 18th. Dear Helen: Betty and I love the magnificent book—Last of the Californios. We look forward to reading it more carefully. We are most grateful for your thoughtfulness at Christmastime. Betty joins me in wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Jerry Ford." On leaving the presidency, President and Mrs. Ford moved to California, where President Ford died on December 25, 2006. The recipient, Helen Copley, was publisher of Pulitzer Prize-winning San Diego Union-Tribune from 1971 to 2001. Also well-regarded philanthropist, Copley "gave millions to the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. She also underwrote the construction of a library at the University of San Diego" (New York Times). In the printed dedication to this signed limited first edition of Last of the Californios (number 415 of an unspecified limitation), Copley notes it is Copley Books' third book on Baja California, "the 'mother' of the California in which so many millions of us live today… With these books we have striven to enrich the knowledge and renew the relationship and understanding between the peoples of the two Californias." Accompanying envelope containing Ford's engraved free frank with printed letterhead address of "Rancho Mirage, California 92270" addressed in typescript: "Mrs. Helen Copely [sic], Chairman of he Board, Copley Newspapers, P.O. Box 1530, La Jolla, California." Signed limited "Special Edition" of Last of the Californios, number 415 of an unspecified limitation signed by Copley and author/illustrator Harry W. Crosby, with over 60 illustrations and maps, many full page.
Book, autograph letter signed and free frank envelope in fine condition.