SCARCE FISHING VOLUME FROM THE LIBRARY OF FDR, SIGNED BY HIM
(ROOSEVELT, Franklin D.) DE WORDE, Wynkyn. The Treatyse of Fysshynge wyth an Angle. London: Elliot Stock, 1880. Quarto, original 15th-century-style blind-stamped vellum sympathetically rebacked. Housed in a custom cloth chemise and half morocco slipcase. $8800.
Outstanding association copy of this facsimile of the first book in English on fishing, from the personal library of President Franklin D. Roosevelt—an avid bibliophile and fisherman—signed by him "Franklin D. Roosevelt, The White House—1935."
This is Roosevelt's personal copy of a facsimile edition of the work often considered the first book in English on fishing. On April 6, 1935, just after Congress approved the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935—authorizing nearly five billion dollars for work relief and "useful projects" under the WPA—G.G. Gage, a diehard Democrat from Piedmont, California, wrote Eleanor: "The President is at the present time fishing, so [I] thought of [sending] this… facsimile reproduction of the first book written on the subject of fishing… in appreciation of what you and the President are trying to do for 'We Americans.'" A Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle reached the White House on the 18th, ten days after the Caribbean-vacationing President had received and signed into law the single largest peacetime appropriation in the nation's history. Gage's lengthy letter to Mrs. Roosevelt has been tipped to the front free endpaper.
"Roosevelt was an avid, lifelong fisherman. After his mobility became limited when he contracted polio in 1921, FDR spent a great deal of his leisure time either sailing or fishing. Dr. Ross McIntire, Roosevelt's personal physician when he was President, advised Roosevelt to go on as many vacations as possible to improve his health. McIntire later recounted, 'Despite our bargain about regular vacations, I doubt, however, if he would have kept the agreement except for his love of the water and fishing'" (Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum).
Roosevelt was also an ardent bibliophile. He was a member of such book collectors' organizations as the Club of Odd Volumes and the Grolier Club. At his death, his personal library numbered more than 21,000 volumes. Roosevelt willed a small portion of his personal book collection to his children who sold their bequest; the vast majority of FDR's personal library and papers remain intact in the FDR library. Books from the personal libraries of presidents are scarce and desirable and volumes from the libraries of 20th century presidents' personal libraries are extremely scarce as all such volumes are typically given to their presidential libraries. This book probably left Hyde Park in 1951 when Elliott Roosevelt negotiated the sale of some family books to the Rosenbach Company. The deal was struck between Elliott and John Fleming, then the head of Rosenbach's New York office. This copy next surfaced at auction in a 1991 sale of books from Fleming's estate, suggesting that Fleming took the book home in 1951.
A fine copy, with an outstanding presidential association.