EXCEPTIONAL AND RARE SIGNED/LIMITED FIRST EDITION OF FDR'S 1941 CHRISTMAS BOOK, ONE OF ONLY 75 COPIES NUMBERED AND SIGNED BY ROOSEVELT, ADDITIONALLY INSCRIBED BY HIM TO HIS SON AND DAUGHTER-IN-LAW
ROOSEVELT, Franklin D. Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt President of the United States from July 19, 1940 to January 20, 1941. Washington: The White House, Christmas 1941. Quarto, original half parchment, paper spine label, uncut, original slipcase. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $25,000.
Signed/limited first edition of FDR's 1941 Christmas book, number 53 of only 75 copies hand-numbered by him, additionally inscribed to his son and daughter-in-law: "For Franklin Jr. & Ethel with a Happy Christmas and Love from Franklin D. Roosevelt."
This is one of FDR's Christmas books, which FDR presented to family and friends. This particular book includes many of his speeches from the last six months of 1940 through January 20, 1941. The Christmas books are notoriously difficult for bibliographers due to FDR's decision to print them privately and the very small limitations used for each work (generally 50-100 copies). "These books contain previously published addresses or messages by FDR and were privately printed from large type on Worthy Hand and Arrows paper for him, and at his own expense, by the Government Printing Office… Every copy issued by FDR was numbered and signed by him, and as a rule, he also inscribed each book with an appropriate Christmas greeting to the recipient" (Halter, 193 (Appendix B)). According to Halter, only 75 copies of this Christmas book were published. This copy is inscribed to Roosevelt's son, Franklin Jr., and his daughter-in-law, Ethel du Pont. Franklin Roosevelt, Jr. was FDR's third son. Having come of age at the outbreak of World War II, Franklin Jr. became a decorated naval officer earning the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, and Purple Heart. After the war, Franklin Jr. went on to work in private legal practice, before eventually turning to politics. After a brief stint on Truman's Committee on Civil Rights, Franklin Jr. ran for the House, serving for six years as a member of the Liberal Party. Franklin Jr. lost two gubernatorial races, before finding a home back in DC as Kennedy's Under Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce and Johnson's Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ethel du Pont was a prominent socialite as well as an heiress to the Du Pont Corporation. Franklin Jr. and Ethel had a rocky, decade-long marriage that produced two children. Ethel committed suicide at age 49 after a lengthy mental health struggle. Franklin Jr. went on to marry four more times and died of lung cancer at age 74.
Book extremely good, with a bit of foxing to endpapers and minor discoloration to parchment spine, slipcase expertly repaired. An attractive copy with most desirable provenance.