TWO SMITHSONIAN SCIENTIFIC PAPERS ON THE PRESIDENTIAL CRUISE OF 1938, INSCRIBED TO FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT TO HIS LAW PARTNER, POLIO ACTIVIST AND RED CROSS EXECUTIVE BASIL O'CONNOR, WHO ACCOMPANIED ROOSEVELT ON THE CRUISE, LATER BELONGING TO PREEMINENT ROOSEVELT COLLECTOR DONALD S. CARMICHAEL
(ROOSEVELT, Franklin D.) KILLIP, Ellsworth P. "Flowering Plants Collected on the Presidential Cruise of 1938." ISSUED AS: Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Volume 98, Number 8, pp. 1-4. WITH: SCHMITT, Waldo L. and SCHULTZ, Leonard P. "List of the Fishes Taken on the Presidential Cruise of 1938." ISSUED AS: Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Volume 25, Number 8, pp. 1-10. Washington: Smithsonian, 1939-40. Two volumes. Octavo, original printed brown paper wrappers. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box. $4700.
First editions of two Smithsonian scientific papers on the presidential cruise of 1938, inscribed on each wrapper by Roosevelt to his friend, lawyer, polio activist, and Red Cross executive Basil O'Connor: "For Basil from Franklin D. Roosevelt" and "B.C.o'C. from FDR," later belonging to distinguished Roosevelt memorabilia collector Donald S. Carmichael.
The official Smithsonian publications on flowering plants and fish are based on the 1938 Presidential Cruise. "The Presidential Cruise was organized in conjunction with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and took place during the summer of 1938. Traveling aboard the USS Houston from July 14th to August 9th, the cruise departed San Diego, California, in route to the Galapagos Islands, via the Panama Canal. Along the way, it stopped at Old Providence Island in the Caribbean Sea. The expedition was a fishing cruise taken by FDR to the waters off the coast of Central and South America. Roosevelt invited the Smithsonian to send scientific staff along to collect marine and botanical specimens. Dr. Waldo Schmitt of the U.S. National Museum was appointed naturalist of the cruise and was assisted by ship personnel including Russell Wood, James Stringfellow, Michael Reilly, Charles Fredericks, Ross T. McIntire, Stephen Early, Basil O'Connor, Frederick Adams, and Thomas Qualters. During the cruise, the team collected many specimens including plants, mollusks, fish, sponges, and other invertebrates. Several new species were discovered, including a new type of palm tree, Siriella roosevelti, named for the President" (Smithsonian Institution Archives). Of these two items, the List of Fishes is most intimately tied to Roosevelt. A preliminary list of the fishes appeared as an appendix in the privately printed log for the 1938 cruise and was subsequently expanded into this publication. The introduction to Schmitt and Schultz's paper asserts that Roosevelt was actually "the principal contributor of the specimens listed." "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'" (FDR Presidential Library & Museum). The inscribee, Basil "Doc" O'Connor (1892-1972), was a lawyer by training and Roosevelt's former law partner at a New York City firm; in co-operation with FDR he started two foundations for the rehabilitation of polio patients and the research on polio prevention and treatment. From 1944 to 1949 he was Chairman and President of the American Red Cross and from 1945 to 1950 he was Chairman of the League of Red Cross Societies. This copy later belonged to Donald S. Carmichael, a corporate executive who began collecting Roosevelt memorabilia in 1932. He was also the author of Franklin Roosevelt and Me: Brief Encounters in the Thirties. Some of Carmichael's collection currently resides at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum at Marist University, but select items were sold to a prominent bookseller instead.
Tiny red spot to front wrapper of Flowering Plants. Fine condition.