PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED AND TWICE SIGNED BY FDR—ONE OF ONLY 50 COPIES PUBLISHED OF A REVOLUTIONARY WAR-ERA MANUSCRIPT THAT ROOSEVELT OWNED AND ARRANGED FOR PUBLICATION
(ROOSEVELT, Franklin D.). Minutes of the Committee and of the First Commission for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies in the State of New York. WITH: Minutes of the Committee and of the First Commission… WITH: CARMICHAEL, Donald S. A "Thriller" of Years Ago. Hyde Park: Privately Printed, 1925 [et al.]. Together, four volumes. Octavo, original half cloth and boards, original plain paper dust jacket; original green cloth; original staple-bound wrappers. Housed together in custom cloth chemises and slipcase. $14,500.
First separate publication of the very rare FDR-sponsored printing of a Revolutionary War-era manuscript that was in Roosevelt's possession, copy number 16 of only 50 copies printed, dated, numbered and signed by Roosevelt on the colophon. Presentation copy additionally inscribed by FDR in the year of publication on the front free endpaper: "Victor H. Paltsits Esq. from his friend Franklin D. Roosevelt 1925." Offered together with first editions of both the Historical Society publication and Donald Carmichael's pamphlet regarding the history of the manuscript, which prints considerable unpublished FDR correspondence about this project.
On May 25, 1923, Franklin Roosevelt (by proxy) outbid collectors and librarians for a 148-page manuscript of the minutes of 17 meetings held in Poughkeepsie by the New York Council of Appointment between 1778 and 1779. The $85.00 acquisition—a price he considered "ridiculously low"—generated a lively correspondence with Alexander J. Wall, librarian of the New York Historical Society, whom Roosevelt had bested at the Philadelphia auction by $9.00. To Roosevelt's delight, the Society agreed to include his manuscript of the Poughkeepsie minutes in their publication for 1925. Soon after, at Roosevelt's request, the Society ran off a separate printing of 50 copies, at a cost of $78.00.
In 1925, Roosevelt distributed only 15 of the 50 copies, putting the balance into storage. In 1943, his cousin Margaret L. Suckley unearthed the remaining 35. In preparation for sending some of them out, Roosevelt charged Suckley with checking the records at the Library at Hyde Park to ascertain who had been given copies at publication. No list came to light, but the names of people who received copies in 1943 suggests that most of the original recipients must have been involved with the book's production or the Historical Society; the second pool of recipients included his children, Judge Rosenman, Missy LeHand and various libraries throughout New York State. In all, Roosevelt sent out 16 of the 35 "Suckley" copies; the rest remain in the Library at Hyde Park. That said, copies of the Minutes rarely surface for sale, and this is the only copy that Donald Carmichael, author of the accompanying pamphlet regarding the acquisition and publication of the manuscript, and President of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Collectors' Association, had encountered.
The two pamphlets focus on Roosevelt's acquisition of the manuscript. The first pamphlet is the complete issue of "The Franklin D. Roosevelt Collector" for May 1950 (Volume II, Number 2), which includes Donald S. Carmichael's article "A 'Thriller' of Years Ago." (Carmichael was the President of The Franklin D. Roosevelt Collectors' Association.) The second pamphlet is an offprint of that same article with a new title page, one of only 25 copies produced for the author in June 1950 "to distribute to certain FDR regulars." Laid into the inscribed volume is a typed letter by recipient Victor Paltsits explaining the nature of the set: "The Manuscript volume was bought at auction at Henkels of Phila., in May 1923, by Hon. Franklin D. Roosevelt, of Hyde Park, N.Y." Tipped to the rear endpapers are a swatch of brown wrapping paper addressed (in a secretarial hand) to Paltsits at the New York Public Library, where he headed up the Manuscripts Division, and a carbon of Paltsits' letter of gratitude to FDR: "I congratulate you on giving some of your time to the preservation of these mute but welcome witnesses of our historic heritage, and wish you increasing good health and well-doing." Bookplates of Donald S. Carmichael, President of the Franklin Roosevelt Collectors' Association, author of the article included in this set, "A 'Thriller' of Years Ago."
Spine of fragile original plain paper dust jacket mostly perished. Books and pamphlets fine. An exceptionally rare and desirable Roosevelt presentation copy.