SUPREME COURT. Group photograph signed by nine Justices, Washington, D. C., 1941. Black and white photograph, 6¾ x 10½ inches, matted and framed, signed by each of the Justices along the lower margin of the matt. WITH: A series of autograph endorsements signed with initials ("H. L. B.," twice; "F. F.," twice; "R. H. J.," and "F. M.") by four of the Justices (Black, Frankfurter, Jackson, and Murphy), all contained on a single sheet of loose leaf paper. 1page, 4to, ruled paper, laid down.
"THIS IS THE WORST PICTURE I HAVE SEEN..."
FDR'S WARTIME COURT sit for this photograph in the fall of 1941, and then complain about their appearance. Chief Justice HARLAN FISKE STONE sits front row center, flanked on his left by Justices FELIX FRANKFURTER and HUGO BLACK, and on his right by STANLEY REED and OWEN J. ROBERTS. Standing at rear are Justices JAMES F. BYRNES, WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS, FRANK MURPHY AND ROBERT H. JACKSON. The Justices joke with each other in the attached written colloquy about the quality of the photo. "This is the worst picture I have seen in the whole lot," a vain Hugo Black complains. "I am not signing but will do so if the remaining do. It seems to me however that it might be a good idea to require selection of better photographs before we sign." Frankfurter says: "I concur with regretful enthusiasm." Justice Murphy also concurs: "Inasmuch as others are available I agree." Robert Jackson chides them with: "Maybe we are not as good looking as we think. Perhaps it is the best the camera could do. Anyway I sign-- without recourse." Frankfurter replies: "Shows how judicial you are! 'Maybe'--for my 1/9 part I'm sure so!!" Black admits defeat addressing Frankfurter and Murphy: "Since six have signed I suppose we should acquiesce." No wonder they keep their deliberations secret. A charming, behind-the-scene glimpse of the Justices.