CHURCHILL, Winston S. and Franklin D. ROOSEVELT. Printed broadside of Longfellow's verse "Sail on, O Ship of State!...," given by Roosevelt to Churchill at the Atlantic Conference, August 1941. 8 3/4 x 6½ in., lithographic broadside in gray, black and orange inks. Showing a galleon under full sail at top with large capital "S," containing the verse: "Sail on, O ship of state, Sail on, O Union, strong and great! Humanity with all its fears, With all the hopes of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate!." A note adds that "The Longfellow verse in Mr. Roosevelt's message to Mr. Churchill." SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT ("Franklin D Roosevelt") AND THE PRIME MINISTER ("Winston S. Churchill") at top and bottom edges respectively of the broadside.
[With:] ROOSEVELT, Franklin D. Typed letter signed ("Pa") as President to his son John Roosevelt, Washington, D.C., 28 August 1941. 1 page, 77/8 x 5 in., on White House stationery. The President presents the above broadside to his son: "Here is a memento of my meeting with Churchill. These cards are being circulated all over England. I got Winston to sign in one corner and I signed in the other...." Together two items, both neatly mounted and enclosed in a black and gilt frame.
ONE OF TWO COPIES OF THIS SPECIALLY-PRINTED BROADSIDE, GIVEN BY CHURCHILL TO ROOSEVELT, SIGNED BY BOTH
A remarkable memento of the secret Atlantic Conference, held August 9-12, 1941 on a warship anchored in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, at which Roosevelt, Churchill and their military aides agreed upon critical policies for the conduct of a joint war against Germany, even though the U.S. was still neutral. These meetings resulted in the Atlantic Charter, a declaration of principles issued a few days after the conference took place. Often compared to Wilson's Fourteen Points, the Charter laid the foundation for the United Nations Declaration, signed by 26 nations in January 1942.
Roosevelt copied the stanza of Longfellow, from memory, for Churchill on 19 January 1941, the day before his Third Inauguration, and forwarded it with a personal letter addressed to "a certain Naval person." In his letter, Roosevelt explained his conviction that "this verse applies to you people as well as to us" (see FDR: His Personal Letters, 1928-1945, ed. Elliott Roosevelt, 2:1109). "Roosevelt never made a more graceful or effective gesture than that" (R. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p.234). The letter and the verse were hand-carried by Wendell Wilkie to London. Churchill in turn, had this decorative broadside printed, and when he arrived in Newfoundland for the conference with the President brought two copies to be signed "one for himself and one for the President" (Warren F. Kimball, Forged In War: Roosevelt, Churchill and the Second World War, p.98).
This is one of the two broadsides brought by Churchill to his historic meeting with Roosevelt.