ROOSEVELT, Franklin D. (1882-1945), President. Autograph letter signed ("FDR.") as President, TO SECRETARY OF LABOR FRANCES PERKINS (1882-1965), Washington, 26 Feb, n.y. [c. 1936]. 2 pages, 8vo (8 1/8 x 5 1/8 in.), boldly penned in dark ink on rectos only of two sheets of pale gray stationery, page 1 with "The White House, Washington" imprinted in silver, verso with trace of mounting.
ROOSEVELT'S INSTRUCTIONS TO FRANCES PERKINS FOR THE NATIONAL LABOR BOARD
An extremely rare Roosevelt autograph letter as president, in dark fountain pen ink, recommending several individuals for appointment to the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB was created in May of 1935 as a result of the Wagner Act and acted on behalf of workers by aiding the establishment of strong, independent unions: "[It] proved one of the New Deal's most dramatic, and even radical, legislative initiatives...a generation of unionists would soon declare that the Wagner Act was organized labor's 'Magna Carta'" (Graham & Wander, Franklin D. Roosevelt: His Life and Times, p. 275). Here, writing to the first woman to serve in any American President's cabinet, Roosevelt recommends several individuals: "I suggest after talking with Sen. Wagner & others that we ask Clay Williams & Frank Walsh to act as Vice-Chairmen of Nat. Labor Bd." The President also offers suggestions in regards to NLRB operations: "When a Vice-Chairman sits on a new case it is my thought he should carry it through to final decisions & that Bob & the 2 V.C.'s should consult frequently as to the general policy. Will you talk this over with Bob & then I can make appointments." Roosevelt adds a few additional names to represent industry. o suggests Ernest Draper, Dennison, Walter A. Draper as additional members to represent industry."
Autograph letters of Roosevelt as President are quite rare. In 1989, John Taylor wrote: "Although I have never seen an ALS as president, a few are known to exist, most of them penned for friends" (From the White House Inkwell, p. 185). No example is illustrated in Hamilton's album of American Autographs (1983), and according to auction records, only 5 Roosevelt ALSs as President have been sold in the last 25 years. These include a 31 May 1937 letter to Harold Ickes (sold Smythe, 21 March 1996, lot 134 $25,000) and a one-page example signed with initials (Christie's, 15 December 1995, lot 116, $15,000).