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19 June 2007
ROOSEVELT, Franklin D. letter signed ("Franklin D. Roosevelt"), as President, to David Sarnoff (1891-1971). Washington, D. C., 27 December 1935. 1 page, 4to, White House stationery.
A MASTER OF COMMUNICATION WRITES TO ONE OF THE PIONEERS OF BROADCASTING in this 1935 letter from FDR to RCA chief, David Sarnoff: "The very kind message of Christmas greetings from you and Mrs. Sarnoff pleased us immensely. Very many thanks for it." Sarnoff career is one of the most remarkable in the history of American media. A Russian Jewish immigrant who arrived in the Lower east Side at age ten, his formal schooling stopped at the eighth grade. A runner for various cable and telegraph companies, Sarnoff rose up the ranks of the Marconi company (a predecessor of RCA), where he first won notoriety for telegraphing news of the Titanic disaster to the New York press. Throughout the course of the 1920s, as an ever higher ranking RCA executive, he pushed for the greater exploitation of radio as an entertainment medium. He was instrumental in creating the National Broadcasting Company in 1926, and once he became president of RCA in 1930, threw ample resources into the development of television technology. During World War II, Sarnoff served in Europe with General Eisenhower, constructing radio communication facilities for the Allied armed forces. A fine association of two great innovators of the twentieth century.
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