ROOSEVELT, Theodore. Typed letter signed ("T.R.") as President, to Colonel Curtis Guild Jr. (1860-1915), Washington, 27 September 1901. 1 page, small 4to (8 15/16 x 7 1/8 in.), Executive Mansion mourning stationery, evidence of mounting on verso of integral blank, otherwise in fine condition.
ONE OF ROOSEVELT'S FIRST LETTERS AS PRESIDENT, WRITTEN ONLY THIRTEEN DAYS AFTER THE DEATH OF MCKINLEY
On September 6, 1901, President McKinley was shot by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Temple of Music in Buffalo's Pan-American Exposition. Vice President Roosevelt, who was attending an event on Lake Champlain, was notified and he immediately rushed to the President's side. Eight days later, McKinley died. Theodore Roosevelt was administered the oath of office on September 14, shortly after McKinley had been pronounced dead, making him the youngest President in American history.
To McKinley's Cabinet, Roosevelt pledged to carry out the President's policies: "The administration of the government will not falter in spite of this terrible blow...it shall be my aim to continue, absolutely, unbroken, the policy of President McKinley for the peace, the prosperity, and the honor of our beloved country" (Miller, Theodore Roosevelt: A Life, p. 352). Many lamented Roosevelt's ascension however, fearing that he would utilize the power of the White House to push through an agenda of political reform. On the new President's first day in the White House, September 23rd, he was faced with a multitude of tasks, but he pursued them with great vigor, observing: "Here is the task, and I have got to do it to the best of my ability; and that is all there is about it" (Miller, p. 354).
Here, only four days after beginning his official tasks, Roosevelt informs the future Governor of Massachusetts that he cannot commit to anything yet: "I am in receipt of your letter of the 25th instant in reference to visiting the Republican Club of Massachusetts. Do not ask me to make any promise now." The new President admits that he anticipates many engagements in the upcoming months: "I shall have to go over the whole ground throughout the country before venturing to make a single engagement."
According to ABPC, only one earlier Presidential letter by Roosevelt has been offered at auction in the last 25 years.