A Rare Book From the Library of Franklin D. Roosevelt, With His Description of Condition

“A rather scarce little book, in fine condition with the map,” acquired while he was governor of New York

Books from the personal libraries of Presidents are not common, and this one shows FDR as collector

After several years out of politics following his defeat for vice president in 1920 and his bout with polio, Roosevelt believed he had recovered sufficiently to resume his political career. He had been careful to...

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A Rare Book From the Library of Franklin D. Roosevelt, With His Description of Condition

“A rather scarce little book, in fine condition with the map,” acquired while he was governor of New York

Books from the personal libraries of Presidents are not common, and this one shows FDR as collector

After several years out of politics following his defeat for vice president in 1920 and his bout with polio, Roosevelt believed he had recovered sufficiently to resume his political career. He had been careful to maintain his contacts in the Democratic Party. In 1928, FDR supported Al Smith for president, even walking (if with braces and leaning on his son’s strong arm) to the podium to deliver the speech nominating Smith, to help dispel rumors about his illness. After Smith became the Democratic candidate, he urged FDR to run for governor of New York. He did, and in January 1929 he was sworn in as New York governor. As governor of New York, FDR was in a prime position to run for the White House, which he did successfully in 1932.

As the FDR Library notes, “Franklin Roosevelt was a great collector. From an early age he gathered large collections of stamps, ship models, rare books, prints, coins, and drawings. By the time of his election as President, he had amassed one of the nation’s finest collections of naval art and impressive collections of Hudson River Valley art and historical prints. During the New Deal years, he collected hundreds of examples of art and crafts work produced by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and other government agencies. FDR placed most of his personal collections in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, which he created in 1941. These materials became the core of a Museum collection.”

A book from the Library of Gubernatorial Library Franklin D. Roosevelt, acquired while he was governor, Colyer, William H. “Sketches of the North River”, with folding map (New York City to Stillwater Falls), New York: 1838. First edition, 119 pages, in its original binding. It has the ownership signature and inscription, “Franklin D. Roosevelt, Executive Mansion, 1930. A rather scarce little book, in fine condition with the map.” This is our first time offering a book from FDR’s personal library in many years.

FDR was correct. This is not a common book, the most recent copy we can find having sold in 1977.

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