A rare signed photograph of FDR standing
More Franklin D. Roosevelt Items
More American History Autographs
More U.S. Presidents Autographs
More Military Autographs
Click image to enlarge
ROOSEVELT, FRANKLIN D. (1882-1945). Thirty-second president of the United States. SP. (“Franklin D. Roosevelt”). 1p. Oblong folio. (Port Everglades, Florida, March 30, 1941). A rare black-and-white photograph showing FDR standing on the dock in front of the presidential yacht, the U.S.S. Potomac, with five U.S. officials all of whom have signed vertically beneath their images.
Depicted from left to right are:
FDR’s chief aide Harry Hopkins (1890-1946, “Harry Hopkins”), who helped draft the New Deal as well as the Lend-Lease plan;
Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954, “Robert H. Jackson”), attorney general from January 18, 1940 to August 25, 1941, when FDR appointed him to the Supreme Court;
Major General Edwin “Pa” Watson (1883-1945, “Edwin Watson”), FDR’s friend and advisor whose arm the president is holding. Watson served as Roosevelt’s appointments secretary (similar to the modern-day chief of staff position). Watson’s home, Kenwood, was built on land once owned by Thomas Jefferson and designed by Roosevelt’s cousin, architect William A. Delano. FDR was a frequent guest at Kenwood, where he had his own cottage;
Harold Ickes (1874-1952, “Harold Ickes”), secretary of interior 1933-1946; the second longest tenure of any presidential cabinet appointee. Ickes was responsible for implementing much of the New Deal;
Presidential physician Rear Admiral Ross McIntyre (1889-1960, “Ross McIntyre”), who met Roosevelt while he was assistant secretary of the navy and became the White House physician in 1932.
The U.S.S. Potomac, FDR’s “Floating White House” from 1936 until his death nine years later, was cleverly outfitted with a fake funnel that concealed an elevator for Roosevelt’s wheelchair. On March 19, 1941, he and his advisors embarked on an inspection cruise that lasted until the end of the month and included a visit to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. Our photograph shows the Potomac docked in Port Everglades, Florida, a large seaport that served as a naval base from 1941 to 1943. The crucial Lend-Lease plan, allowing the U.S. to supply Allied nations without entering the war, had been enacted eight days prior to Roosevelt’s departure for the inspection cruise.
On August 3, 1941, FDR boarded the Potomac for an announced pleasure cruise. However, the ship secretly rendezvoused with the U.S. warship Augusta, and took the president to New Foundland for a meeting with Winston Churchill. Together, they drafted the Atlantic Charter, which set post-war goals, later agreed to by all the Allies. Until the president’s return to the Potomac on August 14, a secret service agent approximating Roosevelt’s build was visible aboard the vessel and daily press releases described the president’s activities to maintain the ruse that FDR was aboard enjoying a well-deserved vacation.
During a 1921 vacation at Maine’s Campobello Island, at the age of 39, Roosevelt contracted polio, threatening his future public career. Despite paralysis from the waist down, Roosevelt refused to succumb to the disease and its physical limitations. In his continuing search for a cure, FDR visited a spa at Warm Springs, Georgia in 1924. While there Roosevelt swam daily in the therapeutic waters, a regimen that developed his upper body and offered him increased mobility. Roosevelt tried hard to downplay his disability. He was most frequently photographed seated, often behind a desk or in an automobile. On the rare occasion when he was photographed standing, he is shown supported by his cane and another person, as he is in our photo.
Our photograph is published in That Man: An Insider’s Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, by Robert H. Jackson. Signatures are slightly faded. Framed.
Roosevelt and company aboard the U.S.S. Potomac during the same 1941 cruise