WILHELMINA, QUEEN OF THE NETHERLANDS

“The very interesting book on Roosevelt at Hyde Park”

$600

Item #18723


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WILHELMINA, QUEEN OF THE NETHERLANDS


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WILHELMINA, QUEEN OF THE NETHERLANDS - “The very interesting book on Roosevelt at Hyde Park”
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WILHELMINA, QUEEN OF THE NETHERLANDS - “The very interesting book on Roosevelt at Hyde Park”

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WILHELMINA, QUEEN OF THE NETHERLANDS. (1880-1962). Queen of the Netherlands and the longest-reigning Dutch monarch in history. TLS. (“Wilhelmina, Princess of the Netherlands”). 1p. Small 4to. The Hague, July 15, 1949. To ALICE DOWS (1881-1963), a wealthy Hudson Valley resident and Roosevelt family friend.

 

“I want to convey to you my sincerest thanks for your kind letter and for the sending of the very interesting book on Roosevelt at Hyde Park. The beautiful book, your son has just written and all the sketches remind me vividly the delightful days spent at your late Presidents home, where I also had the pleasure of meeting you…”

 

Wilhelmina ascended the throne upon her father’s death in 1890, but reigned under her mother’s regency until reaching her formal majority, on August 31, 1898. Exactly fifty years later, she abdicated in favor of her only child, Princess Juliana. Her long reign encompassed both world wars and the decline of Dutch colonialism.

 

In 1939, as the German army advanced on the Netherlands, President Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945), a descendant of Dutch settlers, sent a personal letter offering sanctuary to the country’s monarch, Queen Wilhelmina. After Holland’s capitulation in 1940, Wilhelmina lived in exile in England, and became a symbol of resistance who spoke words of encouragement to her subjects through late night radio broadcasts. Wilhelmina’s daughter Juliana spent her exile in the United States and Canada during which time she and her family became close personal friends of the Rooseveltfamily, frequently visiting their Hyde Park estate. In fact, Franklin served as godfather to Juliana’s third daughter, Princess Margriet. From June to August 1942, Wilhelmina visited the United States, during which time she celebrated the Dutch heritage of America’s early settlers and became the first queen to address the United States Congress. She and her retinue arrived for their off-the-record visit to Hyde Park from June 19 to the 22, enjoying private theatricals, musical performances and walks on the grounds in the company of Roosevelt family members and family friends including Vincent Astor and, apparently, Alice Dows.

 

Dows was the wife of wealthy New York City grain merchant, Tracy Dows, and a descendent of founding father and Hudson Valley settler Robert R. Livingston. Her son, Olin Dows (1904-1981), was a muralist of some renown who FDR selected to establish the Treasury Department’s art program in 1933. In 1939, the Federal Works Agency chose him to paint the murals at the Dutchess County town of Rhinebeck’s post office and, in 1941, on Roosevelt’s recommendation, the FWA selected him to execute murals for the Hyde Park post office. In 1949, Dows published Franklin Roosevelt at Hyde Park, likely the book mentioned in our letter, which included 174 drawings one of which, depicting Hyde Park as it would have looked in Roosevelt’s youth, served as the model for a mosaic installed at the visitor’s center of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park. Dows is portrayed as Joel Pierce in Thomas Wolfe’s 1935 novel Of Time and the River. Theartists’ papers are in the FDR Presidential Library at Hyde Park.

 

The recipient of our letter was also the mistress of House Speaker Nicholas Longworth III, who had married Alice Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt’s eldest daughter. Upon Longworth’s death in 1931, the two Alices accompanied his body to Ohio where he was buried. A volume of poetry that Dows published in 1927 was likely inspired by their love affair, (“Theodore Roosevelt,” The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal, Vidal).

 

Written on deckle-edged paper, folded and slightly creased. We could find no auction records of other letters signed by Wilhelmina during this period. Rare and in fine condition.

 

 

Item #18723

$600


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