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ROOSEVELT, ELLIOTT - A letter mentioning a portrait of his mother, the former first lady
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ROOSEVELT, ELLIOTT - A letter mentioning a portrait of his mother, the former first lady

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ROOSEVELT, ELLIOTT. (1910-1990). Controversial second son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. TLS. (“Elliott Roosevelt”). 1p. 4to. New York City, February 21, 1947. To Alfred Pach of Pach Brothers photography studio.


May I thank you for writing to me your letters of October 11 and February 11, extending a complimentary sitting to me. The pressure of other business has not permitted me to accept, but I shall keep your card available and when the opportunity presents itself, I shall be glad to call you. I have spoken to my mother regarding her proofs and know she was very pleased with them… 


Interested in aviation, Roosevelt served as general manager of Gilpin Airlines and was the aviation editor for the Hearst newspapers. Despite involvement in the Air Mail Scandal, in which the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations were investigated for their distribution of air mail contracts, Roosevelt briefly held the vice presidency of the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce. In 1940, he was commissioned in the United States Army Air Corps amidst accusations of nepotism. Leading up to the U.S. entry into World War II, he helped establish air bases abroad before training as a bombardier and carrying out clandestine reconnaissance flights over French West Africa. He spent several years commanding reconnaissance units before being promoted to the rank of brigadier general.


In 1943, he was involved in another scandal for recommending an experimental Hughes aircraft for reconnaissance use, the Hughes D-2, after having been extravagantly entertained by Hughes and his associates. During the year of our letter, a Senate subcommittee called upon both Hughes and Roosevelt to testify on financial irregularities surrounding the government-funded Hughes XF-11 prototype. His post-war life included business ventures in Cuba and Colorado, residency in Portugal, Washington, California, Arizona, and Miami Beach, where he served one term as mayor. His graphic expose, The Roosevelts of Hyde Park: An Untold Story, published in 1973, alienated him from much of his family.


Elliott was the acknowledged favorite son of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) and, oddly, authored a series of mysteries in which his mother was the main character. At the time of our letter, the former first lady was acting as delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, where she served with distinction from 1945-1951, and again under President Kennedy. As chairwoman of the UN Commission on Human Rights she helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, accepted by the General Assembly in 1948 and still regarded as the authoritative doctrine on the subject.


Pach Brothers, founded in 1867, was, until its close in 1993, the nation’s oldest photography studio. Folded with several staple holes in the upper left corner. In very good condition.



Item #10634


Eleanor Roosevelt portrait by Pach Bros


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