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1898 Theodore Roosevelt Signed Letter Regarding the "Colored" Troops
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $822.50
One-page typed letter, dated October 27, 1898, signed by Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th President of the United States. In his letter, penned on official New York Republican State Committee letterhead, Roosevelt writes to a local constituent concerning the "colored" troops. He writes in full: "My Dear Mrs. Cclark [sic]: Don't tell Owens this, but the orderly I alluded to was another man. I am very much obliged to you. I have spoken a great deal about the colored troops. Faithfully yours, T. Roosevelt [signed]." Roosevelt's signature has been penned in black fountain pen and grades "8/9." It is interesting to note that Roosevelt has made his own personal grammatical correction to the letter by providing a handwritten comma after the word "this" in the first sentence. The letter was composed shortly before Roosevelt was elected Governor of New York and he was probably on the campaign trail at the time, as the handwritten notation along the top of the letter reads "On Board Spec. Train." Roosevelt was riding a wave of popularity in 1898 due to his exploits with the famed "Rough Riders" in the Spanish-American War. During that campaign, Roosevelt rode alongside "colored" troops and it is very significant that he makes mention of them in this letter. He was always an ardent supporter of the rights of all men. In addition to formally making Equal Rights one of his campaign platforms, in a speech Roosevelt gave in 1903 at the Lincoln Memorial he stated "...it was my own good fortune at Santiago to serve beside colored troops. A man who is good enough to shed blood for the country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards." This was risky politically at the time but Roosevelt felt strongly about Equal Rights and was uncompromising in his support. Roosevelt was also both celebrated and vilified for inviting Booker T. Washington to dine with him at the White House in 1904. In fact, the very same political buttons picturing Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington sitting at the same table at this famous dinner were used by both sides during presidential campaign of 1904. Depending on the wearer's politics, the same button was considered by different people as pro or anti Roosevelt. The letter (8.5 x 9.5 inches) has one horizontal and two vertical fold lines, and is in Excellent condition overall. Included is the original mailing envelope (6.25 x 3.5 inches, Vg-Ex), which is addressed (in Roosevelt's hand) to "Mrs. Emma W. Clarke" and postmarked "Utica, Oct. 28 1898." The letter has been matted and framed together with a black-and-white photographic print (6/75 x 9.5 inches) of Roosevelt to total dimensions of 24 x 17.5 inches. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400/$800. SOLD FOR $822.50
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