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Herbert Hoover

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Hoover’s warm, handwritten letter to his close friend Jeremiah Milbank:

“The pleasure of having you and Kitty as part of that celebration does not permit of an admission fee!”

Herbert Clark Hoover, 1874–1964.  31st President of the United States, 1929–1933.  Scarce autograph letter signed, Herbert Hoover, two pages (front and back), 7¼” x 10½”, on engraved personal stationery, no place, no date [“Friday,” February 1948].

In this warm and engaging letter—a scarce, if not rare, handwritten one—Hoover evidently returns money from unnamed people who passed it through Hoover’s close friend, Jeremiah Milbank.  Writing to “My dear Jerry,” Hoover says, in full:  “I cannot accept the inclosed— This family had somewhat pinched time for a few years but finally the boys brought their affairs around with handsome results—and this excursion of the last two years is the joint celebration of it. / The pleasure of having you and Kitty as part of that celebration does not permit of an admission fee!  /  Nevertheless we do appreciate deeply the feeling which lead [sic] you to propose it.  /  Allen has gone to Guatamala [sic] with some hope which I will tell you about.  /  Sincerely . . . ”

Jeremiah Milbank (1887–1972) and his wife, Katherine Schulze Milbank (1898–1969)—Jerry and Kitty—were very close friends of President and Mrs. Hoovers’.  The couples socialized and traveled together, sharing holidays and fishing on the Milbanks’ yacht, the Saunterer.  In 1940, Hoover wrote the Milbanks that their “loyalty and friendship are my most precious possession.”  The Hoover Library has nine folders of correspondence between the Milbanks and Hoover in its post-presidential files and two more folders of correspondence between Kitty Milbank and Lou Henry Hoover.

Milbank, a philanthropist, was the Republican Party finance chairman during Hoover’s 1928 presidential campaign. He founded a rehabilitation center for disabled World War I veterans, organized the International Committee for the Study of Infantile Paralysis, and served as an original member of the Board of Trustees of the March of Dimes.  He and Hoover later founded the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, for which Milbank served as the national treasurer for some 25 years.

Hoover here also mentions his second son, Allan Henry Hoover (1907–1993), who was a mining engineer and financier.  He bought President Hoover’s birthplace in West Branch, Iowa, and used it to create the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.

Hoover’s holograph letters are the least available of any President.  Hoover once said that he wrote only one handwritten letter a year.  Another time, he estimated that he had not written more than a dozen during his lifetime.  His numbers were off, but nevertheless his handwritten letters are very difficult to find.

This is a beautiful letter in very fine condition.  It is clean and bright.  Hoover has written and signed it in black fountain pen.  The letter has two normal mailing folds, and the date “Feb 1948” appears to be written in another hand beneath Hoover’s “Friday” dateline. 

The letter is accompanied by certificates of authenticity from two different authenticators.  We put no stock in the opinions of third-party authenticators, but this letter—as does all autograph material that we sell—also comes with our own money-back guarantee of authenticity, without time limit, to the original purchaser.


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