ROOSEVELT, Franklin Delano. POLK, James K.

The Diary of James K. Polk during his Presidency 1845-1849.

Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., 1910 Stock Code: 146692
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A president's diary from a president's library

First edition, FDR's copy, his ownership inscription to the front free endpaper of the first volume; "Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Hyde Park", this beneath the presentation inscription from his favourite uncle Frederic Adrian Delano Roosevelt: "Frederic A. Delano acquired at Chicago in 1910 - Taken to Algonac in 1918 - given to The President July 27 / 41". Frederic - his Algonac bookplate to the front pastedown facing the inscriptions - was an opinionated, Harvard-educated, ex-railroad "strike-breaker" and manager turned public servant. Franklin formed a close friendship with his uncle as a boy, and later as President appointed him as chairman of the National Resources Planning Board, a position he held for ten years.

A superb association copy, even more so given the book's subject matter - the diary of the 11th President, James Knox Polk, was the first Presidential diary to be published, and contains extensive details of Polk's stewardship of the nation in the Mexican-American War. In his first annual message to Congress, James Polk reiterated the Monroe Doctrine against European interference on the North American continent. During the dispute with Mexico following the annexation of Texas, he took decisive action, advancing US forces into discordant territory. When Mexican troops struck back, the Jacksonian Democrat used that incident as justification for asking Congress to declare war, over the opposition of his Whig opponents. In the summer of 1941, a few months before Pearl Harbour, when Roosevelt received his book, the nation was similarly divided over committing to war, and Roosevelt was surely looking to his predecessors to guidance. The book was also likely of personal interest; Franklin was very close to Frank Polk, a relation of James K. Polk - Frank was undersecretary of State when Roosevelt was assistant secretary of the Navy, and the Polks and the Roosevelts socialized often.

From the collection of distinguished Roosevelt collector Donald Scott Carmichael, with his bookplate to inner chemises.

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4 volumes, octavo. Original quarter cloth with blue paper-covered sides, printed paper spine labels. Housed in grey chemises within black quarter morocco slipcase.


Pencilled annotations in the preface, in an uncertain hand. Box splitting along one joint. Spines uniformly darkened, peripheral rubbing; an excellent set.


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