‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’ Teddy Roosevelt letter at Heritage Auctions Offered as Part of The James Ring Collection, April 8; featuring significant presidential letters and autographs, including a Teddy Roosevelt letter that contains his first use of the phrase ‘Speak so
News-Antique.com - Apr 04,2011 - NEW YORK – A Theodore Roosevelt typed letter signed as governor of New York on Jan. 26, 1900, containing the first known use of his famous phrase, “speak softly and carry a big stick,” is the highlight of The James Ring Collection of American History, an important collection of American presidential, vice presidential, cabinet and judicial letters and autographs assembled in the modern era, is expected to bring $60,000+ as part of Heritage Auctions’ April 8-9 New York Signature® Historical Manuscripts Auction, held at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (Ukrainian Institute), 2 East 79th Street (at 5th Avenue).
“This original letter, the carbon copy of which is displayed in the Library of Congress' American Treasures, is addressed to Henry L. Sprague of the ‘Union League Club, N.Y. City,’” said Sandra Palomino, Director of Historical Manuscripts at Heritage Auctions, “and contains the first use of Roosevelt’s famous expression. He credits a West African proverb for the phrase and applies it to a recent political tussle in the New York State Assembly.”
For enthusiasts of American history the presentation of The Ring Collection is a significant event, as it presents a wide array of important manuscripts in a single session. While all the lots will be offered on a single day, the collection itself has been years in the making. More than a decade ago Ring and his wife met President Bill Clinton at a small dinner party in Hollywood. During the course of the evening they spent a good amount of time talking to the former president about American political history. In that conversation was the genesis of this collection.
“It was a thought-provoking conversation,” said Ring, “and as a result I became enamored with the topic. Afterwards, I sent a letter to President Clinton thanking him for that conversation. I soon received a letter back from him, which made me consider setting out on a new adventure of collecting letters of our presidents.”
Before long, Ring had put together an assembly of presidential letters. When that was fairly complete, Ring moved on to letters and documents from vice-presidents, which led to Speakers of the House, Supreme Court justices and members of the Cabinet.
“During the first five years of collecting, I was drawn to the idea of compiling archives that had to do with a single topic, or were a complete correspondence,” said Ring. “The best example of this in the collection is the correspondence between Dwight and Edgar Eisenhower.”
That correspondence includes the retained carbons of Edgar's letters to Ike, making for a complete conversation spanning several decades.
“What better way to learn about our nation’s leaders than by reading their stories in their own words?” said Palomino.
Highlights of the collection include:
Dwight D. Eisenhower Archive Containing the typed correspondence – more than 250 complete letters – between Eisenhower and his older brother Edgar and spanning the years 1941 through 1967: Through the correspondence, Dwight Eisenhower can be seen progressing from general to president to retiree, all the while noticing