Title Franklin D. Roosevelt
Number 50766
Size 7" X 9"
Date August 24, 1939
Place The White House, Washington
Category Presidential
Price $3,500.00
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One week before the outbreak of World War II in Europe, FDR regrets he must cancel plans for a getaway with a dear friend because the "international situation" made it impossible [to go to Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia]..."What a grand crew you had with you. I wish I could have joined up."
Typed Letter Signed, "Franklin D. Roosevelt", as President, August 24, 1939, Washington, D.C., one page, 7" x 9", on White House stationery, to Mr. Duncan G. Harris, New York City. The usual horizontal fold, else very fine. FDR writes, "It was good to get your note at Halifax last Monday and I sincerely hope you have not had as much fog as we had. I planned to go into Mahone Bay but the fog delay and the international situation made it impossible. I am delighted to see those 'Popular Mechanics' stories, and I am much interested in Gilbert Hadden's expedition. I do hope he succeeds. What a grand crew you had with you. I wish I could have joined up."/ As ever yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." FDR is writing about his last getaway before the beginning of World War II on September 1, 1939, mentioning the fact that the "international situation" made it impossible for the President to continue his vacation into Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.

FDR and Harris' relationship went back many years to an expedition FDR undertook in 1909, when he became interested in the treasure and tales of Oak Island, Nova Scotia. Tales of the "Money Pit" had spread all over Canada, including Campobello Island, the summer home of FDR. His group raised $5000 and Roosevelt, Duncan G. Harris, Frederick Childs, and Albert Gallatin sailed from New York on August 18, 1909. Their expedition included diving suits (which proved impractical) and test drillings at one hundred and fifty feet found the same cement-like material. Samples of it submitted to Columbia University were reported to be man-made. FDR's work on the island was brief but his interest continued for many years. In August, 1939, while he was visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia, he privately devised a plan to anchor his battleship off Mahone Bay and see the work then being conducted by Erwin T. Hamilton but, as mentioned in the letter, the impending war in Europe prevented him from following through on his plans.

Interestingly, Duncan G. Harris was also one of the defendants when the Justice Department filed the antitrust suit against the United States film industry on July 20, 1938, in FDR's second term as President. A terrific and historic personal letter relating to the outbreak of World War II in the days immediately preceding the initiation of the world conflict.
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