The Commander in Chief honors a hometown hero1927 President Calvin Coolidge Signed Letter re: Walter Johnson Day with Related Ephemera. Calvin Coolidge was not the biggest baseball fan in the world. In fact, he wasn't even the biggest baseball fan in his family. That distinction was held by First Lady Grace Coolidge, who had been the official scorer for her college baseball team. While her husband was known to skip out early from games after his official duties had been fulfilled, she would remain to watch the conclusion. But 1924 was an election year, and the president's advisors saw an opportunity in the serendipity of the local team, the Washington Senators, hosting a World Series just weeks before the election. Coolidge invited the team to the White House during the pennant race, then made an uncharacteristically stirring speech before a large victory-parade crowd at the ellipse on October 1st, honoring "this great band, these armored knights of the bat and ball." He threw out the first ball to open the World Series, and attended three of the games, staying to the end of the thrilling twelve-inning finale.
On July 26, 1927, from his summer vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota, President Coolidge wrote this letter, on White House letterhead, to the head of the Walter Johnson 20th Anniversary Day, General Anton Stephan, to be read on that day. The President's autograph rates 8/10.:
"My Dear General Stephan:-
It is a pleasure to me as one of Walter Johnson's host of friends to join in the tribute to be paid to him on the occasion of his twentieth anniversary. Others may speak with greater authority of his wonderful record, but I am sure that I speak for all when I say that his has been a fine and wholesome influence for clean living and clean sport and that he will remain one of the outstanding figures in our great national pastime of baseball. Very truly yours,
[signed] Calvin Coolidge."
Included are these related items from the Walter Johnson scrapbooks:
1) Original Type I photo of President Coolidge speaking to the Washington Senators victory celebration at the ellipse on October 1, 1924, flanked by Walter Johnson and Senators manager Bucky Harris. 8x10".
2) Invitation to the White House dated February 3, 1927, from "The President and Mrs. Coolidge" to "Mr. and Mrs. Johnson."
3) Letter on White House stationery dated July 19, 1927, from Rudolph Forster, who handled correspondence at the White House from 1897 to 1943, to General Stephan informing him that his letter to President Coolidge would be forwarded to South Dakota. Forster notes: "I saw the game on August second twenty years ago and hope it may be possible for me to see one this year."
Each piece exhibits evidence of scrapbook removal which has no effect on display. All pieces exhibit general handling wear but present wonderfully with no significant distraction. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication. Letter of provenance from Walter Johnson's daughter & grandson.
*A donation of $100 to the American Red Cross is required to attend the Live auction.
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