New York: Harper & Brothers, 1953. First edition. Hardcover. This is a presentation copy of the first edition, inscribed by Eleanor Roosevelt to Emerson J. Griffith, Director of Oregon's Works Projects Administration (WPA) during the presidency of the author’s husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Eleanor’s inscription, inked in three lines in black on the half title, reads “To Mr. & Mrs. E. J. Griffith | with warm regards & thanks | Eleanor Roosevelt”. Affixed to the facing front free endpaper recto is the illustrated bookplate of “EMERSON J. GRIFFITH” prominently displaying Timberline Lodge with Mt. Hood in the background.
Condition is very good in a good plus dust jacket. The binding of quarter black cloth over brick red cloth-covered boards is square, tight, and clean with only trivial shelf wear to the corners and spine ends. The contents are clean with no spotting. “FIRST EDITION” is helpfully printed on the title page verso. Mild age-toning appears substantially confined to the otherwise clean page edges. The dust jacket has a neatly price-clipped upper front flap, wear to the joints and flap folds, a small stain to the lower rear joint, and a toned spine. The dust jacket is protected beneath a clear, removable, archival cover.
As Oregon’s WPA Director, the recipient, Emerson Griffith (1884-1965) conceived and spearheaded construction of the famous Timberline Lodge, located at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet on the south side of Mount Hood. More than just a praiseworthy structure, the 40,000 square foot Timberline Lodge is a National Historic Landmark that today attracts more than 2 million visitors per year. At the time, the Lodge proved a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to harness a remarkable convocation of artists and craftsmen who desperately needed the work during the Great Depression. The result was an “explosion of creativity… much the same as what made Europe’s soaring Gothic cathedrals such masterpieces.” Griffith, in a telegram, said of the work “These men indeed feel they are putting their skill into a cathedral. Come up from the depths of despair they work with a spiritual exaltation that sometimes amazes me.” On 28 September 1937, President Roosevelt was present to dedicate Timberline Lodge, a ceremony carried live on radio. Timberline Hotel remains an enduring monument to the best impulses and outcomes of Roosevelt’s WPA. The iconic silhouette of Timberline Lodge is widely recognized, and served as the exterior of the hotel in the movie The Shining (1980).
Called “First Lady of the World” by President Truman for her humanitarian work, Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was the first US Representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, a prolific writer (including dozens of books, hundreds of articles and editorials, and a daily newspaper column from 1936-1962), and the longest-serving first lady of the United States.
India and the Awakening East is Eleanor Roosevelt’s account of her 1952 journey through the Middle East and Far East, including Lebanon, Pakistan, Syria, Trans-Jordan, Israel, and India.
Newly independent, India was trying to establish a functional democracy and had just held its first general elections between October 1951 and February 1952. Fractiously engaged with Pakistan and a notional geopolitical counterweight to communist China, India was of increasing importance to the West. The political landscape and considerations do not sound appreciably different nearly three quarters of a century later. Likewise enduring is the first-person perspective of someone as astute, engaged, seasoned, and engaging as ER, particular as a witness to India’s nascence.
While the trip was unofficial, such was Eleanor’s stature and temperament that she could never be an unaffecting observer. President Truman’s Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, wrote President Truman to say of ER’s tour that it "served the public interest exceedingly well," and that "she appears to have done much to increase understanding of United States foreign policy objectives" Item #007175