Maisone Blanche: c. March 1943. Only known copy. Brown leatherette binding, with an internal, plastic comb binding. This work appears to be unique, and is in unrecorded in Worldcat. It is a presentation copy for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, printed by her son Elliott Roosevelt while on active service, with a contribution by FDR. It is accompanied by Elliott Roosevelt's own special diplomatic passport, valid from March 6, 1942 to September 6, 1942, which included most of the period covered by this work as a reconnaissance pilot. This archive of Elliot Rooselvelt's life is a unique documentation of both the service, the privilege, and the talent of President Franklin Roosevelt's son.
Few others would have had the resources and rank to create such a book, apparently in an edition of a single copy, documenting his unit's activity, while on active service in Algiers. The title page reads, top to bottom: "To Mother from Elliott // Third Photographic Group // Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Elliott Roosevelt." The next page features a heliogravure photograph of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with printed dedication in FDR's hand, thanking the men of the Third Photographic Group. "To the Officers + Men of the 3rd Photographic Group USA / from Franklin D Roosevelt / Casablanca Jan 20 1943" The Casablanca Conference was held at the Anfa Hotel in Casablanca, French Morocco, from January 14 to 24, 1943, to plan the Allied European strategy for the next phase of World War II. Elliot attended the conference with his father as his military attaché and likely had it signed there. He subsequently attended the Cairo and Tehran conferences as well later that same year. This book was likely published in February or March as that aligns with the conference, Elliot's promotion to LTC and his subsequent reassignment after this one.
The book goes on to follow the unit from England to North Africa, featuring scenes of the Casbah, the flight line, daily duties, in 18 more leaves, printed recto only, with brief captioning text and approximately 100 photographs printed in heliogravure in sepia. The binding is in very good condition, and the plastic combs are remarkably intact. The text is browned, and the title page has traces of damp stain, with some marginal chipping and wear. There is plain brown paper jacket, originality uncertain. The work was printed by Heliogravure Algerienne in Algiers, Algeria, in 1943 for Lt. Col. Roosevelt.
The 3rd Photographic Group was constituted on June 9, 1942 and was briefly in Britain and flew no missions from there. The mission of the Third Photographic Group was to provided photographic intelligence that assisted the campaigns for Tunisia, Pantelleria, Sardinia, and Sicily. They reconnoitered airdromes, roads, and harbors both before and after the Allied landings at Salerno, Anzio and north through Italy recording enemy depots and gun positions. They received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 28 Aug 1944 when the group provided photographic intelligence that assisted the rapid advance of Allied ground forces.
Elliott Roosevelt (1910 - 1990), third of five children of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, was said to be his mother's favorite child. He was equally dear to her as well, though a book he published later in life was unflattering in revealing the personal side of his parents life. Elliot was an innovator in the art of wartime aerial reconnaissance, and served with both distinction and controversy, rising to the rank of Brigadier General in 1945. Elliott Roosevelt's wartime special passport was valid only for "The continent of Africa including the Union of South Africa and Egypt and the British Isles - Official Business. Necessary Countries en route", and was signed and thumb-printed by the Chief of the Passport Division himself. It bears a number of visas from Britain as well the embassies of Trinidad, South Africa, Brasil, Egypt, and Portugal, some likely as misdirection's during the attempt to keep Operation Torch secret.
After the war Elliot led an eclectic life of notoriety. He was a rancher, business man, one term Mayor of Miami, published author of more than 20 books, most of which were crime novels with his mother Eleanor is the crime solving sleuth. His character was questioned over government contracts and again involving organized crime. He was married 5 times, but without doubt his commitment to Patty Peabody Whitehead was enduring. Provenance for the medals available upon request.
- Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). Often this is referred to as the Order of the British Empire (OBE), the CBE in fact is the higher frank. The medal features the seated Britannia, making it the first type medal. Some chipping to enamel on front, no ribbon present.
- The French Croix de Guerre (1939 – 1945), with 3 Bronze palms (palme en bronze), with ribbon.
- Order of Ouissam Alaouite, Kingdom of Morocco, Knight’s ribbon (complete with ribbon). This striking medal was awarded by the King of Morocco in recognition of Roosevelt’s service in North Africa. Se the Memoirs of Gen. George S. Patton for some background to this award and mention of Elliot Roosevelt.
- Distinguished Service Medal (U. S. Army), with ribbon
- Legion of Merit, (United States), with ribbon. The ribbon on both the full-sized and miniature medals are present in an unusual state, with the outer color being gold, not white). This medal was established by his father, FDR, as President.
- Air Medal with ribbon and 7 silver oak leaf clusters (of the 11 he was entitled to), U. S. Army Air Corps. 2 clusters appear on the bar with miniature medal.
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with ribbon and 6 stars (3 on the miniature bar). This medal was established by his father, FDR, as President.
- American Campaign Medal with ribbon, World War II Victory Medal with ribbon and clasp (note: the clasp is stated not to have been issued; but present here)
- Sterling silver US Army Air Corps Pilot’s badge (aka “Wings”)
- Sterling silver US Army Air Corps Navigator’s badge
Dress Uniform Miniatures on Bar:
- French Croix de Guerre
- Legion of Honour
- Legion of Merit
- US Army Air Corps Medal
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
- American Defense Service Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- WWII Victory Medal
Also present, though no record of Elliot having been awarded these medals and they are not on the bar:
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Purple Heart
This archive of items comes with impeccable provenance. It also includes a trove of historical photographs of Elliot Roosevelt, and his extended family. Some photos have notation on the rear, Included herein:
- Thirteen (13) 8" x 10" B&W Photographs, with unique content from Hubert Humphrey to Miss Universe
- Eighteen (18) Photos of size less than 7" x 8.5", with several having content dating to 1921
- Two (2) Envelopes of about 30 negatives, dated June / July 1958. Seemingly of the Elliot Roosevelt family on vacation
- Six (6) Kodachrome Slides
- Eight (8) Kodachrome Stereovision slides
- Forty-eight (48) B&W, 3.5" x 3.5" family photos
- One (1) three-ring binder of thirty-two (32) color, 5" x 3.5", photographs of the Roosevelt Family Reunion, June 20-25, 1979, at the Roosevelt Campobello International Park. Includes photos of the Roosevelt siblings, especially the four brothers, their spouses and children.
- Two (2) three-ring binders, 132 pp. of Newspaper clippings and original photos, predominately from the Publication of Patty Roosevelt's book, "I Love A Roosevelt". An extremely controversial publication which exposed the behind the scenes of the Roosevelt family. Item #2418