President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s handsome personally-owned and -used wooden box, kept on his bedside table and dresser at the White House. Beautiful wood inlaid box measures 9.5 x 7 x 3.5, with the President’s initials, “FDR,” handsomely inlaid in ebony on the cover. The box’s lock has been disabled and has no key, but easily opens and closes. Accompanied by a detailed 1990 letter of provenance on White House letterhead from the wife of White House valet and steward Irineo Esperancilla. Letter reads, in part: “The lovely wood inlay box…was kept in the White House by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on his bedside table…In this box President Roosevelt kept his most personal correspondence. It was so personal that when the President passed away…my husband promptly picked up the locked box…and brought it home…The contents of FDR’s most personal correspondence was burned by my husband in our own kitchen sink—He did this act out of loyalty and respect for the President.” Also included is a second letter of provenance from Esperancilla’s wife on a White House card, a copy of a letter to Esperancilla from Naval Aide to the President Edward Leach, written on the occasion of Esperancilla’s retirement, thanking him for his loyal service to four presidents, as well as a photocopy of Esperancilla’s obituary. In very fine condition, with expected light wear, that does not detract from its aesthetic appeal. President Roosevelt once told his valets they were his ‘lifeline and keeper of his secrets,’ which was certainly the case with the disposition of the contents of this box. One could only wonder what secrets this box might have held at the time of Roosevelt’s death, with the truth known by only two men, the president and his loyal valet. A particularly stunning and impressive FDR relic of the most personal order, deserving of a place in a distinguished collection. The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.