How Marguerite LeHand Shaped the Franklin D. Roosevelt White House

How Marguerite LeHand Shaped the Franklin D. Roosevelt White House

The New York Times, October 23, 2016

America is poised for the possibility of its first female president. But once upon a time, another woman in the White House wielded nearly as much power as any man aside from the chief executive.

During the New Deal, Eleanor Roosevelt redefined the role of first lady and Frances Perkins broke ground as the first woman in the cabinet. And then there was Marguerite LeHand, whose official position was personal secretary to the president, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

But a new book, Kathryn Smith’s “The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency,” and the private letters and other documents on which it is in part based, reveal that LeHand’s unceremonious title masked the outsize role she played. (Just like Perkins, she was a secretary, as most people understand the job title, in name only.)

LeHand was also Roosevelt’s companion, confidante, adviser and hostess at the White House and at Warm Springs, in Georgia. She counseled him on cabinet and court appointments and was the only staff member who referred to him as “F.D.” She also, at times, had the sole authority to forward a call at night to his bedroom, as she did when her fiancé, Ambassador William C. Bullitt Jr., telephoned from Europe in 1939 to report that Germany had invaded Poland.

“Missy was the Swiss Army knife of the White House,” Ms. Smith writes in her book. “A formidable, multitalented multitasker.”

Just how formidable, Ms. Smith discovered from the private letters.

“The coin of the realm in biography is ‘never before seen primary source material,’” said Ms. Smith, a journalist who has incorporated the trove of newly revealed documents into her book, the first full-fledged biography of LeHand. “The letters, pictures, invitations and newspaper clippings in the papers really enabled me to flesh out her portrait — the way she expressed herself in writing, her love of family, her glamour and desirability in Washington society, the playful relationship she had with everyone in the White House, from F.D.R. down to her co-workers in the West Wing.”

The documents, which are being offered for sale, belong to LeHand’s great-nieces, Barbara Jacques and Jane Scarbrough, who had considered selling the collection for years, but realized their considerable potential value only after Ms. Smith began working on her book. Ms. Smith had been referred to them by the archivist at the Roosevelt Warm Springs rehabilitation institute near the president’s “Little White House” in Georgia.

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

Christie's Magazine #67, September 2016

The bookseller Glenn Horowitz is one of the top brokers of literary archives in the USA, dealing in works by writers from Joyce and Nabokov to Lenny Bruce and Bob Dylan. Michael Watts went to meet him in New York.

‘If you’d said to me a year ago, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could sell Bob Dylan’s archive?” the first thing I’d have said is, “Bob Dylan has an archive! Who knew?”’

Bob Dylan’s Secret Archive

Bob Dylan’s Secret Archive

Douglas R. Gilbert, left; via the Bob Dylan Archive, right.

The New York Times, March 2, 2016

For years, Bob Dylan scholars have whispered about a tiny notebook, seen by only a few, in which the master labored over the lyrics to his classic 1975 album “Blood on the Tracks.” Rolling Stone once called it “the Maltese Falcon of Dylanology” for its promise as an interpretive key.

But that notebook, it turns out, is part of a trinity. Sitting in climate-controlled storage in a museum here are two more “Blood on the Tracks” notebooks — unknown to anyone outside of Mr. Dylan’s closest circle — whose pages of microscopic script reveal even more about how Mr. Dylan wrote some of his most famous songs.

There have long been rumors that Mr. Dylan had stashed away an extensive archive. It is now revealed that he did keep a private trove of his work, dating back to his earliest days as an artist, including lyrics, correspondence, recordings, films and photographs. That archive of 6,000 pieces has recently been acquired by a group of institutions in Oklahoma for an estimated $15 million to $20 million, and is set to become a resource for academic study.

In a preview of the Bob Dylan Archive by The New York Times, it is clear that the archives are deeper and more vast than even most Dylan experts could imagine, promising untold insight into the songwriter’s work.

Sjoerd Hofstra with Karen O’hearn at Rare

Sjoerd Hofstra with Karen O’hearn at Rare

A Study in Averages

Fibonaccisusan: Mathematical Art, January 25, 2016

Glenn Horowitz Bookseller’s gallery Rare is currently showing the work of Sjoerd Hofstra with Karen O’hearn. On display are some of their artist’s books, featuring finely engineered kinetic elements. The subject matter of these books is directly mathematical. “A study in Averages” is a schematic treatise on the relationship between averages and society.

“Elements of Geometry by Euclid” includes pop-ups of the geometric solids. The mathematical texts have been blurred and instructional line drawings have been added.

“6 Empty Bookcases” is more architectural, but each of the bookcases presents interesting geometric 3 dimensional properties as it folds off the page.

What I find refreshing about Hofstra’s and O’hearn’s books is the clear unabashed connection to the mathematics. Whether addressing the societal implications of the use of averages, or creating their own interpretation on the historical Euclidean text, or using sophisticated calculations to build their geometric bookcases, the artists embrace mathematics.

Susan Happersett

The New York Times: The Best Vintage Photos We Discovered This Year

The New York Times: The Best Vintage Photos We Discovered This Year

The New York Times, December 29, 2015

As selected by The New York Times, a slideshow of 2015's most interesting vintages photographs, featuring first Christopher Makos' 1980 photograph of Debbie Harry, which was displayed in RARE's September exhibition, The Downtown Decade: NYC 1985-1985.

Revisiting the Fervor of the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Revisiting the Fervor of the Women’s Suffrage Movement

The New York Times, December 29, 2015

The placards read like Twitter posts from the past. In large type, printed in bold against a plain backdrop, they deliver messages from women’s suffrage activists to politicians in the 1912 election: “The men of twelve States and Alaska have given women their ballot. Will you not be as fair as those men?”

There are 22 posters in all, and they will soon be on view together for the first time as part of the exhibition “Women Take the Lead: From Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Eleanor Roosevelt, Suffrage to Human Rights,” opening on Jan. 14 at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College on the Upper East Side.

Along with the posters are other documents from the decades-long women’s suffrage moment, like the prison records of the British activist Emmeline Pankhurst (played by Meryl Streep in the recent film “Suffragette”) and an early copy of Ms. Stanton’s “Declaration of Sentiments” at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention on women’s rights.

The New Yorker: Mississippi History Book Signing

The New Yorker: Mississippi History Book Signing
The New Yorker: Mississippi History Book Signing

The New Yorker, "Above and Beyond," December 9, 2015

Maude Schuyler Clay has been photographing friends and family in her native Mississippi Delta for four decades. Her first cousin William Eggleston was a pioneering color photographer in the nineteen-seventies. (Their grandfather, Joseph Albert May, passed the passion down when the two were in their teens.) These deep roots anchor Clay’s photography, which is full of symbolism and transparent affection for her subjects, who are embedded in their environments but never inundated by them. The work was relatively unknown, until Eggleston shared it with Gerhard Steidl, who immediately signed on to publish a collection. Clay’s portraits, shot throughout the eighties and nineties, are gathered in “Mississippi History,” along with a forward by the novelist Richard Ford; both will attend this signing. (20 W. 55th St. 212-691-9100. Dec. 9 at 6.)

The New Yorker: Mississippi History, by Richard Ford

The New Yorker: Mississippi History, by Richard Ford
The New Yorker: Mississippi History, by Richard Ford

The New Yorker, November 29, 2015

"Maude Schuyler Clay has pronounced the history represented in “Mississippi History” to be her personal one of more than three decades spent taking photographs in Mississippi, and of Mississippians. This, as distinct from history as a photographic chronicle of the place—its times, troubles, befuddlements, and occasional glories. ...Place, for Clay, if not always in the foreground, is inextricable from her personal history, rationalizing and underlying what interests her, while never relegating her photographs to the merely local in scope and consequence."

Paper Magazine, THE 10 MUST-SEE ART SHOWS OPENING THIS WEEK: Ongoing (and worth a look)

Paper Magazine, THE 10 MUST-SEE ART SHOWS OPENING THIS WEEK: Ongoing (and worth a look)

Paper Magazine, September 21, 2015

Under "ONGOING (and worth a look)":

"The Downtown Decade: NYC 1975 - 1985" at Glenn Horowitz Rare (17 West 54th Street) until October 10. (You should have saved those Danceteria invites and Club 57 flyers.)

http://www.papermag.com/2015/09/art_openings_new_york_september.php

The Downtown Decade: NYC 1975-1985

The Downtown Decade: NYC 1975-1985
The Downtown Decade: NYC 1975-1985

Photograph of exhibition opening reception, September 15th. Photo: Matthew Langley

Matthew Langley Artblog, September 17, 2015

Curator Lauren Miller has put together an interesting show of art, photographs and club ephemera from 1975 through 1985 – what is now looked back as “The Downtown Decade”. I’m sure you know that downtown of the seventies/eighties was far from the upscale shopping paradise it has now become. New York was broke and downtown had no police presence to really speak of. This translated into low rents and left the residents free to create and to amuse themselves as they wished.

This “poverty” (both real and municipal) led to an artist creative class that stretched across multiple practices and brought oblique influences into new ideas that would end up creating new art forms. A few years later – the “Reagan Eighties” would start and the money would pour into downtown. Helping put an end to a decade of unprecedented creativity in lower Manhattan.

10 Things to Do in New York’s Art World Before September 18

10 Things to Do in New York’s Art World Before September 18

by Paul Laster, New York Observer, September 14, 2015

Opening: “The Downtown Decade: NYC 1975-1985” at Rare / Glenn Horowitz Bookseller

An overview of New York’s creative scene between 1975 and 1985, this exhibition features art, music, literature and ephemera by some of the movers and shakers that made life in the city more fun back in the day. From geometric abstractions on paper by Philip Taaffe and black-and-white photographs of downtown celebs by Jimmy DeSana, Christopher Makos and Marcia Resnick, this show—which comes with its own period soundtrack playing in the gallery—has something for everyone. Snap up vintage copies of the bohemian newspaper East Village Eye and first edition books by William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, signed by the authors.

Rare / Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, 17 West 54 Street, New York, 6-8 p.m.

For press inquiries, please contact us.