Washington: Navy Department, 1919. Navy Department Letterhead plus a single blank sheet. 8" x 10 1/2" Fine with a few light surface wrinkles. Letter bears a date received stamp at top right margin and two holes, presumably for filing, along left margin with no loss of text.
A fine 2 paragraph letter in which future President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his role as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, gently denies a request from a founder of the American Legion for a part of the U. S. Marine Band to perform for the benefit of veterans at the New Willard Hotel in Washington just after World War I.
"While this Department is heartily in sympathy with any movement tending to promote the welfare and interests of those who have served in the military and naval service of the United States during the war, I very much regret to have to inform you that it will not be practicable to assign a section of the Marine Band to furnish music on the above-mentioned occasion owing to the fact that under the provisions of recent acts of Congress musicians of the Marine Band are prohibited from furnishing music at other than official engagements."
Colonel Ernest Lester Jones (1876-1929) started the movement that became the American Legion and was head of the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1915 to 1929. Notably, he resolved the border dispute between the United States and Canada relative to Alaska.
This interesting letter is boldly signed in black ink by the young and ambitious Roosevelt just two years before being paralyzed by polio.