Sep 29, 2022 - Sale 2615

Sale 2615 - Lot 224

Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 9,000
(PRESIDENTS.) Wedding book of Earl Miller (Eleanor Roosevelt's bodyguard and alleged lover), signed by the Roosevelts as guests. [20] printed pages in gilt, red, green, and black. 8vo, 7 x 5 1/4 inches, original gilt cloth, minimal wear; completed in manuscript for the bride and groom, including 5 pages with the signatures of 47 guests. In custom cloth slipcase with bookplate of the Roosevelt Collection of Donald Scott Carmichael. Hyde Park, NY, 8 September 1932

Additional Details

Earl R. Miller (1897-1973) was a New York State Trooper who served as Eleanor Roosevelt's bodyguard from 1928 to 1932, while she was the First Lady of New York. The two were undeniably close friends; we will probably never know whether the persistent rumors of a romantic relationship were accurate. Eleanor's shadow loomed over all three of Miller's failed marriages. He initially married to quiet the rumors: "That's why I got married in 1932 with plenty of publicity. I got married with someone I wasn't in love with. Same with the second marriage. But I was never successful in killing the gossip." During the divorce proceedings for his third marriage in 1947, his wife threatened to share incriminating correspondence between Earl and Eleanor.

Offered here is the wedding book kept as a memento of Earl's first wedding, to Ruth T. Bellinger, shortly before Franklin Roosevelt was first elected to the presidency. The witnesses were Eleanor's daughter Anna Roosevelt Dall and her son Elliott Roosevelt. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were the first to sign the guest book, before the families of the bride and groom. Other noteworthy guests included Franklin's mother Sara Delano Roosevelt; Franklin's sister-in-law Elizabeth Riley Roosevelt; Franklin's longtime personal secretaries Grace Tully and Marguerite "Missy" LeHand (who had her own rumors to contend with); Franklin's close associate Samuel Rosenman, who coined the term "New Deal"; John Boettiger, a reporter who would soon wed the Roosevelts' daughter Anna; Franklin's bodyguard Gus Gennerich; Eleanor's private secretary Malvina Scheider; The Roosevelts' younger sons Franklin Jr. and John; Eleanor's close friends Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook; and Roosevelt biographer Ernest Lindley.