The FDC is addressed to "The Honorable Franklin D. Roosevelt, The White House, Washington, D. C. " To the left is a printed commemorative 24 cent stamp, "sponsored by the Dayton Philatelic Society," and to its right, Wright has signed in full, "Orville Wright." The FDC is also signed by aviation pioneer and pilot, Ruth Nichols, (1901-1960) the only woman to hold simultaneous world records for speed, altitude and distance by a female pilot. The FDC is encased in a plastic wrapper and placed atop a printed black and white photograph of the Wright Brothers historic first flight from Kitty Hawk. Below this image is a typed note indicating provenance from Roosevelt's stamp collection. "From the stamp collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, authenticated by H. R. Harmer, Inc. New York." The note is separately matted under the photograph. All pieces together In original mat and silver and brown wooden frame measuring 19" x 19" square.
Roosevelt began collecting stamps when he was eight years old, introduced to the hobby by his mother, herself a stamp collector. Her philatelic collection was passed down to FDR who claimed that stamp collecting saved his life. When he died and his stamp collection went to auction, there were some 1.2 million stamps in the collection. The collection sold at H.R. Harmer, Inc. in two sales on Feb. 4-5 and Apr. 1-2, 1946. Roosevelt had a hand in what stamps were issued during his tenure in office. In a Smithsonian magazine on line article on the 2009 exhibition of FDR’s stamp collection, Jordan Seffen writes, "During his administration, Roosevelt played a critical role in much of the creation, design and promotion of some 200 stamps released during his time in office (1933-1945). John Finch, in his article "The Great American Stamp Collector: FDR" on line, contact us for exact citation, "He contributed to the design of U.S. stamps, turned Lindbergh into a philatelic flyer, promoting airmail for the USPOD – Lindy even got his own stamp, in contravention of the post office’s rules against honoring the living on a stamp...." Orville Wright, born in Dayton, Ohio, was the first man to fly a motored airplane, on December 17, 1903. Wright was in Cleveland, Ohio on May 13, 1943, so very likely in Dayton on May 15, the date of the FDC. He attended the dedication of the new (at that time) National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory (later to become the Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, and later still, in 1958, taken over by NASA). In a 1945 directory, Orville Wright was listed as a member of this committee. In addition to being in Ohio, May 13 was also when the first authorized biography of the Wright Brothers ("Wright Brothers" by Fred C. Kelly) as published (Harcourt Brace & Co., New York). And another related event, in May of 1943, the Orville Wright Air Scouts Squadron was organized in Dayton. In October, 1943, FDR invited Wright to attend a dinner and be honored on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the first flights of the Wright Brothers in 1903. That event was held in December of 1943. Ruth Rowland Nichols (1901-1960) was an aviation pioneer, the only woman to hold simultaneous world records for speed, altitude and distance by a female pilot. She was the first woman to obtain a hydroplane license (1924) and the first woman pilot of a commercial passenger airline (1932). She was born in New York City into a wealthy family. As a high school graduation present, her father gave her a ride on an airplane. She graduated from Wellesley in 1924 and got her pilot’s license shortly thereafter. She was a founding member, with Amelia Earhart, of the Nonety-Nines, in 1929, an organization of licensed women pilots that still exists today. During World War II, Nichols organized and headed "Relief Wings," a flying ambulance for mercy missions. She also few in the Civil Air Patrol. Nichols was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1992. Nichols’ connection to Orville Wright, other than the two being pioneers of aviation, is that on November 19, 1932, when the 60-foot granite pylon commemorating the Wright Brothers flight of December 17, 1903 was unveiled, it was unveiled by Ruth Nichols. Orville Wright, of course, attended and thanked her on behalf of himself and his already deceased brother.