Researcher Finds Roots of FDR’s “Day of Infamy” Speech
WASHINGTON (Rhoiders) — The National Archives and Records Administration announced today a major find related to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s historic speech following the 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor.
Senior Researcher Monika Kharlamov was reviewing documents related to FDR’s work history in the days before he entered politics. One of his positions was as a senior freelance editor for the now-defunct Hastings Publishers, which was headquartered near FDR’s home in Hyde Park, New York.
Kharlamov told Rhoiders, “When I came across this letter from the president to presumably his supervisor at Hastings, I could easily understand, having been an editor myself, why FDR would draw upon the emotions expressed in this letter when he addressed the nation following the Pearl Harbor attack.”
The letter appears here in its entirety.
“Yesterday, September 23rd, 1909—a date which will live in infamy—my mailbox was suddenly and deliberately attacked by what appears likely to turn out to be the worst manuscript I was ever asked to edit.
“I was at peace with that mailbox and was still in conversation with my mailman and my publisher, and was looking toward the maintenance of peace with both of them.
“Indeed, three hours after the mailman commenced attacking my mailbox, the author of the manuscript delivered to my publisher a formal request to verify my receipt of said manuscript. And while this request stated that it seemed useless for the author to initiate any negotiations with me at that time, it contained no threat or hint of the attack that lurked within the manuscript.
“It will be recorded that the distance of my mailbox from the author’s home makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the author had deliberately sought to deceive the acquisition editor and my publisher by his false statements and expressions of certitude regarding the quality of his submitted work.
“The attack on my mailbox has caused severe damage to this editor’s defenses. I regret to tell you that very many hundreds of my hours will probably be wasted. In addition, within the past 24 hours this very same author has reportedly attacked other publishers from coast to coast.
“The author has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the country. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. This editor, and no doubt others, have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very health and sanity of our profession.
“As chairman of the American Society of Editors, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole profession remember the character of the onslaught against us.
“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the ASE in its righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
“I believe that I interpret the will of the ASE when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
“Bad writers with their hostile intent exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our association, its members, publishers, the American reading public, and our individual and collective interests are in grave danger.
“With confidence in our membership, with the unbounding determination of our publishers, we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.
“I ask that the ASE and its members’ publishing houses declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by this author, a state of war has existed between those in the editing profession and this author.”