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“Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1936

Philadelphia?, 1936?
JK2313 1936 D38 oversize

This book was given to delegates at the 1936 Democratic convention, held that year in Philadelphia. It contains information such as the party’s platform, election results, and statements from the President, his cabinet members, other important members of his administration, and the first lady.

This copy belonged to Wilson McCarthy (1884-1956), a judge who sat on Utah’s Third District Court in 1919. He left the bench a year later and earned a fortune as a private practice attorney. In 1926 he was elected to the Utah state senate. A lifelong Democrat, he was appointed by Republican President Herbert Hoover to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932. A year later, he began a career in banking in San Francisco. In 1934, the RFC asked him to take control of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, which had just defaulted on a $10 million loan. It took McCarthy and others nearly two decades to rehabilitate the company. In 1937 alone, $18 million was pumped into the property.

Under McCarthy’s administration the Rio Grande built more than 1100 bridges and laid more than two million railroad ties. By the end of World War II, the railroad’s revenues had increased from $17 million to $75 million per year. During this time, McCarthy anchored the Rio Grande between Salt Lake City (his birthplace) and Denver. Freight time between these two points dropped from 54 hours to just under 24 hours. McCarthy, in conjunction with the Western Pacific Railroad began the “California Zephyr,” a luxury service between Chicago and the Bay Area. He also added the train’s signature vista-dome cars.

In addition to his turn-around of the fortunes of the railroad, McCarthy helped bring Geneva Steel to Utah. On the day of his funeral, every Rio Grande train stopped, their crews observing two minutes of silence.

This book was also published, with some variations, under the title The Democratic National Convention, 1936. The book contains dozens of contemporary advertisements, many in color. Illustrated with nineteen full-page portraits and dozens of in-text half-tones and illustrations, and a facsimile of the Constitution. Bound in full brown morocco gilt, watered silk endpapers, top edge gilt. Limited edition of unknown quantity. University of Utah copy is no. 1464, stamped in gilt “Wilson McCarthy” and signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Gift of Wilson McCarthy.