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Private Owner's Desire to Donate FDR Memorabilia and Papers Held Back by National Archives Ownership Claim To Part of Collection - Prevents Charitable Contribution for Collection

The Tully Collection - Long Considered Most Important Collection of FDR Papers in Private Hands - Would Be a Precious Addition to the Nation's First Presidential Library

Schumer Legislation Asserting That Federal Government Can Make No Claim to Papers, Thereby Clearing Way To Donation, Passed H

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced final congressional passage for his legislation allowing a private owner to donate a valuable collection of historical papers from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration.  The papers are known as the Tully collection. Private owners of the collection currently want to donate the papers to the FDR library   and the papers are currently at the library in sealed boxes - but because the national archives asserted a claim to a portion of the collection, the threat of litigation over ownership prevented the gift from being completed.  The Schumer bill passed the Senate last year and passed the full House last night. Now, the bill will be sent to the President's desk for signature.


Grace Tully served for several decades as part of Franklin Roosevelt's personal secretarial staff.  In 1941, Miss. Tully became FDR's principal personal secretary, performing duties such as dictation, document preparation, and records management of the President's personal files. A trusted confidant, FDR also appointed Miss. Tully to the threeperson committee established to provide initial stewardship of FDR's papers and records during their transfer to the presidential library.  Until Miss Tully's death in 1984, it was not known the extent to which she had preserved and maintained additional Roosevelt papers and materials in her own possession.  After Miss Tully's death, this incredibly rich and important collection of Roosevelt materials passed from her estate through the private hands of collectors until the opportunity arose for their permanent deposit at the Roosevelt Library.


To help broker a fair deal ensuring delivery of the historically valuable papers to the FDR Library, Schumer's office met with all sides on the issue - the current owners, the FDR Library, the National Archives, and the IRS - to determine the best way to get the matter resolved, since the papers are currently at the FDR library in sealed boxes.  Schumer decided the best legislative fix would to pass legislation making it clear that the federal government may make no claim to the papers, thereby clarifying that the private owner, the Hollinger Corporation (owner of the Chicago SunTimes), may make a rightful donation of the collection to the National Archives and take a tax deduction under current tax rules.  The bill will not provide any tax benefit - it simply states that the National Archives can make no claim to ownership, thereby eliminating the need for litigation and clearing the way for the papers to be donated.  Schumer's legislation passed the Senate last night and it is expected to pass the House in the coming weeks.


"With this final hurdle cleared, the FDR library will now have one of the most valuable private collections of FDR papers in its hands, and the former owners will get a fair tax deduction for their generous donation," said Schumer. "The best home for these precious FDR documents is in Hyde Park, the nation's first presidential library, and this legislation will ensure that they stay there so that they can be enjoyed and treasured for  years to come."


In 1984, President Roosevelt's former secretary, Grace Tully, bequeathed a large collection of FDR papers and memorabilia to her niece. The collection was then turned over to several private owners, and is now in the hands of Sun Times Media, who purchased it in 2001 from a rare book dealer for $8 million. The collection, called the Tully Collection, is probably the most important set of FDR papers in private hands.