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1403322

Hubert H. Humphrey

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From the Estate of Llewellyn E. Thompson,

United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union

Both Muriel and I enjoyed . . . seeing you again.

Hubert Horatio Humphrey, 1911-1978.  Vice President of the United States, 1965-1969; United States Senator from Minnesota, 1949-1964, 1971-1978.  Typed Letter Signed, Hubert H., one page, 6” x 8⅞”, on engraved personal stationery, Washington, D.C., January 22, 1970.

Humphrey sends a complimentary greeting to Ambassador Llewellyn E. Thompson, Jr., and his wife Jane.  He writes, in full:  Mary and Carl Humelsine are the best of hosts, and they outdid themselves once again with the dinner party for the Godwins just before Christmas.  Both Muriel and I enjoyed the evening at Carter’s Grove and, of course, seeing you again.  /  With best wishes  . . . .

Despite the rather backhanded greeting in this letter—praising the hosts of a party for someone else that both the Thompsons and Humphrey and his wife, Muriel, attended—the letter has very nice historical and political associations.

Carlisle Hubbard Humelsine (1915-1973) served in the State Department under four Secretaries of State—James F. Byrnes, George C. Marshall, Dean G. Acheson, and John Foster Dulles—which overlapped Thompsonʼs State Department career.  A 1937 graduate of the University of Maryland, he was joined General Marshall’s staff during World War II.  As a colonel, he served in a support role at the conferences of President Franklin D. Roosevelt at Malta and Yalta and of President Harry S. Truman at Potsdam.  When Marshall became Secretary of State, Humelsine went to the State Department with him and served as the Assistant Secretary for Administration, the top administrative position in the department, and later headed the Executive Secretariat.  He was the youngest Assistant Secretary and Deputy Under-Secretary in the Department’s history.  Humelsine went to Colonial Williamsburg as Executive Vice President of Restoration in 1953 and became its President in 1958.  Under some 20 years of his leadership, seven exhibition buildings and 12 craft shops were opened to the public, and the number of visitors tripled.  More importantly, Humelsine broadened Colonial Williamburgʼs support base from a lone benefactor, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., to many corporate and individual supporters and established Colonial Williamsburg as one of the world’s foremost preservation organizations and museums. 

Mills E. Godwin, Jr. (1914-1999), and his wife Katherine were the guests of honor at the party.  Godwin served two nonconsecutive terms as Governor of Virginia, 1966-1970 and 1974-1978.  He was first elected as a Democrat.  After he was succeeded by a Republican, he switched parties and was elected as a Republican, becoming the first governor in American history to be elected from both parties.  Mrs. Godwin later wrote a book about her time in the Virginia Governor’s Mansion and donated the first $1,000 in royalties to the Citizens Advisory Committee on Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion.  Humelsine, who also chaired that committee, accepted the donation.

Carterʼs Grove Plantation, which Humphrey mentions in this letter, is a 750-acre plantation with a Georgian-style colonial mansion owned by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.  From 1969 to 2007, the Foundation operated it and largely kept it open to the public.  It was placed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 1971. 

Llewellyn E. Thompson, Jr. (1904-1972), was a career diplomat who served at a critical time in history as the United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B Johnson.  He joined the Foreign Service in 1928, and during his long and distinguished career he served as the United States Ambassador to Austria from 1955 to 1957 before Eisenhower appointed him Ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1957.  Kennedy reappointed him to Moscow in 1961.  He resigned in 1962 to become Ambassador At Large and a key advisor to Kennedy on Soviet affairs.  He was a member of the Executive Committee to the National Security Council, or ExComm, which advised Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.  Johnson reappointed Thompson to Moscow in 1967, and he served there until 1969.  He was present at Johnson’s summit with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin at Glassboro, New Jersey, in June 1967.  He retired in 1969 but returned to advise President Richard Nixon on the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) negotiations with the Soviet Union.  He represented the United States in the SALT talks from 1969 until he died in 1972. 

Humphrey has signed this letter in black felt-tipped pen.  The letter has a single horizontal mailing fold, which does not affect the signature, and is in very fine condition.

Provenance:  This letter comes directly from the Thompson estate.  It has never been offered on the autograph market before.

Unframed.

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