Saturday, November 19, 2022
The Courtney Collection

A collection of significant historical importance

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A collection of photographs and military items, spanning several generations of the Courtney Family.

John Courtney was a reporter and photographer from Haverstraw, New York, photographing notable events such as the 1939-1940s World’s Fair. Courtney and his three brothers served during World War II.  John's photograph album contains the U.S. landing on Normandy (D-Day) and the capture of the Kehlsteinhaus (known as the Eagle's Nest in English), and many other well-known events of the war.   He made the rank of Sergeant and returned home in 1945. Upon his return to his native Haverstraw John photographed many political figures including Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, Bobby Kennedy, and James Farley.

World War 1 Doughboy Helmet

The extensive collection of material compiled by Courtney on Farley is extensive- from photographs to signed letters.  James Farley is not as widely recognized by most today, he was known as the "muscle" of the New Deal and one of the architects of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA). Farley, in accordance with political tradition, was appointed by Roosevelt as Postmaster General, a post traditionally given to the campaign manager or an influential supporter, and Roosevelt also took the unusual step of naming him chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in addition to the cabinet post in 1933.  Farley controlled federal patronage in the new administration and was very influential within Roosevelt's Brain Trust and the Democratic Party throughout the United States. Farley used his control of the patronage to see that Roosevelt's first 100 days of New Deal legislation was passed. Farley masterfully used the patronage machine to line up support for the New Deal's liberal programs. He helped to bring about the end to Prohibition.  Farley also opposed the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 to "pack" the Supreme Court.

Farley believed in fair play and Equal Rights and in 1940 as Postmaster General he authorized the first postage stamp featuring the likeness of a black American Booker T. Washington whom Farley publicly hailed as the "Negro Moses". This effort was spearheaded by Eleanor Roosevelt as well as others. The first Booker T. Washington stamp was sold by Farley to George Washington Carver at Tuskegee (Ala.) Institute on April 7, 1940. Farley also appeared as a featured speaker at the American Negro Exposition, also known as the Black World's Fair and the Diamond Jubilee Exposition, which was a world's fair held in Chicago from July until September in 1940, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States at the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865.

After leaving Washington in 1940, Farley was named chairman of the board of the Coca-Cola Export Corporation, a vehicle that was created for his talents. Farley held this post until his retirement in 1973. Farley defeated a Roosevelt bid to name the party's candidate for New York governor in 1942. Farley once again became an important national political force when his old friend, Harry Truman, became president in 1945.

Babe Ruth promotional photographs for the 1920 movie “Headin Home”
The movie was shot in Haverstraw, New York, and was Babe’s first movie in which he played himself.  There are very few examples of promotional material pertaining to this movie.  Only a few (less than five) pieces have been presented at auction.   The movie can currently be viewed for free on Amazon Video.
Babe Ruth 1920s Original Publicity Photos
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