Letters from Presidents Found in Trash Georgia Scion's Scrapbook Saved

Article excerpt

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Signed letters from Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon were among dozens of political keepsakes found inside a scrapbook salvaged from a car wash trash bin.

The black, leather-bound book chronicles the life of Charles Seward, grandson of Abraham Lincoln's secretary of state, William Seward. A woman rooting through the bins stumbled across the book and turned it over to authorities last week.

Police traced Seward's daughter and plan to give it to her, but neither she nor the authorities have any idea how it ended up in the garbage.

The letters, including several from Georgia politicians Gov. Eugene Talmadge and Sen. Richard Russell, date back to the 1930s. One dated Nov. 1, 1968, is signed by then-presidential candidate Nixon.

"I want to express my personal appreciation for your efforts on behalf of my candidacy for President of the United States of America," reads the typed letter.

Seward, who was a justice of the peace in Atlanta, never achieved the political prominence of his grandfather. He graduated in 1923 from Georgia Tech -- his transcript is included in the scrapbook -- and became treasurer of Manufacturers Office Supply Co. in Atlanta.

He petitioned Talmadge to be named U.S. marshal in North Georgia. His request was rejected in a letter signed by Talmadge.

Another letter, signed by Roosevelt, thanked Seward for his support during the 1932 presidential campaign.

All the letters, most printed on aging yellow paper, are in good condition despite sitting in a garbage bin for at least a day. …