“A few months ago I read the interesting book, ‘When the Cheering Stopped’ by Gene Smith. (Published by William Morrow and Company, New York, 1964). It indicates the necessity of the American people being more adequately protected in the Executive Branch of our government in the event the Chief Executive should become very ill or suddenly incapacitated.
The book throws interesting lights upon the second marriage of President Wilson to Mrs. Edith Galt and to her complete devotion to him over the years; also, how she ran the country for a while when he became ill. In perusing pages 20 to 23, I was intrigued with the treatment of the well-known matter of the “Peck” letters, the numerous letters written to Mrs. Mary Allen Peck (later, Hulbert) by, Woodrow Wilson. Ultimately, Mrs. Hulbert re-assumed the name of Peck, after a divorce…
As I heard the story related, the matter does not center around Mrs. Galt and Mrs. Peck. It indicates to me more as to how Louis Brandeis came to be appointed by Wilson to the U.S. Supreme Court. It centers around Louis Brandeis . . . and illustrates, allegedly so, politics at its best, not women. Woodrow Wilson was often referred to as “Peck’s Bad Boy” before 1913 (page 23) and also whatever the “wits” felt called upon to say about him. That title went back to his days at Princeton. It appeared that Mrs. Peck’s son allegedly got into some financial difficulties in Washington. He needed about $30,000 to get straightened out, but Mrs. Peck did not have that sum of money handy. She allegedly retained Samuel Untermeyer, a powerful New York lawyer, to represent her and help raise the money for her son. The events allegedly proceeded something like this:
An appointment was made at the White House and Mr. Untermeyer called upon President Wilson and presented his client’s case, saying that his client needed money and that for the sum of $250,000 she would return to President Wilson certain letters, or else dispose of them to others.
President Wilson . . . “I haven’t that kind of money, Mr. Untermeyer. Let me think it over. Let’s take up this matter again, say in a week or so, and I will see what I can do.”
Later, at the next meeting, Wilson continued, “Mr. Untermeyer, I cannot come up with $250,000, but I may be able to raise something like $100,000 if that would satisfy your client.”
Mr. Untermeyer “No, Mr. President, that would not satisfy my client, but I have just had an idea … and, well, perhaps, it might be developed into a happy solution. If you indicate to me that you will consider appointing Mr. Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court, I will then discuss this unfortunate matter of the letters with friends of mine. They might be able to then arrange to settle this matter to the benefit of all parties concerned.”
President Wilson thought over the matter; so did Counsel Untermeyer and his friends. In due course, Louis Brandeis sat on the Supreme Court bench… Soon he was regarded by all as a very able Justice. In the world pro-Zionist movement, he proved an important aggressive figure and exerted great efforts in that connection, both here and abroad.
Curtis B. Dall
FDR, My Exploited FIL — pp.140