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Lot 253

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Reagan Writes to Physician about Government Waste

"I appreciate your letter and am in complete agreement about the apparent tactic of meeting the need for economy by cutting muscle fibre instead of fat."

California governor Ronald Reagan explains his position on cutting waste in government, in part by opposing government agencies that sabotage efforts at economy to "protect their empires."

RONALD REAGAN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Dr. [Harry R.] Matum, June 5, 19[6]7. 1 p., 8ʺ x 10ʺ. Small wrinkles on edges; excellent. Ex. The Forbes Collection.

Complete Transcript:

6/5/57 [67]
Dear Dr. Maytum
I appreciate your letter and am in complete agreement about the apparent tactic of meeting the need for economy by cutting muscle fibre instead of fat. As govt’s grow more complex from local to Nat. it becomes more & more difficult for the citizen to understand how they function. In my mind one of the most serious problems we face is how to cope with this actual sabotage worked by govt. agencies to protect their empires. We are aware of it at the state level in trying to effect our economies and are exploring ways to combat it.
You may be right that at the proper moment a blast backed by some documentation is the best or at least a good opening gun.
Best Regards

Historical Background:

Reagan won election as governor of California by campaigning on promises to make government less expensive and more efficient. On May 6, 1967, he told the United Republicans of California at their convention in Long Beach, "Now our economies are not aimed at eliminating needed services or programs. But they are aimed at trimming fat and waste, at cutting out the frills, at keeping government at the size where it remains the servant, and does not become the master, of the people."

In this letter, responding to one from a supportive physician in Merced, California, Reagan explains that he intends to trim waste by combating government agencies that try to resist reform to protect their empires.

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) was born in Illinois and graduated from Eureka College in 1932. After working as a radio announcer for several years, he took a screen test in 1937 that led to a contract with Warner Brothers Studios and an acting career in film and television. Reagan served as governor of California from January 1967 to 1975. He won election over two-term incumbent Pat Brown. As governor, he opposed the idea of the welfare state and favored less government regulation of the economy. After an unsuccessful attempt to recall him in 1968, Reagan won reelection in 1970 for a second term. He did not seek reelection in 1974, but went on in 1976 to seek the Presidency. He narrowly lost the Republican nomination to incumbent Gerald Ford, but went on to win in 1980 over Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter to become the 40th President of the United States (1981-1989).

The recipient was likely Harry R. Maytum (1913-2005), who was born in South Dakota, and married Louetta Margaret Stoltz (1912-2004) in 1937. Maytum became a physician and served in the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1946, when he was discharged at the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war, he returned to the practice of medicine in Merced, California.

Ex. The Forbes Collection. Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990), American owner-publisher of Forbes magazine, and consummate collector, amassed one of the most substantial and broad collections of such breadth and depth that it filled a half-dozen residences, and sat on three continents. Many of his manuscripts were sold in multi-million-dollar sales by Christie's in the early 2000s. The Forbes name is considered to be the apex of provenance when attached to an item like the one above. We are honored to have been chosen by the family to sell at auction the substantial balance of the collection.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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