Baldrige Jr., H. Malcolm


1983 TLS as Reagan’s Commerce Secretary, killed in a rodeo accident in 1987


Autograph ID: 7070
Condition: Very good, light wrinkling top left
Description: “(1922-1987) US businessman, Secretary of Commerce 1981-1987. His father was a Nebraska US Rep. After Yale, he began a career in manufacturing as the foundry hand in a Connecticut iron company and rose to the company presidency by 1960. Baldrige was chairman and CEO of brass company Scovill, Inc. Having joined Scovill in 1962, he lead its transformation to a highly diversified manufacturer of consumer, housing and industrial goods from a financially troubled brass mill. He was nominated as Secretary of Commerce by President-elect Reagan, confirmed by the Senate Jan. 22, 1981. During his tenure, Baldrige played a major role in developing and carrying out Administration trade policy. He took the lead in resolving difficulties in technology transfers with China and India and held the 1st Cabinet-level talks with the USSR in 7 years which paved the way for increased access for US firms to Soviet market and highly regarded by the world’s most preeminent leaders. Leading Administration effort to pass the Export Trading Company Act of 1982, Baldrige was named by the President to chair a Cabinet-level Trade Strike Force to search out unfair trading practices and recommend ways to end those practices. He was a leader in reforming national anti-trust laws. Baldrige’s award-winning managerial excellence contributed to long-term improvement in economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in government. Within the Commerce Department, he reduced the budget by 30+% and administrative personnel by 25% and advocated use of “plain English.” Baldrige worked during his boyhood as a ranch hand and earned awards as a professional team roper on the rodeo circuit. He was the 1981 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Man of the Year, installed in the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1984, and inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1988, rodeo’s highest honor. Secretary Baldrige died July 25, 1987, after sustaining internal injuries from a rodeo accident when the horse he was riding fell on him. His service as Secretary of Commerce was one of the longest in history. He was a proponent of quality management as a key to his country’s prosperity and long-term strength. He took a personal interest in legislation that became the Quality Improvement Act of 1987 and helped draft one of the early versions. In recognition of his contributions, Congress named the annual Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for product quality in his honor. On Oct. 17, 1988, he was presented posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan.

TLS as Secretary on 9 x 7 blue-printed official letterhead with white-embossed seal at top left, Washington, May 12 1983, to Edgar Poe, White House Correspondents’ Association. Secretary Baldrige thanks Poe for the picture he took at the WHCA dinner, adds: “Our President [Reagan] certainly looks well.” Secretary Baldrige enjoyed the WHCA dinner and appreciates Poe’s thoughtfulness in remembering Baldrige with a photo.

EDGAR ALLEN POE (1906-1998) Longtime Washington correspondent of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, past president of the White House Correspondents Association and the Gridiron Club. He joined the staff of the Times-Picayune in 1930, became its Washington correspondent in 1948, and also wrote a column, “Washington Panorama,” for the paper until he retired in 1994. He attended every national political convention from 1940-88, missing the 1944 conventions as he was a WW II war correspondent in the Pacific covering Louisiana and Mississippi units. He ended the war aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, witnessing the Japanese surrender and was one of the 1st reporters to tour Hiroshima. Poe began his 7-decade newspaper career in Alabama before joining the Times-Picayune. After working for its southern Mississippi bureau, he began covering Louisiana politics, and was said to have been one of the few reporters whom Huey Long had any use for. ”
Type: Letter

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