Wood, Leonard


1920 TLS to famous forger Henry Woodhouse by the Medal of Honor recipient who led the “Rough Riders” in Cuba, 1916 & 1920 GOP Presidential hopeful


Type: Letter
Description: (1860-1927) Harvard MD 1884, US Army physician from 1885. Wood was in the last campaign against Geronimo, awarded the Medal of Honor in 1886 for carrying dispatches 100 miles through hostile territory and for commanding an infantry detachment (whose officers had been lost) in hand-to-hand combat against the Apache. He was promoted to captain in 1891. Wood was personal physician to Presidents Cleveland and McKinley through 1898 and developed a friendship with Asst. Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt.

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Wood, with Theodore Roosevelt, organized the 1st Volunteer Cavalry regiment, “the Rough Riders”, and led the regiment at the Battle of Las Guasimas June 24, 1898. When the brigade commander became ill, Wood received a field promotion to Brigadier General of Volunteers and commanded the 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, V Corps (which included the Rough Riders) to victory at Kettle Hill and San Juan Heights.

As Military Governor of Santiago & all Cuba 1899-1902, he relied on his medical experience to institute improvements to the medical and sanitary conditions in Cuba. He was promoted to Army Brigadier General shortly before moving to his next assignment. In 1902, he commanded the Philippines Division and later became commander of the Department of the East. Promoted to Major General in 1903, he served as governor of Moro province, a stronghold of Muslim rebellion, 1903-06, led US forces in the Philippines 1906-08.

He was named Army Chief of Staff in 1910 (serving to 1914) by President Taft, whom he had met while both were in the Philippines; he is the only medical officer to have ever held that position. Wood was promoted to Lieutenant General, that rank last awarded to Phil Sheridan in 1869. He led Department of the East 1914 and the Sixth Army Corps Area 1919-21, retiring 1921. GOP 1916 & 1920 presidential hopeful, Philippines Governor General 1921-27.

Missouri’s Ft. Leonard Wood is home of the Army Combat Engineer School, Chemical School, and Military Police School and a major Training and Doctrine Command post for Basic Combat Training and home of the 10th Infantry Regiment (Basic Training). 

Henry Woodhouse (1884–1970) Italian-born American aviation writer, magazine publisher, investor, and collector. Born in Turin, Italy, to US 1904, naturalized  1909. He began his career as an aviation writer under the name Henry Woodhouse, which he legally adopted, and contributed to Collier’ s Weekly, McClure’s, MetropolitanThe IndependentWorld’s Work, and the New York Times as an expert on aviation around the world. Woodhouse prophesied the development and use of aeroplanes by the US military, and later coordinated uses for all branches of the service in WWI. He also forecasted the importance of aviation to the transportation industry and postal service.

Woodhouse also authored many of the 1st authoritative books on aviation , incl. Textbook of Naval Aeronautics (1917), Textbook of Military Aeronautics  (1917), Textbook of Applied Aeronautic Engineering (1917), Textbook of Aerial Laws (1917), Aircraft of All Nations (1917), and High-altitude Flying in Relation to Exploration (1919). He founded and became managing editor of a successful magazine, Flying, considered from its inception as the most comprehensive and authoritative publication on aviation in the US and published magazines such as Naval AeronauticsAir Power and Scientific Age. In 1915 he helped found the American Society of Aeronautical Engineering and was an original founder and a governor of the Aeroclub. He founded the National Aeroplane Fund, the Aeronautic Federation of the Western Hemisphere, and the Patriotic Education Society. He was director of the American Society of Aeronautic Engineers, a permanent delegate to the Conference Committee on National Preparedness, a delegate to the 2nd Pan-American Scientific Congress. He also owned copyrights to many aviation related terms and titles and was awarded $25,000 against the famous 1927 film Wings when the court found the title a copyright infringement against his intellectual property.

Woodhouse collected artifacts and antiques connected to US history. In 1936 he donated many documents on George Washington to the Library of Congress. The late author and autograph dealer Charles Hamilton, in his book Great Forgers and Famous Fakes, noted that Woodhouse specialized in Signers of the Declaration of Independence, his “favorite ploy was to tack a fraudulent signature on a genuine old document,” such as “a worthless eighteenth-century deed.” He displayed his forgeries with some authentic items at a museum in and put them up for sale at Gimbels department store. For a time, he also had his own gallery in a Manhattan hotel. He also began to forge autographs of famous aviators and dignitaries, faking the names of his own friends and acquaintances such as TR, Wilson, Coolidge, Peary, and Earhart. He was not exposed as a forger during his lifetime.

9 x 7 ½ TLS typed “Personal”, Chicago, September 10 1920, to Henry Woodhouse, Acting President, Aerial League of America, NYC. General Wood thanks him for his letter of the 8th, stating: “We are all watching very keenly the development of aerial transportation, and as you say, our hopes are now becoming realities.” He returns a woman’s poem duly autographed for his files, not enclosed.

Condition: Very good, folds, slight crease top right




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