Of course World War II and its build-up had been going on much longer in Europe and December 8 also marks the anniversary of a rare book auction held in New York in 1938, to benefit European refugees.
Dr. Rosenbach chaired the auction and the celebrity auctioneers included radio personality Major Edward Bowes, writers George Kaufman and Christopher Morley, and journalist Dorothy Thompson, who had herself been expelled from Nazi Germany in 1934. Rockwell Kent designed and donated the cover art for the catalog.
The honorary chairs of the event were Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann, both of whom had fled Nazi persecution and settled in America. Both men signed our copy of the sales catalog, beneath their respective introductory texts.
(all images from Going, going, gone! Rare book auction, Hotel Plaza, New York, December 8, 1938. [New York, 1938] Ro1 938b copy 1)
Overall the event raised about $35,000, which is roughly equivalent to half a million dollars today. (For more on converting historic dollar amounts, check out Measuring Worth).