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Carved Wooden Pig (MO 1947.93.412)

 

President Roosevelt liked to display souvenirs and small trinkets he received as gifts on his desk in the White House Oval Office. Some of these items reflected whimsical aspects of FDR’s personality. This carved wooden pig is certainly among them.

Roosevelt enjoyed collecting pig figurines. His private secretary Grace Tully later recalled in her memoir F.D.R, My Boss, “Only the people closely associated with him knew about this interest.” Over time the President’s collection of these figurines grew and the little pigs took up space on desks, ledges, and mantelpieces in his White House bedroom and Study. A few, including the small carved pig pictured here, ended up in the Oval Office. Eleanor Roosevelt gave her husband this pig in his Christmas stocking in 1937. The First Lady had admired it during a guided tour of a rural arts exhibit staged in Washington D.C. that year. The pig was made by a student at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. The exhibit organizer noted Mrs. Roosevelt’s interest in the pig during her tour and presented it to her. She clearly had her husband in mind when she brought it back to the White House.

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