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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library
author talk and book signing:
Former investigative reporter for
The Washington Post and Time magazine
TED GUP to speak about his new book
A SECRET GIFT:
HOW ONE MAN’S KINDNESS – AND TROVE OF LETTERS –
REVEALED THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION
December 5, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.

HYDE PARK, NY — The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is pleased to present an author talk and book signing with former investigative reporter for The Washington Post and Time magazine TED GUP at the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center on Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. Prof. Gup will speak about his new book A SECRET GIFT: HOW ONE MAN’S KINDNESS – AND TROVE OF LETTERS – REVEALED THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION. Following the presentation, Prof. Gup will be available to sign copies of his book. This event is free and open to the public.

During the Great Depression, Canton, Ohio (author Ted Gup’s hometown) suffered more than most. Unemployment was near fifty-percent, and people were not only losing their jobs and homes, but their spirit to go on.

When things seemed their bleakest, a man who called himself B. Virdot took out an ad in the local newspaper the week of Christmas, 1933. He offered to send $10 (then a small fortune) to 75 families who wrote to him and described their plight. No one would ever know his real name nor would he ever reveal the names of those who wrote him. In the end, the response was so overwhelming he had to halve the money to send checks to 150 families. True to his word, he never revealed his identity or those who had appealed to him.

Seventy-five years later, Ted Gup’s mother handed him a suitcase and inside were the letters written to B. Virdot. Virdot was Sam Stone, his grandfather. A SECRET GIFT: HOW ONE MAN’S KINDNESS – AND TROVE OF LETTERS – REVEALED THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION is the story of what became of those who wrote to Sam Stone and why he made the gift in the first place. In solving one mystery, Gup discovered others, concealed truths that came as a shock even to Sam Stone’s own children and grandchildren.

TED GUP was born and raised in Ohio, where his ancestors first settled some 150 years earlier. Since August, 2009, he has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Journalism at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Prof. Gup is the author of two previous books: Nation of Secrets: The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life (2007), winner of the Shorenstein Book Prize from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and the bestselling The Book of Honor: Covert Lives And Classified Deaths At The CIA (2000).

A former investigative reporter for The Washington Post and Time magazine, he was the Shirley Wormser Professor of Journalism at Case Western Reserve University from 1999-2009. He has been a grantee of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a Fellow of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics & Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Fulbright Scholar. He and his wife live in Boston, Massachusetts and Bucksport, Maine.

Copies of Prof. Gup’s book will be available for sale after the talk. There is no charge for this program. Please contact Cliff Laube at (845) 486-7745 or email clifford.laube@nara.gov with questions about the event.

The Roosevelt Library will make every effort to address all requests for reasonable accommodation. If you need to request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a program please contact Cliff Laube at (845) 486-7745 or email clifford.laube@nara.gov at least one week prior to the program/event to ensure proper arrangements are secured. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

November 25, 1943

“WASHINGTON, Wednesday—…There are some on this Thanksgiving Day who will feel that everything for which they might be thankful is overshadowed by the loss of some young life, either in the process of training or in the actual fighting. But even to those who are sad, there is reason for thankfulness in the thought that the cause for which their loved ones died is triumphing.

We can be thankful that in the whole length and breadth of the nation we have been saved so far from enemy bombing and enemy attack.

We can be thankful that our transportation system still allows us greater comfort and less sacrifice of our usual mode of living than any other transportation system in the world.

We can be thankful that though we may have had to change our food habits somewhat, we still have plenty to eat.

We can be thankful that there is still laughter and humor and gaiety in many homes in the United States.

We can be thankful that even our soldiers in faraway places who haven’t seen their children have the assurance that these children are growing up to carry on the traditions for which they are fighting.

We can be thankful that there is a growing sense of responsibility on the part of our citizens, and that they realize more day by day the importance of preserving their freedom through active participation in their government.

We can be thankful that we ourselves have health and strength; that there are people left at home with whom we can share our love, our joys and our sorrows.

We can be thankful that we live in the United States of America with its traditions which accept the perpetual striving for freedom and justice for all.

We can be thankful for our ability to work for the blessing of God on our country, which is a promise of happier days to come.

Above all, as individuals we can be thankful if no bad news has come knocking at our door, and if our loved ones are still well and able to do their part in civilian or military life in this great period of history.”

Click here for the complete My Day article.

November 23, 1939: Thanksgiving was celebrated today as by a proclamation by FDR setting the date one week earlier than normal.  He moved the date up one week to help retailers since many people did not start their Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving, thereby giving them an extra week to shop.

Proclamation on date of Thanksgiving 1939

Sunday, November 21, 2010
1935 AND THE ENDURING NEW DEAL:
The Arts & History Programs

Location: Henry A. Wallace Center
Time: 2:00 p.m.

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the enactment of the Social Security Act, the Works Progress Administration, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Rural Electrification Administration, the FDR Presidential Library and Museum and the Roosevelt Institute present “1935 and the Enduring New Deal,” a series of free public forums in the fall of 2010. 

This program will examine the innovations and legacies of the WPA culture and history programs, as well as discuss the feasibility of such programs in modern America.  To register call (845) 486-7745.

Click here to watch via webcast

Thursday, November 18, 2010
National Issues Forum:
Economic Security: How Should We Take Charge of Our Future?
Location: Henry A. Wallace Center
Time: 7:00 p.m.

In collaboration with the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) and the Kettering Foundation, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum will host a public discussion on economic security on November 18 at 7:00 p.m. The program will take place in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home. Refreshments will be served. Following the program forum attendees will receive free admission to the Roosevelt Library’s new exhibition “OUR PLAIN DUTY”: FDR and AMERICA’S SOCIAL SECURITY. This forum is free and open to the public but pre-registration is required as space is limited.

Please call (845) 486-7745 to register.

November 19, 1939: FDR addresses the crowd at the laying of the cornerstone of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, NY.

Franklin D. Roosevelt's original pencil sketch of the FDR Library

November 15, 1947

“NEW YORK, Friday—Anyone who has ever taken a trip to some of our national parks cannot fail to recognize their value to our nation. In the first place, they preserve areas of timberland which are important to our water supply. They give protection to wildlife of all kinds. And they furnish a vacation land for people of this country such as is not found in other parts of the world.

Their educational value is great, particularly for our young people, since here they have an opportunity to learn so much from trained men who understand the need for youth to know something of nature. For all of us, young and old, getting back to untouched natural beauty and enjoying the out of doors gives us strength for the rest of the year. Many of us from crowded cities find this almost essential.

Over the years, the National Parks Association has been drawing together the people who appreciate all these phases of our national parks system, and it has led in the defense of this system wherever personal interests have sought to destroy it. On June 20, 1947, after years of struggle to save the Everglades of Florida, that area became a national park. But where we count one victory, we find ourselves with attacks on the system coming from many sides.

Seven bills are before Congress, having as a purpose removal of the greater part of the “rain forests” from the Olympic National Park in the state of Washington. Of course, these bills are promoted by local lumber interests, and very tempting reasons are given as to why this should be done. The basic reason against it is that it would set a precedent for allowing loggers to take over portions of our primeval forests in other park areas. We have too few of these left. Proper care, of course, should be taken to guard all of these forests and to develop them, but commercial interests are not the ones to entrust with this care.”

Click here for the complete My Day article.

November 8, 1910: FDR is elected to the New York State Senate representing Dutchess, Columbia and Putnam counties.

Franklin D. Roosevelt in Dutchess County campaigning for the New York State Senate.
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 48-22:4014(24).


Franklin D. Roosevelt campaign poster for State Senator

November 12, 1942

“LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland—The flight to Ireland yesterday morning was smooth and uneventful, but there was just enough mist to prevent our seeing a great deal below us. We arrived in time to lunch with the Governor General, His Grace, the Duke of Abercorn and the Duchess of Abercorn. We then hurried on to visit a hospital in Belfast and the American Red Cross headquarters. They were so afraid that the weather might prevent our flying to Londonderry that they hurried us as much as they could. I missed seeing a number of the wards in the hospital, which I regretted, because any change, I think, is diverting to people who are in bed and seeing someone who has recently come from the United States, is naturally a great excitement to any of the American boys.

This particular hospital is undoubtedly efficiently run, and meets the needs of the Forces, but I cannot say that it seemed to me a particularly cheerful spot, and I think the nurses must do most of the bringing of sunshine into those wards for they tell me that there has been very little good weather for months past…

…Today is Armistice Day. When I think of the rejoicing which we all felt on this date in 1918, I cannot help having a sense of futility. There is just one thing for which I pray on this day—that as a nation we will not fool ourselves again into believing that which is pleasant but will accept reality and grasp the fact that we are part of a world which cannot be divided and treated in sections.”

Click here for the complete My Day article.

November 6, 1940

“HYDE PARK, Tuesday—This is Election Day and I have been told with great firmness to get my column in early because the telegraph wires into New York City will soon be busy with election news. Of course, nothing authentic in the way of election returns can come in until the late afternoon, but I suppose newspaper correspondents will be filing stories all during the day about minor happenings here and there.

Yesterday was calm and peaceful. I met my husband in the morning, rode for a while through the woods and the fields and enjoyed the blue sky and the warm sun. Then we had the picnic I told you about.

We all went with the President in the evening to the meeting outside of the Nelson House in Poughkeepsie, and then returned to listen to the two hours of the Democratic broadcast. I found that the President, instead of closing the program, came somewhere in the middle of it. I liked the whole program. Then we listened through the Republican hour which followed, and so went rather late to bed, for I still had mail to finish on my desk.

In spite of being busy, the atmosphere was calm, but today it is not going to be quite so calm. I am taking my ride, but at noon my husband and I, with his mother, will go up to vote and all the photographers and newspapermen will be on hand to record the process as they have done so often before. I shall feel quite calm, but no one thinks that you should be calm, so, willy-nilly, you find yourself being urged into excitement.

The telephones will ring and people will be rising from the table during meals to answer them. The President will have to talk to many people and in spite of all one can do, election excitement will mount. By the time returns are really coming in, very few of us will be left who are capable of comparing past votes with present figures and making any evaluation of what is really going on.”

Click here for the complete My Day article.

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