From the Mountains of Clay County, Kentucky

“I am a cripple, a Veteran of the Spanish-American war and the father of three boys in the Armed Forces. I have a feeling that the pride engendered by carrying one of your canes, a cane from your collection, preferably one you had carried and discarded, would vastly improve my stride.” – Joseph L. Delph to FDR, April 5, 1943.

Throughout his Presidency, FDR received thousands of letters from the general public. Americans shared their reactions to Roosevelt’s speeches and policies, requested action on political issues, expressed support or voiced concern over the President’s approach to the New Deal and to the war effort. Some even requested financial or material support for themselves and their families.

Many of the letters were very personal in nature and the FDR administration made it a point to respond accordingly. Mr. Delph of Kentucky not only received a personal response from Grace Tully, FDR’s personal secretary, but one of President Roosevelt’s canes, as well. Delph wrote back, “Your gift to me is something that money could not buy. I shall carry it with much pride and it shall ever remain one of my most cherished possessions.”

Read all four pages of correspondence related to this 1943 cane request. Materials were reproduced from FDR’s President’s Personal File (PPF) 50-d: Congratulations, 1943.