About This Blog
In Roosevelt History is a blog maintained by numerous programs and staff within the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. With this blog we share information about our Library’s collections, programs, and the Roosevelt legacy in ways we hope will be interesting to many diverse audiences. Our goal is to provide information about the Library – its exciting public programs, education opportunities and historical collections. We also offer our readers a behind-the-scenes view of the workings of the first presidential library. For more information about the content in this blog, please contact us. For more extensive information about Roosevelt history and Library collections please visit our official website, www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu.
The FDR Library
“To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future . . . a Nation must above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
June 30, 1941
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is America’s first presidential library—and the only one used by a sitting president.
Not a library in the usual sense, the Roosevelt Library—and all the presidential libraries that followed FDR’s—are research archives with public history museums dedicated to telling the stories of our modern presidencies.
Roosevelt personally directed the design and construction of his Library, which was built on the Roosevelt family estate with private donations. He gave the building and its holdings to the National Archives, which administers it today.
Today through its Archives, Museum, and Education programs for students and the general public, the Roosevelt Presidential Library helps people, in FDR’s words, “learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.”
Archivists at the Roosevelt Library manage and preserve the paper and audio-visual collections of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, their family and associates—a total of 400 individual collections numbering 17 million pages. The Library also holds Franklin Roosevelt’s personal book collection of 23,000 volumes, Eleanor Roosevelt’s personal library, and a reference library of another 25,000 volumes. Every year archivists provide answers to some 10,000 research questions via email, telephone, and the U.S. Mail. They also “serve” archival materials to an average of 1500 researchers who travel to the Library to work in the Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Research Room. Over 1 million others use the Library website (www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu)for research aids and to view more15,000 pages of digitized documents and photographs. The Archives is continually growing with new historical materials coming into the collection on a regular basis.
The Museum holdings of the Roosevelt Library include the President’s personal collections of naval and maritime art, 200 fully rigged ship models, Hudson River Valley art and artifacts, New Deal art, political and campaign memorabilia, political cartoons, and nearly 5,000 posters. FDR and ER’s head of state and other gifts, as well as numerous family portraits, furniture, silver, jewelry and mementoes completes the 35,000 object collection. The collection is preserved and managed by a curatorial staff that also mounts the museum’s permanent, changing and traveling exhibitions. The staff also responds to research questions and loans objects from the Museum collection to museums and institutions for national and international exhibitions. The collection is not closed: new objects associated with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are acquired, chiefly by donation.
The Roosevelt Library and Museum conducts education programs in Hyde Park—and throughout the United States—designed to meet the curriculum requirements of K-12 pupils, as well as college and university students. Similarly, workshops and seminars for teachers are conducted at the Library, in schools, at conferences, or via distance learning. These teacher development programs help educators develop their knowledge of the Roosevelt era, as well as the resources available in the Library’s documentary, audio-visual, and art and artifact collections. The Library’s website (www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu)offers a wealth of educational resources for students, teachers, and parents.
Like all other presidential libraries, the Roosevelt Library and Museum offers programs for the general public. These include author talks and book signings, lectures, conferences and panel discussions, historical encampments, films and music programs grounded in the Roosevelt era. The public programs staff also manages the Library’s website (www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu)print publications, media relations and visitor services, including the New Deal Museum Store, Mrs. Nesbitt’s Café, and the use of the Henry A. Wallace Center by hundreds of community organizations every year. The Library and Museum enjoys strong partnerships with the National Park Service, the Roosevelt Institute, and Marist College, which hosts the website.
Presidential Libraries are not libraries in the usual sense. They are archives and museums, preserving the written record and physical history of our presidents, while providing special programs and exhibits that serve their communities. These libraries, described by President Reagan as “classrooms of Democracy,” belong to the American people.
Beginning a tradition that continues to this day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt raised private funds and built a library, which he gave to the U.S. government for operation through the National Archives. In 1955, this process became law when the U.S. Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act.
The American Presidency is part of a unique heritage that is yours to explore. Through archives, museums, and special programs, Presidential Libraries preserve the documents and artifacts of our Presidents and provide insight into the times in which these Presidents lived and served the nation.
NARA’s presidential libraries include:
Herbert Hoover Library Gerald R. Ford Library
West Branch, IA Ann Arbor, MI
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Gerald R. Ford Museum
Hyde Park, NY Grand Rapids, MI
Harry S. Truman Library Jimmy Carter Library
Independence, MO Atlanta, GA
Dwight D. Eisenhower Library Ronald Reagan Library
Abilene, KS Simi Valley, CA
John F. Kennedy Library George H. W. Bush Library
Boston, MA College Station, TX
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library William J. Clinton Library
Austin, TX Little Rock, AR
Richard Nixon Library George W. Bush Library
Yorba Linda, CA Lewisville, TX
The Roosevelt Institute is dedicated to informing new generations of the ideas and achievements of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt through programs, events, and publications. With offices in Hyde Park, New York, New York City, and Washington, D.C., the Institute enjoys a special relationship with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. It also works across the country to nurture leaders in public service inspired by the models of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, through a network of 70 progressive college campus-based think tank organizations that include more than 7,500 college students participating as members. In the years ahead, the Institute plans to play an even stronger role in nurturing and advancing progressive people and ideas. It will also continue its unique and important relationship with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.