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The Roosevelt Library plans quite a trip for Summer 2014! Join us as we journey to seven continents and 95 countries for Around the World in 80 Days with the Roosevelts. Look for hundreds of internationally themed photographs, museum objects, and historic documents on the Library’s Tumblr — fdrlibrary.tumblr.com – and other social media accounts beginning Memorial Day weekend and culminating with the August 9th opening of our special exhibit, Read My Pins – the Madeleine Albright Collection.

80 consecutive days of special online features explore two lifetimes of travel and the Roosevelts’ common commitment to diplomacy and human rights. These posts draw on rich historical collections housed in both the Archives and Museum of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, and show the Roosevelts’ unique relationship with people and leaders across the globe. Learn how an American president worked directly with towering international figures, became the first to fly overseas while in office, and created the United Nations. Find out how Eleanor Roosevelt’s support of Allied troops in World War II and her advocacy for universal human rights inspired her famous moniker, First Lady of the World. We hope you’ll join us for this fascinating journey through the lives and work of two extraordinary global figures of the 20th century. Bon Voyage!

Last week 27 people traveled from all over the country, and even across the Atlantic Ocean, to visit the FDR Library’s research room. They came to interact with the estimated 17 million pages of primary source materials housed here within nearly 400 separate manuscript collections related to the Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II.

FDRL Research Room

A view of the FDR Library research room on Tuesday, June 26, 2012.

FDR strongly believed that the records of government — those created by presidents, civil servants, and citizens alike — should be preserved, organized, and kept open for future generations. In developing this Library, he envisioned an institution both an archives and museum, to become a center for the study of the entire Roosevelt era.

In 1939 as plans for the Library were still being drawn, Roosevelt said of his voluminous papers:

I have destroyed practically nothing. As a result, we have a mine for which future historians will curse as well as praise me. It is a mine which will need to have the dross sifted from the gold.

He went on to say that neither he nor any scholar of his age could do that “sifting” task appropriately.  Instead, we:

[…]must wait for that dim, distant period […] when the definitive history of this particular era will come to be written.

Today’s generations of researchers are some of the very people FDR sought to reach.

FDRL Research Room

Research topics on Tuesday included education policy analysis; a study of the “Clergy Letters” detailing New Deal programs in rural communities; and Harry Hopkins’ wartime correspondence.

Vision for the Future of Democracy

71 years ago the Nation’s first Presidential Library opened its doors to researchers and museum visitors. In June of 1941 the threat of world war loomed heavily over the opening day proceedings. In his dedication address FDR said:

And this latest addition to the archives of America is dedicated at a moment when government of the people by themselves is being attacked everywhere. It is, therefore, proof—if any proof is needed—that our confidence in the future of democracy has not diminished in this Nation and will not diminish. 

There are now 13 Presidential Libraries within the National Archives and Records Administration, including one for every U.S. President since FDR.

Above: Watch a newsreel reporting on the Library opening

For more information:

1934 Hawaiian Visit

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

FDR, adorned with flower leis.

FDR, adorned with flower leis.

The Hawaiian Islands, located at the northernmost part of Polynesia,  were annexed by the United States in 1898, and in 1959 became the nation’s 50th state. By the time of Roosevelt’s presidency Hawaii was characterized by an incredible diversity of cultural ancestry, including Native Hawaiian, pan-Asian and North American. To this day, the state remains one of the most ethnically diverse places in the world.

In July of 1934 FDR became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Territory of Hawaii. He traversed the Pacific aboard the USS Houston,  debarked at both the ports of Hilo and Honolulu, and stayed on the Islands for several days to tour both cultural landmarks and military areas. The people of Hawaii made every attempt to welcome the President and share with him the best of Hawaiian culture, both ancient and modern.

Original caption reads: "The Last of the Royalty of Hawaii Salutes the President - 26July 1934."

Original caption reads: “The Last of the Royalty of Hawaii Salutes the President – 26July 1934.”

When FDR arrived at Honolulu he was greeted by an estimated 60,000 people, including a flotilla of traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoes. He was adorned with customary flower leis, was an honored guest at a traditional luau feast complete with a kalua pig cooked in a traditional imu (underground oven), and the legendary surfer, Duke Kahanamoku, gave lessons to FDR’s sons. Roosevelt’s Hawaiian hosts  also showed him the most modern of their New Deal inspired building developments and educational facilities.

FDR's itinerary for July 26, 1934 included military inspections and a Hawaiian luau.

FDR’s itinerary for July 26, 1934 included military inspections and a Hawaiian luau.

In his departing remarks to the people of Hawaii on July 28th, the President thanked them and wished to all, “Aloha from the bottom of my heart.” FDR’s next and final visit to Hawaii would take place ten years later, in 1944, near the end of World War II. By that time the small yet influential Pacific Island chain had taken on a more infamous role in world history.

The National Archives has shared a new “set” on the Flickr photosharing website that contains photos and documents relating to Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. See the images.

July 10, 1934: FDR became the first president to travel to South America while in office.

FDR – with three others in Panama, standing on gangplank with ship in rear.
July 11, 1934
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 48-22:3660(35).

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Did you know:

  • On July 11, 1936 FDR spoke at the dedication of the Triborough Bridge in New York City.
  • On July 11, 1944 FDR announced he would accept the nomination for a fourth term.

July 2, 1932: FDR accepts the Democratic Party nomination for president at the convention in Chicago; declaring “a New Deal for the American people.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt en route from Albany to Chicago to address the Democratic National Convention and accept the nomination for President.
July 2, 1932
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 61-238.

 

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Did you know:

  • On July 5, 1934 FDR landed in Cap Haitien, Haiti becoming the first president to visit Haiti while in office.
  • On July 4, 1940 FDR turned over his repository of personal and official papers at the FDR Library in Hyde Park to the government.

September 11, 1956

“GENEVA—It is amusing, far away in Switzerland where you feel cut off from American politics, to find yourself asked at every meal by your neighbors what you think is going to happen on Election Day.

I sat between an Italian and a Frenchman at lunch the other day and each one, in turn, gave me a little dissertation on American politics. Nothing was as difficult, however, as when I was asked last night to explain the electoral college system.

Just how many votes are there in the electoral college? I didn’t know. I could tell how many votes a state had in the Democratic convention, but I had completely forgotten the details of how the electoral college works. It is really good to be pinned down on your own government by foreigners, because it makes you go home and look up things carefully.

It is also interesting to read over here some of the columnists that are reprinted in the European edition of the New York Herald Tribune. I was especially interested in what Joseph Alsop said about the small poll made in Seattle and Portland, Oregon. If I had been asked, I would have said exactly what he did about the way the vote is lining up at the present time. So I felt quite proud to have my bunch verified, even by a small poll.”

Click here for the complete My Day article.

August 23, 1955

“TOKYO, Aug. 23—The other morning we went to the big fish market, which is really quite a sight. There were enormous pieces of tuna fish, fascinating green crabs and more fish of every size, shape and description than I have ever seen. They hold an auction early in the morning for the big retailers of fish. After this the public can walk through the aisles or booths and buy what they want or go to the little shops in the neighboring streets where the price might be a little more but still would be moderate. I saw a man sweeping up small pieces of fish from the floor in the big market that had dropped from the stands, and Mrs. Matsumoto said that he probably took those scraps and sold them in a cheap market for poor people. This seemed to me rather appalling and certainly not very sanitary.

When we left the market we visited a cultured-pearl merchant where we saw an infinite variety of pearls and tried to tell the difference between them. I finally decided that the value of a pearl depends on what an individual personally likes. I was told that pearls with a pink luster had been the most popular pearls until recently, now gray ones were more in vogue. However, my preference is still for ones with the pinkish color.

We lunched at International House and I was glad to see some of my friends who helped to plan my activities when I was here two years ago. Later we went to the museum and saw some interesting archeological finds dating back to the sixth century B.C., most of which were found in burial mounds. We also had a glimpse of lovely textiles and then saw some screens and drawings of a later period. We dined in the evening with our ambassador, Mr. John M. Allison, and his wife, and I asked the ambassador some of the questions I had put to my Japanese friends at luncheon. I was glad to find that he felt much the way they did on the subject of Japanese reactions to America.”

Click here for the complete My Day article.

July 10, 1934: FDR became the first president to travel to South America while in office.

FDR – with three others in Panama, standing on gangplank with ship in rear.
July 11, 1934
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 48-22:3660(35).

July 2, 1932: FDR accepts the Democratic Party nomination for president at the convention in Chicago; declaring “a New Deal for the American people.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt en route from Albany to Chicago to address the Democratic National Convention and accept the nomination for President.
July 2, 1932
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 61-238.

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The New Deal Estore is a great place to shop for Roosevelt related books, gifts, and other treasures from the New Deal Store at the Roosevelt Library. Available at www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu, the Estore features everything from a selection of the latest books on the Roosevelts and their times, to T-shirts, ties and caps, multimedia, campaign memorabilia, and museum replicas. For items related to this week’s blog post, follow the links below:

1934: A New Deal for Artists by Ann Prentice Wagner
FDR’s Alphabet Soup, New Deal America 1932-1939 by Tonya Bolden
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal by William E Leuchtenburg
Nature’s New Deal by Neil M. Maher
The Coming of the New Deal, the Age of Roosevelt by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

June 29, 1936

“HYDE PARK—The trip to Philadelphia went quickly and we had the amusing experience of hearing over the radio the announcement of our own arrival. Without thinking, I went out on the platform of the car to see if Anna and John and Franklin, Jr., who were to meet us there had arrived and almost immediately I was reminded that my movements were being recorded and retired rapidly inside the car!

Then the drive through the streets, with the Vice President and Mr. Farley, the tremendous crowd at the Stadium, everyone standing and the Star Spangled Banner being sung by Lily Pons.

A man must come to a moment like this with a tremendous sense of responsibility, but that must be very much augmented when he realizes by watching the crowd about him what his thoughts and words are going to mean to innumerable people throughout the nation. I had read the speech but it meant much more to watch the faces of people and hear the seriousness with which it was actually delivered and received. A variety of impressions register at great moments and a hundred and one pictures flashed before me, the face of a friend, the solemnity of some one who I rarely see in a serious mood, the excitement of a child who will probably not even remember what it was all about—then it is over. We drove around the field, back to the station, a night on the train and here we are on Sunday at Hyde Park.”

Click here for the complete My Day article.

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