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FDR’s Naval Boatcloak (MO 1981.54)

FDR wore this distinctive wool and velvet cloak during his trip to the Yalta Conference in the Crimea, Ukraine, in February 1945. It is a U.S. Navy regulation officer’s boatcloak. Roosevelt wore similar boatcloaks during other trips he made during his presidency. The image of FDR in these cloaks is one of the most enduring of the war years.

The cloak is designed to be worn during movement by a boat to protect the wearer from the cold and his clothing from the effects of spray. It opens at the front and is fitted with two frogs (knotted lengths of braided cord), which engage to secure the cloak closed. The relative ease with which such a cloak could be put on and taken off made wearing it an attractive alternative to a more conventional garment—especially for someone whose ease of movement was hampered by the effects of polio.

This boatcloak was made at the Naval Clothing Depot at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City in August 1942. It is a standard officer’s boatcloak, ordered and unaltered for FDR’s use. The cloak was donated to the Roosevelt Library by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. in 1973.

President Roosevelt can be seen wearing this cloak in a series of photographs below from his Yalta Conference trip. These photos and hundreds more can be seen in a new exhibit opening this Spring at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum: The Roosevelts: Public Figures, Private Lives.

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February 4 – 11, 1945: FDR meets with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference to discuss post-war ideas and the United Nations.

Roosevelt is pictured in a jeep at Saki Airfield on his way to Yalta for the conference with Churchill and Stalin. FDR is speaking to Special Assistant Harry L. Hopkins. L-R: U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyachslav Molotov, Harry L. Hopkins, FDR.
February 3, 1945
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 73-200:2


Roosevelt is pictured with Stalin during his first call on the President upon his arrival at Livadia Palace in Yalta. L-R: Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt
February 4, 1945
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx 48-22:3659(45)


Roosevelt is pictured with Churchill and Stalin at the Livadia Palace during the Yalta Conference. L-R: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin.
February 9, 1945
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 48-22:3659(66)

 

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Did you know…..

  • President Roosevelt was the first president who visited Russia while in office.

February 4 – 11, 1945: FDR meets with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference to discuss post-war ideas and the United Nations.

Roosevelt is pictured in a jeep at Saki Airfield on his way to Yalta for the conference with Churchill and Stalin. FDR is speaking to Special Assistant Harry L. Hopkins. L-R: U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyachslav Molotov, Harry L. Hopkins, FDR.
February 3, 1945
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 73-200:2


Roosevelt is pictured with Stalin during his first call on the President upon his arrival at Livadia Palace in Yalta. L-R: Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt
February 4, 1945
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx 48-22:3659(45)


Roosevelt is pictured with Churchill and Stalin at the Livadia Palace during the Yalta Conference. L-R: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin.
February 9, 1945
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 48-22:3659(66)

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