From the Museum

Fala’s Sailor’s Cap (MO 2006.359)

FDR had a lifelong affection for pets. His best-known was Fala, a Scottish terrier given to him by his cousin, Daisy Suckley, in 1940. Fala became Roosevelt’s constant companion and the most famous dog in America. He appeared in newspapers, cartoons, books, and films. Fala often accompanied FDR on trips. One trip to Alaska sparked a famous political debate during the 1944 presidential election campaign. Republicans falsely claimed that Fala had been mistakenly left behind on an Alaskan island and that FDR had ordered a destroyer to retrieve him. Roosevelt disarmed his critics in a celebrated speech. Fala’s frugal “Scotch soul was furious,” FDR reported, at allegations that taxpayer dollars were spent to rescue him. Use this link to listen to an excerpt from the “Attack on Fala” –

After FDR’s death in 1945, Fala lived with Eleanor Roosevelt. He died in 1952 and is buried near the President and First Lady in the Rose Garden of FDR’s Hyde Park estate.

This small white sailor’s cap has a light blue image of a ship’s wheel with a battleship in the center shooting three beams of light. There are two metal pins on the inside with an elastic attached for securing to Fala’s head. Fala can be seen wearing this cap in the MGM movie short “Fala” released in 1943. To see a photograph of Fala wearing the cap, please visit: